It is paper review time. I'm on the program committee for a few conferences so I've been reading and reviewing a number of papers. Similarly, I have a couple of submissions that are out for review. The paper review process is really quite interesting. I send the fruits of my hard labor off to some anonymous judges, that spend some unknown amount of time reviewing, commenting and evaluating it and ultimately recommending that my work be accepted or rejected. This peer review process is a critical part of the research process - reviewers can find flaws in thinking or in methodology. They can point out overlapping previous work, They can suggest areas for improvement or even ways to extend the research to new areas. The downside to the peer review process is that all of this critical input comes at the end of the process, when you are finally ready to publish. Its never a good day when a reviewer points out a serious flaw in your paper ("paper should site work by smith that performed identical experiments with better results in 1968").

One way to mitigate this problem is to get early feedback from colleagues and peers. These colleagues can act as earlier reviewers who will (hopefully) point out flaws in the research early on. Sometimes though, it is hard to find colleagues that are motivated and versed enough in the subject matter.

Recognizing that early reviews of research is good, I'm going to try an experiment. I'm going to try to blog my research on a particular topic with the hope that researchers that are interested in the same topic will be able to offer continuous feedback or even contribute directly to the research. My blog will become my research notebook for this topic. I've always had great feedback/comments for my research oriented blog posts - so I'm hopeful that I'll get a continuous review that will keep the research on the proper track. If a paper results from this line of research, constructive critics will be acknowledged, and significant contributors to the line of research will be considered to be co-authors.

To avoid an entanglements about intellectual property and ownership, I'll stick to an area of research that Sun is probably not going to want to patent. Obviously, you shouldn't contribute any ideas that you or your organization may want to protect.

In the next post, I'll outline the goal for the research project.

Inspiration for the research experiment comes from Elias Pampalk, Daniel Lemire and conversations with Steve Heller.


That's great! I wish you lots of good feedback from your experiment in openness. It is also very nice to see an example from a researcher at a company - I know that makes it more difficult. But you've outlined a good strategy for dealing with that.

Posted by Jean-Claude Bradley on June 01, 2008 at 06:14 AM EDT #

This sounds like an interesting experiment. I look forward to seeing the interaction you get from your readers.

Posted by Ricardo Vidal on June 01, 2008 at 11:37 PM EDT #

Check out OpenWetWare ( for a different way to do this.

Posted by Daniel Lemire on June 04, 2008 at 03:22 PM EDT #


That is a great suggestion, however I don't believe Paul's topic of research fits OpenWetWare's community.

As is clearly stated on the main page:

"OpenWetWare is an effort to promote the sharing of information, know-how, and wisdom among researchers and groups who are working in biology & biological engineering."

Posted by Ricardo Vidal on June 04, 2008 at 03:33 PM EDT #

Ricardo: Quite correct, but whereas Paul wants to do it blog-wise, others do it wiki-wise. That was my point.

Posted by Daniel Lemire on June 04, 2008 at 03:47 PM EDT #

If you wanted to use a free wiki service that does not require a specific topic is worth looking at. You may find that a wiki is more convenient for your project as you gather information.

Posted by Jean-Claude Bradley on June 04, 2008 at 05:20 PM EDT #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.

This blog copyright 2010 by plamere