Friday, March 25, 2011

Permanent record of work

In our hurry to tar and feather the ACM, the IEEE and other LargePubs, I'm not sure we are quite ready to face the universe that will result, and the amount of work we'll need to do on our own.

Consider:
  • I was recently asked if I had presentation slides for my paper on universal MDS. I managed to ferret them out from my collection of talks, and sent it over. What I should have also done was add them to the paper page as well, but I've been busy and haven't got around to it (I have other talks that I need to upload as well)
  • This CS professor asks on reddit: "Where should I host code for the paper I just wrote ?". Good answers are provided, with github.com being the most popular choice.
Researchers are peripatetic: join company, leave company, join university, leave university for other university, leave university for company, rinse and repeat.  The obvious way to keep a single fixed repository of your work is to maintain your own website with your own domain, and many researchers now do that.

But it is a pain in the neck. Granted, it's a necessary pain in the neck, but there was something to be said for being able to write a paper, ship it off somewhere, and have it be maintained by someone else.

The arxiv is doing a pretty good job of this for papers, as long as it can continue to receive funding, but what about talks, code fragments, and other related material that goes into research ?
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