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Behind the courtain of a paper: Interdisciplinary research from the idea to dissemination

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Behind the courtain of a paper: Interdisciplinary research from the idea to dissemination

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DIT - Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin 2, Ireland. 7 November 2015. Special Lecture within the module “Research Methods and Proposal Writing” in the School of Computing.

DIT - Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin 2, Ireland. 7 November 2015. Special Lecture within the module “Research Methods and Proposal Writing” in the School of Computing.

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Behind the courtain of a paper: Interdisciplinary research from the idea to dissemination

  1. 1. Behind the courtain of a paper Interdisciplinary research from the idea to dissemination Federico Gobbo F.Gobbo@uva.nl Dublin Institute of Technology, 7 november 2015 1 of 40
  2. 2. Introduction 2 of 40
  3. 3. My main affiliation, since Feb 2014 My official web page in Dutch at the UvA 3 of 40
  4. 4. My research triangle http://federicogobbo.name/ 4 of 40
  5. 5. My academic life in one slide MA in Media Studies (1998), PhD in Computer Science (2009) 5 Universities (Italy, the Netherlands, China) in 10 years of (almost) full-time career my first publication in 1998 was in language acquisition in the last 10 years, approx. 100 publications in different fields publications in different languages (English, Italian, Esperanto mainly) co-authored works with mathematicians, philosophers, economists, engineers. . . 5 of 40
  6. 6. My academic life in one slide MA in Media Studies (1998), PhD in Computer Science (2009) 5 Universities (Italy, the Netherlands, China) in 10 years of (almost) full-time career my first publication in 1998 was in language acquisition in the last 10 years, approx. 100 publications in different fields publications in different languages (English, Italian, Esperanto mainly) co-authored works with mathematicians, philosophers, economists, engineers. . . Interdisciplinarity is a practice 5 of 40
  7. 7. Computer science: hard or soft? Media Studies are part of the humanities, so this is my academic heritage. Where are the boundaries of the humanities? Terence’s motto: humani a me nihil alienum puto (nothing human is strange to me). Computer Science is a peculiar beast: if you deal with algorithms, computability theory, computational logic (theoretical part) as well as the hardware technicalities per se (e.g., embedded systems), measures of the quality of the software, it is a hard science. Hard sciences are driven by strongly motivated mathematical models. Human beings play no role. 6 of 40
  8. 8. Computer science: hard or soft? Media Studies are part of the humanities, so this is my academic heritage. Where are the boundaries of the humanities? Terence’s motto: humani a me nihil alienum puto (nothing human is strange to me). Computer Science is a peculiar beast: if you deal with algorithms, computability theory, computational logic (theoretical part) as well as the hardware technicalities per se (e.g., embedded systems), measures of the quality of the software, it is a hard science. Hard sciences are driven by strongly motivated mathematical models. Human beings play no role. Whenever we consider the human-machine interface in Computer Science, we are (also) inside the humanities. 6 of 40
  9. 9. Outline 1. the idea: how to choose the good one? 2. why to collaborate with others 3. how to collaborate with others effectively 4. dissemination of results: copyright issues and social networks 7 of 40
  10. 10. Outline 1. the idea: how to choose the good one? 2. why to collaborate with others 3. how to collaborate with others effectively 4. dissemination of results: copyright issues and social networks We will see an example through the case study analysis of a published paper 7 of 40
  11. 11. The Minimal Levels of Abstraction in the History of Modern Computing DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13347-012-0097-0
  12. 12. Part one: the idea How to choose the good one? 9 of 40
  13. 13. We are in the Information Overload Era c http://www.makemark.co.uk/
  14. 14. Nothing new under the sun. . . In 1945, Vannevar Bush, physician and mathematician, already in the team in the construction of ENIAC, publishes a paper, As we may think, where he addresses the problem of the externalization of human thinking through the new technologies. Taxonomies and classification systems are artificial, they get old very soon: an item can often be classified under two different branches. Human minds do not classify, they work by associations. Keeping trace of our associations is the only way to have an external memory, which can be shared among different individuals. 11 of 40
  15. 15. The Memex in use source: Bush, Vannevar (1945) As you may think12 of 40
  16. 16. Lesson learnt n.1 Check if someone had already published an elaboration of your idea. if yes, discard it. if no, proceed and elaborate.
  17. 17. What is a virtual machine? c http://yvettetechie.com
  18. 18. Our case study The idea started from an observation and a conversation between the two co-authors Observation: we talk about virtualization and abstract machines (e.g. VMWare). Conversation: how to find a minimal number of levels of abstraction in order to define a computer? 15 of 40
