Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Writing Scientific Papers – The problems with copy-and-paste and its derivations

Last month, I was reviewing a reuse paper for an important conference and I had a Déjà vu feeling about that one. Performing a more rigorous search on the author’s publication me and my colleagues in the RiSE group could identify the problem. The paper was about 80 percent similar to the previous one, and, that was one of the problems, since the authors did not cite the previous paper in the references list. Our decision was to notify the conference chair about the problem and the paper was discarded. We believe that this problem is increasing in the community in general [IEEE reported that 14 papers in 2004, 26 in 2005, and 47 in 2006 had this problem] and based on this fact, I started an analysis in this direction. For us, it was good because we discovered that the computer society is working hard in this direction.

The Institute, a journal published by the IEEE Spectrum Magazine,Vol. 31, No. 01, March 2007, discussed this aspect very well with [read the full paper here] some data which we should share. According to them, in a recent U.S. survey released by the Center for Academic Integrity involving 50.000 undergraduates shows that the problem is increasing. According to the center, 10 percent admitted to plagiarizing in 1999, whereas almost 40 percent said they did so in 2005. Additionally, in the last year, 21 mechanical engineering graduates from Ohio University, in Athens, were found to have plagiarized their master’s and doctoral theses [that is incredible!], and others at the school are now under investigation.

The IEEE is working to decrease this problem [see the plagiarism guidelines page]. The institute has developed some sanctions for plagiarists that range from sending a letter of apology to being banned from publishing with the IEEE for up to five years. Other solutions include tools such as Turnitin which checks papers against other manuscripts submitted via Turnitin, tutorials and flowchart that illustrates the process used to investigate a plagiarism complain.

Some professors believe that the Internet can be the roots for this problem. I agree with them in some sense, but I think that the problem is more related to a more formal education and mentoring with these students. We know that the professors have a lot of things to do, but in my opinion, this problem can be reduced in the base working in this direction in high schools and universities during scientific activities until a master or doctoral program. I agree with Professor Michael Hoffman when he said: “before students begin to write, I go over our institute’s rules of conduct, how to cite a source, and what makes a good scientific writing”. Michael's students, after understanding it, must sign a document stating that they understand the rules. I believe that we can work in some levels before writing letters like this one. But, here, just the future could show it. By the way, our work is to keep our attention with this problem.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Software Reuse on Focus - ICSR 10

Today was released the call for paper for the 10th International Conference on Software Reuse (ICSR) to be helded in Beijing China, during 25-29 May, 2008. The event is the main vehicle to learn and discuss about several aspects of reuse with the main names in the area.
Go there. Sure, one more time, the RiSE group will be there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Open Market for Software Development

Today, we had an interesting discussion in the RiSE group involving a draft proposal by David Weiss related to an Open Market Software Development (OMSD). David has a long experience with software development and his proposal is at least polemic. David proposes a new approach to software development called OMSD in order to be an attempt to free software developers from restrictions under which they work by allowing them to work on what they choose and with whom they choose. His approach is inspired – it is very good for us – by Ricardo Semler a Brazilian executive with innovative ideas in which our managers must read more.

In David’s approach, he discusses some rules for development in the market, roles, metrics, etc. However, during the discussion, some topics were strongly questioned [sometimes in a funny way] such as: 1. the approach is just related to software product line in which we have a well-defined architecture? If yes, it can be a problem in an open market in which not often we (developers) have all the background in that domain. 2. the guys questioned the analogy made with the Personal Computer area. 3. the relationship between the company publishing the specification and the available developers should be very defined since the developers cannot do their work or disappear, etc. So, maybe, we have to define more legal aspects in the model. Maybe, some NDAs can solve it. But, it should be well-defined. 4. Often when I discuss this model, the people – managers – asked me about the business model and the economic aspects. It is not easy to define a rigorous analysis for this approach since we do not have data about it. However, David has a strong background in the measurement area (he created the GQM) and I think that he is thinking in this direction.

In general, I think that this approach can be more discussed and maybe experimented in our environment, Digital Port, where we have a rich ecosystem composed of universities, companies, and especially, very good professionals. I believe that this approach can be a way to integrate more these parts and maybe contributes to increase our potential to enter in international markets.

Unfortunately, we cannot publish David’s paper here, however, you can see his talk during the 2nd Workshop for Reuse Introduction in Companies (WIRE).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

1000th Goal

Yes, Better Late Than Never. In the same way such as Pele and Romario, the C.R.U.I.S.E book, the first one on software reuse, published by the RiSE group, at C.E.S.A.R, passed more than 1000 downloads. The awarded reader was Ryan Bagueros, software engineer in San Francisco, U.S.

It is a milestone to celebrate. The book published on April 2007 has downloads from several countries including: U.S., India, England, Canada, France, China, Japan, among others.
If you have a copy, send it for other interested people and help us to increase the reuse community. If you do not have, get your copy here!!

Starting a new project…

Yes, finally, after a long pressure, the RiSE group started its blog. It will be the main place to discuss and to read news about software reuse in industrial and academic context. In this blog, the language will be the English, the main reason is that we intend to spread it around the world.
We hope seeing you here to joint us!