The Offramp to a Better Software Engineering Research Community: A Manifesto
The software engineering research community approaches an historic offramp on the long road of academic progress. The path ahead: a continuation of our present self harm. Ineffective, prejudiced, capricious peer review. Wasting years resubmitting the same paper to half a dozen venues until it’s accepted; pouring hard work into revisions that are unceremoniously discarded over technicalities. Paying obscene fees for open-access and wasting grant money on overpriced international conferences. Endless underpowered, incremental, largely irrelevant pilot studies because we are incentivised against risk-taking. A false dichotomy between one-phase review, which gives authors too much latitude to ignore reasonable requests and two-phase review, which gives reviewers too much power to demand unreasonable or inappropriate changes. But just ahead, a turn-off: an exit to another, better academic future. A reality in which all research that meets transparent, agreed-in-advance, method-specific requirements is published. A reality where we only need one journal, because it accepts all valid research. A reality in which there are no publication fees, no arbitrary length limits, no article processing charges, and every paper is free for anyone to read. A reality where we emancipate our field from the for-profit publishers and corrupt professional organizations that leech our research money. A reality where we refocus our conferences on collaborating, networking, planning, and sharing; blending remote and in-person attendance and improving access by cutting costs. A reality in which 1.5-phase review ensures that manuscripts meet expectations without abusing authors. A reality in which you are empowered to pursue the ambitious, important work you’ve always wanted to do
Dr. D. Paul Ralph is an award-winning scientist, author, consultant, and computer science professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. His research intersects software engineering, project management and human-computer interaction. Dr. Ralph’s research has been published in premier software engineering outlets including the International Conference on Software Engineering and IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. He has received funding from Google and The National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He holds a PhD in Management from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Ralph is also the founding director of the Empirical Standards for Software Engineering Research.
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|The Offramp to a Better Software Engineering Research Community: A Manifesto
Paul Ralph Dalhousie University