Over the past month and a half, computer science researcher and UQAM Professor Daniel Lemire has been on fire. He’s written a series of blog posts on what it means to do research and be involved with a research community. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the whole series, and want to pass along pointers to his last 8 posts:
- Are Solo Authors Less Cited?
- The Missing Research Tool
- On Academic Branding
- Are Your Research Papers Telling Original Stories?
- Gardening and Research (I love the analogy here!)
- Research Productivity: Some Paths Less Traveled
- Social Software…Toys or Productivity?
- A Taxonomy of Computer Science Researchers
My favorite line is from the “Original Stories” post:
Life is multidimensional. Research papers should be multidimensional too! We should ask several interesting questions. We should give several nuanced answers. We should expect more from the reviewers and the readers!
One of the things that I learned very early on as a researcher is that evaluation drives innovation. By that I do not mean that getting 10% improvement by some metric is the key to research. That is of course important, even necessary. Even more important, however, is the metric that you have chosen to carry out the evaluation in the first place. Asking interesting questions means that you have likely been forced to struggle with choosing the appropriate evaluation metric, and in some cases have had to propose a new metric. That choice of metric is itself one of the more interesting questions you deal with during a paper, and the way you approach that metric yields those nuanced answers. Evaluation drives innovation means that there is a deep connection between a new question that you’re trying to ask and where you think the answer to that question fits into the world.