  19. 19. Our case study The idea started from an observation and a conversation between the two co-authors Observation: we talk about virtualization and abstract machines (e.g. VMWare). Conversation: how to find a minimal number of levels of abstraction in order to define a computer? Strangely enough, we found that nobody had done it before 15 of 40
  20. 20. From the abstract of our case study From the advent of general purpose, Turing-complete machines, the relation between operators, programmers and users with computers can be observed as interconnected informational organisms (inforgs), henceforth analysed with the method of levels of abstraction (LoAs), risen within the philosophy of information (PI). [. . . ] (my emphasis) source Gobbo & Benini (2014), Philos. Technol. 16 of 40
  21. 21. Part two Why to collaborate with others? 17 of 40
  22. 22. How NOT to do research nowadays. . . c Richard Linderum
  23. 23. The opportunities of interdisciplinary research researches with different backgrounds can offer new perspectives to old problems sharing ideas often helps to see them more clearly people belonging to different academic communities can find potential readers that shape the idea into a form suitable for publication (maybe more than one!) it is more fun; you never get bored of your research! 19 of 40
  24. 24. Lesson learnt n.2 Research results live inside (at least) one academic community. if your idea is interesting for an academic community, go for it. if not, try to reshape it in new terms, referring to the current literature in the field.
  25. 25. From the abstract of our case study From the advent of general purpose, Turing-complete machines, the relation between operators, programmers and users with computers can be observed as interconnected informational organisms (inforgs), henceforth analysed with the method of levels of abstraction (LoAs), risen within the philosophy of information (PI). [. . . ] (my emphasis) source Gobbo & Benini (2014), Philos. Technol. 21 of 40
  26. 26. Our case study: key concepts for the academic community inforgs: interconnected informational organisms method of levels of abstraction (LoAs) Philosophy of Information (PI) All terms come from the British-Italian philosopher Luciano Floridi (Oxford). 22 of 40
  27. 27. Our case study: re-definition of common terms What does ‘computer’ mean? We limited our analysis on standard modern digital computers, based on Von Neumann Machines. You should always avoid “fuzzy” terms, so to prevent possible arguments against your line of reasoning. A good example in the paper is the notion of observables, which is philosophical. Another good example is the notion of category, which is used within a precise mathematical theory, i.e. the category theory. 23 of 40
  28. 28. Lesson learnt n.3 Pay attention to the key concepts link your key concepts to a renowned academic tradition redefine common terms in a inequivocable way, to prevent possible arguments
  29. 29. Lesson learnt n.3 Pay attention to the key concepts link your key concepts to a renowned academic tradition redefine common terms in a inequivocable way, to prevent possible arguments (You can also prepare the counterarguments in advance, that you will put in the paper; this is a bit old-fashioned.)
  30. 30. Back to the father of A.I. and Computer Science. . . I propose to consider the question, “Can machines think?” This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms “machine” and “think.” The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous, If the meaning of the words “machine” and “think” are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, “Can machines think?” is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words. source: Turing (1950), Computing Machinery and Intelligence
  31. 31. Part three How to collaborate with others effectively 26 of 40
  32. 32. Avoid known pitfalls with co-authors pitfall: you need a shared domain language – sometimes the same term is used in different ways according to the academic communities (think about words like ‘evolution’, ‘system’ or ‘level’). If you do not have agreement on this, it will be easy to attack you! 27 of 40
  33. 33. Avoid known pitfalls with co-authors pitfall: you need a shared domain language – sometimes the same term is used in different ways according to the academic communities (think about words like ‘evolution’, ‘system’ or ‘level’). If you do not have agreement on this, it will be easy to attack you! solution: prepare it well in advance, especially if you do not know each other! 27 of 40
  34. 34. Avoid known pitfalls with co-authors pitfall: you need a shared domain language – sometimes the same term is used in different ways according to the academic communities (think about words like ‘evolution’, ‘system’ or ‘level’). If you do not have agreement on this, it will be easy to attack you! solution: prepare it well in advance, especially if you do not know each other! pitfall: you risk that down-to-earth researchers find your paper too unconventional, eccentric, and they reject it, because they do not understand all the technicalities. 27 of 40
  35. 35. Avoid known pitfalls with co-authors pitfall: you need a shared domain language – sometimes the same term is used in different ways according to the academic communities (think about words like ‘evolution’, ‘system’ or ‘level’). If you do not have agreement on this, it will be easy to attack you! solution: prepare it well in advance, especially if you do not know each other! pitfall: you risk that down-to-earth researchers find your paper too unconventional, eccentric, and they reject it, because they do not understand all the technicalities. solution: address the paper to a open-minded community. Do not engage with such people. Agree in advance with your co-authors. 27 of 40
