Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Edit Your Paper for Submission - Part 1

In an earlier post, I explained how you proceed from an outline to a paper. But then, it does not end there. You are going to submit this paper to some venue; a conference, or a journal. And that venue too has some requirements for you to meet. So, start by saving your original paper somewhere, before editing it.

First, you will be asked to submit the paper in some format. A template will be provided, so this sounds like no big deal. If you already know some LaTEX and there is a LaTEX template, it won't be. Otherwise, you might end up either struggling with Open Office, or cursing at MS Office. Anyway, let's assume that you got through and have the paper in the right format.

Now, the next immediate problem is the page limit. Almost all venues ask you to submit papers within a given number of pages. I guess your immediate temptation will be to satisfy this requirement. But wait; there is one more important thing to do.

First, see if you have added the Acknowledgment section. This is where you get to thank people who helped you with the work, although they did not do the research with you. People, especially good people, are more important than many things. Don't forget them.

The next will be the citations. Check the list of references again, and ensure that all related works are added. Now, some people also cite not-so related references. Let me explain why.
In theory, you need to cite only the references that are related to your work. But in practice, it is a different story. One way of measuring how good one's research was is to count the number of times one's publications are cited in others' papers. This has made some researches hungry and greedy for citations. So, authors sometimes choose to make them happy to ensure that the paper gets through :-p.

Sometimes, the greedy ones are well known. Your supervisor might just tell you to cite a paper from some famous guy with loads of papers. If this guy is not a friend of your professor, and his work does not exactly need a citation of his papers, then you have just found one. By the time you graduate, you will know half a dozen of these :o).

Sometimes, these people are not so obvious. In that case, scan the list of technical program committee members of the conference. For a journal, check the list of editors. If any of them are doing related work, it may be safe to cite them. Checking the list is not a bad thing because it will help you to find what other people in your community are doing. If you find something very related and worth citing, then you must. If the work is related but not worth citing, I guess you should decide carefully :-p.

Another tactic that some researchers use, is citing papers of their friends as the first few references. If the technical program chairs or editors are the lazy type, they will check the first few references to find reviewers :-p.

I am not saying that these are right things to do. I am not asking you to do these either. I am just explaining the real situation :-p

After adding up the citations, you can see what you have to do to meet the page limit requirement. In my next post, I will give you a few guidelines for doing this.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Moving to the Industry

I moved to an industry position starting from this month. This will allow me to post more freely regarding some practices of the academics (both good and bad).

I also served as the publication co-chair of a major multimedia conference. With what I have witnessed, I have more things to tell you :-p