On Writing High Quality Technical Papers. VLDB Database School ( China ) Suzhou University, October 3, 2002 Lu Hongjun Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Email: email@example.com URL: http://www.cs.ust.hk/~luhj. Assessing the Quality of Papers.
On Writing High Quality Technical Papers VLDB Database School (China) Suzhou University, October 3, 2002 Lu Hongjun Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Email:firstname.lastname@example.org URL:http://www.cs.ust.hk/~luhj
Assessing the Quality of Papers • The most common measure today is its suitability for publication in the best journals or conferences in its area. • The top conferences • ACM SIGMOD/PODS, VLDB, ICDE, SIGKDD • Regional database conference • EDBT (Europe, even years), DASFAA • For specific areas • ACM CIKM, ICDT SSD, COOPIS, PAKDD, DOOD, ER, DEXA, WAIM, WISE …. • National database conferences • ADC (Australia), COMAD (India), …
Difficulties in Writing High Quality Papers • High quality papers come from high quality research work. However, writing style matters a lot also. • The intense competition in computer science, especially in DB related areas, has set highquality standards that we must follow • The acceptance rate for good conferences < 20% • Junior researchers and Ph. D. students with high-quality work may fail to produce high-quality papers • poor English skills • lack of proper training • lack of method.
Possible Solutions • A quick and easy solution • produce a first draft, find a researcher with good writing skills to improve or entirely rewrite the paper • can produce an excellent paper that you may not recognize • you will not learn how to produce the paper yourself • Find a good advisor • Learn to write yourself • Practice makes it perfect
The Life Cycle • Starting • Make sure you have a real, significant contribution before going to the next step. • Planning. • Produce a detailed outline of the entire paper as a good basis for discussion and improvement before writing. • Writing. • Starting with the abstract and introduction to fix the motivation and structure of the paper • Writing the other sections • Finishing with the conclusion • Building the bibliography in parallel with writing.
The Life Cycle (Cont’d) • Checking • Use standard tools (speller, dictionaries, crossreferencing checker, etc.) to correct all mistakes. Failing to do this will be interpreted as unprofessional • Rewriting • Circulate the paper internally to get rapid feedback. Then revise and rewrite according to suggestions • Submitting the paper • Choose the right place to submit • Receiving the review reports • To have a party
Choosing A Right Topic • High quality papers come from high quality research work. The most important thing is to choose a right research topic • As a student, • There are research issues in implementation • Quite a lot of good papers are generated from system implementation • Define your scope appropriately • Decompose a topic into phases
Design Your Paper • Design a scheme for the paper that best conveys the idea • Planning the main elements of the content (formalism, algorithms, examples, etc.) for overall consistency • Appropriate formalism • at the suitable level of abstraction to avoid being too close to your environment or prototype implementation • algorithms must be described in a suitable way, • with pseudocode or graphics, depending on their complexity • avoid lowlevel languages or overdetailed graphics unless absolutely necessary. • Planning a common example to be used consistently throughout the paper
Writing with Good Style • Brevity • avoiding unnecessary words and ideas more precise. • Precise • Contents: defining all concepts and terms of interest the first time they appear and referring to them with the same word • Citations and claims: do not over-stating the contributions • simple • American people prefer simple sentences: avoid complex sentences by breaking them into simpler, connected ones • People do not like complex formalisms unless absolutely necessary, especially DB people: Do not make simple concept difficult to understand
Paper Organization Abstract • summarize the paper, and clearly stating the context, the contribution, and the main results of the paper • Introduction • Contents • ………….. • Conclusions • summarize the paper contribution and emphasize the main result • can also address application of the result and open issues • give future research directions Acknowledgement References
Introduction • Convince the reader that the paper is worth reading, • Identify the selling points • A good paper should addresses an important problem • A good paper should provides an exciting, solid solution • It is usually structured as: • context of the paper, • precise problem definition, • limitations of existing solutions (if any), • goal of the paper, • key ideas • a short outline
Contents • The content provides the substance of the paper • develop the key idea and results • Organize them in a good ay so that the reader is convinced of its significance and validity. • The key idea must be clearly stated and identified • Trying to convey too many ideas, even related, may obscure the main idea and confuse the reader. • Fixing a size limit for the paper, e.g., 20 doublespace pages, is a good way to encourage focus • Ease the task of the reader (understanding the contribution) with good organization, brevity and illustration. • Plan appropriate number of sections, subsections and paragraphs. • They must be selfcontained and consistent, i.e., avoid forward and backward references that make reading unpleasant.
Algorithm Descriptions • Algorithm description is not your C++/Java program • Algorithm description should neither be too simple, (2-3 lines), nor too complex (50 lines) • Decompose complex algorithm in a number of functions • No need to give the details for simple, well-known functions • Explain algorithms in English words • State clearly data structures used in your algorithm • Using diagrams and examples to help readers to understand your algorithm
Demonstrate the Result • formal paper, • theorems with their proofs are necessary. • But proofs should be understandable and not too long, 0.5-2 pages • systemoriented paper presenting a new technique • simulation or implementation results are more convincing than analytical models. • Performance study/Experiments
Experiment Design & Result Presentation • Experiment design is critical part of research • Environment: machine, OS, language • The objective of your experiment • The sets of experiments conducted and parameter setting • Result presentation is an art • Choose right form: table, chats • Ensure good format
References • It is important part. Appropriate citations show that you know exactly what you are doing • Cite important papers that addressed the related problem • Do not cite unrelated, or remotely related papers • Do not cite too many of your own papers • Do not cite inaccessible papers • Formatting the references carefully • Using the standard format, e.g. name abbreviations, conference venues, page numbers • Make sure what cited is correct
Conclusions • High quality papers come from high quality research • Paying attention to your paper writing can help you maximize your research result • It is more difficult to teach how to write good papers than to learn how to write good papers • Only way to learn is to write more