  36. 36. Two ways for paper co-writing 1. divide et impera (‘divide and rule’): each co-author writes a-priori defined sections. In other words, each one is “king” of his/her part. 28 of 40
  37. 37. Two ways for paper co-writing 1. divide et impera (‘divide and rule’): each co-author writes a-priori defined sections. In other words, each one is “king” of his/her part. pros & cons: suitable for remote teams; interaction and discussion are low; risk: an “edited” paper can be weak. Revision of the other parts is needed. You need to be well organized. 28 of 40
  38. 38. Two ways for paper co-writing 1. divide et impera (‘divide and rule’): each co-author writes a-priori defined sections. In other words, each one is “king” of his/her part. pros & cons: suitable for remote teams; interaction and discussion are low; risk: an “edited” paper can be weak. Revision of the other parts is needed. You need to be well organized. 2. pair writing: you write the paper together, two people with one keyboard – possible two screens). Borrowed from Pair Programming – an eXtreme Programming technique. 28 of 40
  39. 39. Two ways for paper co-writing 1. divide et impera (‘divide and rule’): each co-author writes a-priori defined sections. In other words, each one is “king” of his/her part. pros & cons: suitable for remote teams; interaction and discussion are low; risk: an “edited” paper can be weak. Revision of the other parts is needed. You need to be well organized. 2. pair writing: you write the paper together, two people with one keyboard – possible two screens). Borrowed from Pair Programming – an eXtreme Programming technique. pros & cons: personally engaging, you need a good relation with the co-author(s); if not, instead of spare time, you lose it; in general, the final quality is better. 28 of 40
  40. 40. Part four: dissemination Publication of results: copyright issues and social networks 29 of 40
  41. 41. We live in difficult times. . . source: twitter account: Mgm and Mrk
  42. 42. The copyright issue and the social networks the big players of the academic publishing industry (CUP, OUP, Springer, IEEE, Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Brill, etc.) have specific regulations on the publication of your work some adopt some kind of Open Access policy (see below), others not You are always right in publishing pre-prints, if you follow some rules and use the convenient “magic formula” 31 of 40
  43. 43. The “magic formula” for pre-prints 1. take the final draft or the camera ready and cut off the stylesheet, page numbers included. If you submitted your paper with LATEX, simply use documentclass{article}. 2. insert a cover page where you will indicate the final destination of publication 3. in the cover page, insert a disclaimer too. Beware, disclaimers change according to the venue! If you do not find it on the net, you can ask to the board of the journal for it. 32 of 40
  44. 44. An example: the rules for Springer An author may self-archive an author-created version of his/her article on his/her own website and his/her institution’s repository, including his/her final version; however he/she may not use the publishers PDF version which is posted on www. springerlink. com . Furthermore, the author may only post his/her version provided acknowledgement is given to the original source of publication and a link is inserted to the published article on Springers website. The link must be accompanied by the following text: “The original publication is available at www. springerlink. com .” 33 of 40
  45. 45. Case study from another paper of ours c Gobbo & Benini (2013)
  46. 46. Use official DARs (Digital Academic Repositories) first! URL http://dare.uva.nl/
  47. 47. The paradox of “social” repositories CC K. Fitzpatrick 26 oct 2015, Academia, Not Edu. See http://plannedobsolescence.net/
  48. 48. The challenge of Open Access Open access journals – mainly electronic – are available to their readers free of charge. Access is open across the net. The journals are financed by payments being made for the article to be published, not by payment being made to access the article through subscriptions. There is an “Open Access rainbow” (Bill Hubbard, SHERPA, Nottingham) policy spectrum where the author should get oriented, but not easily. A good resource is the white paper How open is it?: URL https://www.plos.org/open-access/howopenisit/ 37 of 40
  49. 49. The colours of Open Access green: publishers that allow both the preprint and the postprint (author’s final) to be archived. blue: publishers that do not allow preprints to be archived but will allow postprints (either the author’s final version, or the publisher’s PDF); yellow: publishers that allow their authors to archive their preprints – draft, uncorrected papers – but not their postprints (publisher’s PDFs). white: publishers which refuse to grant their authors any rights to archive their work online. gold: publishers ask to the author to pay the publication fee (directly or through a research grand or similar). 38 of 40
  50. 50. A simpler way to say that. . . CC Bill Hubbard, Repositories Support Project
  51. 51. Grazie per l’attenzione! Thanks for your attention! Questions? Comments? If not now, send afterwards to: F.Gobbo@uva.nl Download and share this presentation from here: http:/federicogobbo.name/en/2015.php CC BY: $ C Federico Gobbo 2015 40 of 40

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