August 17, 2010

The emerging web-based science era

I have been looking for incentives to start blogging for almost five years. I think it is the right time now. The recent events related with the (not so convincing) P vs. NP proof were the ultimate trigger, which let me think that academic science has entered into a new era.

During the summer, I had the feeling that the everlasting flow of criticisms against the flawed academic processes becomes stronger. Some scientists still try to address classic problems of peer reviewing, or to revolutionize the habits of their community. The most cynical ones emphasize that the actual reality of academic sciences is that it is all for the Art of writing papers. In this depressive context, the "P is not equal to NP" truc occurred. Here is the timeline of this event.

As mentioned in this NYTimes article, one of the greatest outcomes of this "bomb" is the spontaneous collaboration, which has emerged between scientists. In my opinion, it is not so surprising. Indeed, the community of "Theory of Computer Science" has already embraced many tools of the web. Many scientific leaders blog and tweet with high frequency. Look for instance at this aggregator. They also make efforts to put online the articles accepted at the flagship conferences.

In comparison, the communities related with Computer Science that I know are not so well organized. Typically, I observed that no scientist tweets during the PODC conference! I am also not aware of a lot of bloggers among the networking community. Therefore, when a major new idea is published, the debates are not online. Every team silently work in order to produce the most artistic paper, which will be accepted at the next must-be conference. For example, look at the (lack of) reactions to this great post from one of the very few blogging scientist in the network community.

In this context, I see my tiny blogging contribution as an experiment of new scientific collaborations beyond conferences, journals, h-index, etc. Besides, I want to be ready when my communities will switch to the new web-based science era!

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