self scrutiny March 25, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, papers, research.
Tags: conference, papers, peer review, reviewer comments
After spending a considerable amount of time griping about other people’s papers, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t complain about my own once in a while, as well. I’m currently revising a paper that I and a coauthor submitted to a conference. It was accepted, but there were changes requested. I started to work through some of them, but then realized that some of the comments didn’t make sense.
I sat down with a couple people, including the coauthor, and we started trying to figure out what was going on. After reading through each comment with a fine-tooth comb, we came to the realization that the problem was that we took for granted the method we were using and gave a very succinct explanation. It obviously wasn’t enough: we gathered from the comments that they resulted in a complete misunderstanding of what we were showing.
In other words, I screwed up because I didn’t explain clearly enough what we were doing. This lead to some huge misunderstandings by the reviewers, and some of the more…ummm…cynical? Yes, cynical is a good euphemism. Anyway, this explains some of the more cynical comments we got from reviewers.
The good news is that, with more explanation, I think we’ll have a much better paper when we’re done. However, this has made me realize that I really can’t take for granted what my reviewers may or may not know. It’s best to be as explicit and detailed as possible.