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Properly Incenting Academia (or, how to resist quitting my day job) Mike Carey (UC Irvine) Beckman DB Self-Assessment Meeting October 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Properly Incenting Academia (or, how to resist quitting my day job) Mike Carey (UC Irvine) Beckman DB Self-Assessment Meeting October 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Properly Incenting Academia (or, how to resist quitting my day job) Mike Carey (UC Irvine) Beckman DB Self-Assessment Meeting October 2013

2 Our Field Has Contracted Metricitis Then: – What really cool things can I study and build? – How (and when) should I disseminate my results? – How useful does unit of work W seem to be? – What has been the overall impact of X’s work? Now: – What can I write a paper on? – What (smallest piece of) work will be required? – How different does unit of work W seem to be? – What is X’s (i) paper count or (ii) H-index?

3 Let’s Look at a Case Study: XML Query Processing I did some “XML time” in industry (1999-2008) BEA offered XML-based data integration Being “ex-research”, my team looked around for useful ideas to borrow and to implement – Lore (Jennifer et al), TIMBER (Jag et al) were very helpful (e.g., query algebras and approaches) – But not so much for the other 1000+ papers on QP inside the world’s biggest single XML document…  (Apologies to anyone I’ve just offended with this caricature of the angle bracket situation … but ….)

4 Unfortunate Consequences This has (badly) warped the academic culture – We no longer seem to evaluate impact ourselves – Instead, we count survivors of a reviewing process that many whine about as itself being random & broken (?!?) – We value quantity and (gratuitous) differences over quality or real potential usefulness Other sciences value refinement and step-wise progress But we would seem to prefer to keep making new stuff up This also affects our product (student) pipeline – Impacts what agencies like NSF will fund – Impacts how students think about their primary goal – Discourages doing things that actually take some time – One aspect of which is making sure something is really feasible – Which seems especially dangerous in a smoke-and-mirrors discipline Hopefully our case of Metricitis is not yet in Stage 4 ….


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