Wednesday, 30 July 2008

How to write an article: organisational questions IV


Each conference announcement contains several special dates, which are deadlines for different sorts of activities connected to this conference (those dates are also published at the conference Internet site).

First of al it is a deadline for submitting papers. Normally it should be sent approximately 6 month before the conference start date, so it can be reviewed, correctly formatted and published into the proceeding (as the proceeding is normally distributed on the conference) before attendees will arrive to the conference. No articles will be considered to be included into the conference after this deadline.

Secondly, it is a notification date. That is a date when organisers must inform authors whether their articles where accepted or not. If the paper was accepted then there could be some remarks that you probably will like to address submitting the final version. If it is rejected then you could post that paper again to some other conference hoping that other reviewer will understand and value your ideas much more. So, this date is very important planning what will be the next conference you will submit this article to :).

Thirdly there is a deadline to submit a final version of the paper. After that date no changes can be included into the paper, so, for example, all mathematical mistakes cannot be fixed any longer and if such will be there then the paper will be incorrect forever.

Less important, but still presented deadlines are a date to register to attend the conference by, deadline for payments etc.

Finally there are conference dates, i.e. deadline by which you should arrive to the conference place and presumably have a talk in front of other attendees.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

How to write an article: organisational questions III


It is an interesting fact proved to happen quite frequently. Mine practise shows that it doesn’t make sense to submit just one article into a conference. It is much better to send several papers (obviously different papers from the content point of view). An increased chance to be accepted here is probably related to the fact that those papers are likely to be assigned to different reviewers. Some reviewers are more requiring and strict some are less. Moreover some reviews can be done by persons that are not quite specialist from the topic of the paper (specialising on some other narrow subtopic still within the same majour topic), so it could be quite difficult to mark the paper adequately. He could end up recommending to reject that just in case (or may be vise versa – he could decide that the paper looks quite scientific, so could recommend to accept it “just in case”).

Friday, 25 July 2008

How to write an article: organisational questions II


Any process of accepting papers to a conference includes a set of steps starting from comparing the theme of an article to conference topics (whether it satisfies at all), formatting correctness … and including one of the most important activity, which is reviewing. That is a phase when (presumable) specialists, from the topic of the conference to which the paper was submitted, revise the content of the paper and formulates their opinion on that. The most widely adopted method is a double blind method. Here two independent reviewers will read your paper knowing nothing about the author of it and suggest whether it should be accepted or not. The review is done in the blind manner in order to abstract from the author titles so a professor paper will not get any extra points over a young researcher work.

Notice that any review is normally done basing on several properties of the paper like grammar, language, how much new it is, how logical it is composed etc. The acceptance suggestion also varies – for example there could be options, reject, accept, accept for sure, likely to accept (weak accept) etc.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

How to write an article: organisational questions I

I would like to start a series of posts how to write an article from organisational questions.


A question „whether your article will be accepted for publication at a conference” greatly depends on how much the article corresponds to the conference topics. It is highly unlikely that your current research will fully satisfy available topics. Therefore authors sometimes are practising the following approaches:

1. First of all it is possible to adopt the work to the conference for example by starting the work (introduction) from a conference theme and then continue describing your research results. It is important to conclude the paper also with the conference topic showing how your results advance it. We could name it adoption of the research to the conference.

2. Secondly, it is possible to write a paper specifically for the conference slightly abstracting from your main research topic. It will allow you seeing other topics etc and probably will let you find some new ideas.

Please let me emphasise once again that it is important not to ignore the question of close match between the conference and your paper. May be later, when your work will mature, you will ignore some conference and choose only those that match your work, but now you should start vice versa. You must publish the minimum requirement – 3 articles, so try all possible alternatives.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Why should I try to obtain the doctor degree if I already have a good idea to work on?

Quite recently I got a question from one of my friends, which was formulated as “Why should somebody do a lot of work researching different items in order to obtain a doctor degree if he already has an idea? Consider for example S. Brin or S. Jobs. Those who have ideas could develop them, but those who do not have any are forced to work for others. Therefore the question is why should I spend time on this degree? What will it give me except a potential workplace in companies owned by people having ideas and implementing those in their business?

First of all, as I meant to say in the original post promoting the doctor study – this study will provide a lot of fun and memories to you in the future, so if you are not a brilliant sale person and will not eventually earn a lot of money, then at least it will be a top result you have achieved in your life. Moreover if you already know how to earn a lot of money right now, then don’t spend time on the study. Instead grab all those billions and later return to this topic.

Secondly, a doctorate student rarely comes with a ready, well-formulated idea. Normally s/he will have no, or it is too general to develop into a commercial one. Moreover the whole point of studying at university is to get access to online knowledge via libraries of articles etc, attend conferences and discuss different ideas with different people. In other words the study allows searching, finding and developing ideas effectively (!). The same happened with earlier mentioned Brin who left the doctor study since started developing PageRank – an idea he produced during the doctor study with people he found during the doctor study.

Besides the answer on the question greatly depends on the kind of the idea. For example it can be something extremely theoretical (like math theorems), not very broad to provide good enough return on investments or something that cannot be commercialised at all. In that case the doctor study will be the only and the best option to develop such ideas. Another factor I would mention here – this path is much more obvious to choose and follow for those who do not become from commercially successful families and therefore is usually taken. The best option (I tend to believe) will be to study and implement ideas as an own business in parallel.

At last (but not least) – one of my friends Roman answered: “You should not forget that PhD and MBA mean a lot in business and especially in such areas (countries) as Middle East and Germany. Besides you should study if you feel you need that and would like to do it.” I fully agree with that. The only way to complete this road will be to know why you need that and to enjoy this several years long walk. Besides, if you will complete the study and you will not be promoted on your current work place then you either work for the wrong company or your study was a fiction.

The concluding remark will be – the doctor study teaches you to formulate your thoughts, correctly explain them to others (so your ideas as articles would be accepted), how to work with information and knowledge bases, how to generalise and apply ideas producing something brand new.