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[Axiom-developer] Re: [sage-devel] Re: "scholarly activity"?

From: Ondrej Certik
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: [sage-devel] Re: "scholarly activity"?
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 10:54:53 +0100

On Dec 25, 2007 1:38 AM, root <address@hidden> wrote:
> >I just noticed this email on the jmol developer mailing list.  See below.
> >
> >if anybody has any thoughts or ideas -- long or short term -- about how to
> >structure or restructure sage development so the same sort of thing doesn't
> >happen to us, please speak up.   I think something like JSAGE
> >(
> >-- if it were to take off -- would really help.
> >
> >
> >Dear Jmol team:
> >This letter is to notify you that I will not be able to continue
> >participating in Jmol development. I hope this situation will only
> >be temporary. However, my rejoining the project depends on my
> >institution being convinced to give me some kind of credit for these
> >activities. Since my contributions to the Jmol project were not
> >deemed a "form of off-campus, peer reviewed scholarly or artistic
> >product", I cannot afford to put any more time into the project. As
> >it stands, I have been told that my scholarly activity level has not
> >been adequate recently. To help me increase my scholarly output, I
> >will have to teach 3-6 hours more of classes each week, and will be
> >responsible for grading additional work from 20-60 more students.
> >Somehow that is supposed to increase my scholarly activity:) Put
> >simply, this means I will not have time to devote to Jmol or most of
> >my other scholarly activities. Since Jmol is the scholarly activity
> >that doesn't presently count, I need to drop that and use any time I
> >can eke out for scholarship of other kinds. If I can convince my
> >department to include contributions to projects like Jmol on a list
> >of creditable activity, I will be able to rejoin the project. This
> >is likely to take a semester. Thus I hope to be able to rejoin the
> >project next spring, about May.
> I've been presenting Axiom development at various locations, usually
> at conferences or requested talks. At almost every conference where
> I've spoken there was a later "birds of a feather" discussion. The
> primary issue is academic credit.
> The key problem is that the most active developers are likely to
> be doctoral or recent-degree holders, likely in tenure track positions.
> The issues seem to be that
>   (a) open source is NOT considered publishing
>   (b) code development is not considered research
>   (c) only published, peer-reviewed papers count at the tenure review.
> Thus, a tenure-sensitive professor who develops a great algorithm or
> program, which takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, gets no
> credit at the tenure review. Worse, since the time spent on the program
> takes away from the publications pile, it actually works against the
> possibility of tenure.
> Partially the problem is that computational mathematics is not yet
> considered a separate department from mathematics. Another partial
> cause of the problem is that the tenure committee is composed of
> professors who are not well aware of, or being "mathematicians",
> look down upon programming as "not really research". Yet another
> issue is that peer-review rarely, if ever, involves a peer-review
> of the code.
> This has come up in at least 6 venues, with a total meeting representation
> of over 40 professors from many different locations. Thus the issue is not
> some local problem but fairly systemic.
> Carlo Traverso, head of the Department of Mathematica, in Pisa, Italy
> and I have been looking at creating a new kind of journal to address
> this problem. The journal would accept only "literate papers", that is,
> papers which contain both the research results and the associated source
> code. The programs would be published in a peer-reviewed journal with a
> requirement that the program could be run by an independent party and
> reproduce the reported research results (similar to other sciences).
> While this would not address the time involved in writing and debugging
> a program, it would at least give a venue for presenting open source
> code in a reproducible, peer-reviewed (and therefore tenure-approved)
> format.

There is already such a journal, where I am going to publish some of
my opensource codes -

Computer Physics Communications:

impact factor is around 0.6, so not big, but it still counts as a publication.


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