Open Sourcing Research Software

In this 15min. video I’ll take you through the basic steps of open sourcing your research software. It covers purpose of open sourcing, the rights situation, license choice, and the actual step of open sourcing.

The slides are also available. Please note that the slides and video contain some simplifications so make sure you resp. your lawyers know what they are doing.

The Role of a Literature Review in Grant Proposals

Christmas is coming up, so what’s a professor got to do? Hide from the family and work on grant proposals, naturally. Right now I’m upset about the misunderstanding of the role that literature reviews play in grant proposals (by way of reviewer comments).

Reviewing literature is just a general activity, but one that can serve many purposes. Depending on the purpose, different review techniques are more or less suited to help achieve that purpose. I’ll focus on the two main purposes, related work and theory building.

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Dear Ph.D. Student: Don’t be Afraid of Prior Art

A first step in a one-person research project in a domain new to a researcher (Ph.D. student) is to read-up on related work. This can be daunting, as sometimes it feels like everything has been done already, and there is nothing new to write a dissertation about. Fear not! With enough digging, the opportunities will present itself.

In software engineering research, the value of past engineering work can be confusing. What does it mean that there is an open source project in which someone implemented something similar to your idea? And even wrote a blog post or report about it? The short answer: This is a golden opportunity for fabulous research and not a threat to your idea.

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How to Present a Theory (as a Handbook)

The key output of research is a theory or something supporting the building or validation of a theory. A theory, in turn, is knowlege, for example in the form of a model, that lets us predict the future or create reliable output in some form. Scientists usually publish theories for other scientists to review, in journals.

But what about the practitioners that we are creating the theories for in the first place?

In this video I present a way of codifying (presenting) theories as practical pattern handbooks so that practitioners can use these handbooks and apply your theory. This way, we connect science to practice and hopefully help make the world a better place. It also helps to get industry engaged in your work.

An associated (preprint) technical report, soon a journal paper, is available with more information. The slides for the video above are also available.

The Value of Articles With No Relevance

I’m listening to Lutz Prechelt’s keynote at the German Software Engineering research community conference. He is talking about how we should not be undertaking research that has no relevance, and he is demonstrating this by presenting research based on ludicruous assumptions (that will never be real, not in this nor another world).

Nobody could disagree with this, no?

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