Thursday, August 19, 2004

Why do we say these things?

Why do computer scientists acquiesce in publishing things we know aren't right?

Take, for example, a paper in the latest JODI describing The PlumbingXJ Approach for Fast Prototyping of Web Applications. The paper looks mildly interesting, although it ignores a decade of important work in hypertext structure. But lets look at the motivation (section 3):

The use of software engineering techniques is essential for the development of hypermedia applications (Murugesan et al. 1999)

If you read and review computer science papers, you'll see homespun homilies like this all the time. I'm not unsympathetic, The only problems is: we know this is untrue.

In other words, the authors got carried away here, and the editors and peer reviewers didn't bother to check.