Monday, October 13, 2008

Eating our own dog food: Wisdom of the Crowd for Rating the Papers

Could we use the idea of Wisdom of the Crowd (e.g. tagging, comments, ranking etc) with research papers? In a way, we already do so, using citations. However, citation is a slow porcesses, and at best, it take around six months to a citaton to appear. I believe, it is interesting to enable comments, tags, and recommendation, etc to enable more involved discussion. Like it or not, there is a lack of discussion between academia and industry (research labs of companies does not qulify as industry), and one reason been, people from the industry do not have time, energy, or intensive, to write a paper and go through the process of publishing it, even though they do have a comment, or improvement to a idea. However, given that comments are enabled, there is a better chance that more people comment. Of course, there will be a concern about quality of comments, but just like Wikipedia, the quality will prevail in the long run.

We are seen many posts on blogs lead to lengthy discussions on various aspects, and more often than not, research work has more than one aspects, and could benefit from more involved discussions. Therefore, features likes comments, tags would help. May be, one day we could argument the peer reviews using similar ideas, making the paper really peer reviewed by all the peers.

Furthermore, in my opinion we should be ashamed that, CS papers, despite being the state art of information processing, are very hard to search, and categorize. When you think of the papers, they do have well defined relationships in terms of citations. But, if I picked a paper now, how hard is it to understand provenance of it's idea. If we create a graph linked by citations, and weight them using something like page rank algorithm (Google algorithm to rank web pages), we can easily identify Hubs (both authoritative papers, and authors, and may be even groups), and important paths of development (provenance of ideas). I am sure this is already proposed somewhere elase, and maybe some tools already has it. But I think it is shame that ACM, or IEEE sites does not support it. We should use results of our own reserach, before expect other people to use them.
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