r vs. K

Draft of 2006.02.07 ☛ 2015.03.28

May include: academia&c.

In computer science and biology and much of physics, research publications are written as if they were ephemeral, part of a conversation, steps made towards some moving goal. Conference proceedings are peer reviewed, and most interesting conferences get thousands of submissions. Sure there are the Big Important Papers, but who has time or inclination to write one?

Papers in this group are perceived as being brief and telegraphic, and one has a sense that everything said has been read somewhere else before, though maybe in a slightly different context. As a result, they are dilute, like potato chips. Can’t write just one.

In operations research and operations management, research publications are written for the ages, each one groundbreaking and monographic, placed with care and thought and a sense of great accomplishment like blocks in a great pyramid. Conference proceedings are not peer reviewed (I am told), and receive scant submissions. Sure, there are the little teeny brief communications, but they’re just excuses to go on junkets, aren’t they?

Papers in this group are perceived as being long-lived and important, fraught with cant and proof, but never diluted with example. As a result, they are impenetrable and cloying efforts to read. Each one a meal in itself; a man can live for weeks on just one loaf.