Have You Seen This Review?

We recently submitted a structured literature review to a well-ranked journal, and got a review back complaining about how badly our controlled experiment had been carried out. We inquired with the editor about this, but got no answer back. The review (by reviewer 2, no less) is so generic, I suspect it has been used many times before. I’d be curious to hear from you if you received this (same) review in the past.

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Dear Ministry, Are You Serious?

Translated from the (German) instructions on the final step of submitting a project plan for funding:

Please specify exactly how many and which publications you will publish over the next three years.

Yeah, right.

Lecturing is getting increasingly bipolar

In this fifth semester of the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t help but predict that teaching by way of lectures will be getting more bipolar. I foresee two main modes of lecturing:

  1. Increased use of videos in online lecturing rather than live performances
  2. Traditional in-person lecturing without serious online presence

This may hardly sound surprising, but some of the underlying mechanics that are leading me to this prediction may. There are two noteworthy developments:

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Best Practices for Page Numbers in Article Submissions

Should you add page numbers to articles you submit for review? Absolutely. Why? Because it will make it easier for reviewers to comment.

Should you have page numbers in an article you are preparing for submission? Absolutely. Why? Because your coauthors will find it easier to comment. (Not everyone will always be online; I still comment a lot on paper thanks to Deutsche Bahn and Vodafone.)

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Using Open Source to Align Academic Client-Supplier Relationships

Open source is a boon for academic project collaboration. As long as the collaboration is not only voluntary, but also on equal footing, everyone can contribute and benefit under the guidance of an open source license and processes. However, as soon as money flows between the partners, the lawyers will want to have their say, and things get complicated. Fortunately, open source can fix this as well.

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What Does Customer Success Mean for a Professor?

A professor raises funds, manages projects, and publishes about it. Next to teaching, university committees, self-administration, recruiting and hiring, people management, peer reviews, community leadership, etc. Fundraising is called sales, if done by a company. Now, companies have something called customer success. What does this imply for a professor?

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There’s More to Research Than Testing Hypotheses

In a recent grant proposal, we proposed to develop a new method and to evaluate it using case study research. By definition, case studies are a good way of evaluating theories where you can’t control all parameters, as is the case with new methods in an open and complex world setting like software engineering.

Interestingly, both reviewers to the proposal asked for hypotheses to test. Why weren’t there any? We had posed open-ended research questions, but no hypotheses that lead to a simple yes/no answer (well, rejection of a null hypothesis or not, usually).

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Good Use of Ancient SD Cards

I finally was able to find a good for of those old (ancient!) SD cards I have flying around. The ministry of education in Bavaria requires that I send exam questions to them before use, by mail (the one without an e-). I can burn the questions to a CD, or put them onto a USB stick, but I presume I can also use my old SD cards. Yay for reuse!