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Why I wrote the article “也谈 “一篇超级大牛的 . . .” 精选

已有 15453 次阅读 2012-5-6 21:07 |系统分类:海外观察|关键词:face Microsoft article office color

Fornew readers and those who request to be “好友 good friends” please read my 公告first.

My article posted 4-30-2012 obviously hit a nerve. In six days it gathered close to nine thousand hits and a variety of both positive and negative comments. It occurs to me that I did not explain well the rationale behind my posting the article which I shall do here.

1.     As I have consistently and repeatedly mentioned since my first blog article 5 years ago, that the main purpose of my blog is to help young scholars in China with their work and aspirations. In this respect, I try to point out blind alleys and common mistakes to avoid – things that are common knowledge in the US but may not be well known in China yet.

2.     The particular article with the title ”一篇超级大牛的 . . .”when I read it first gave the impression of worshiping Ronald Mahler as a giant of the field which giving the evidences was not my conclusion (note 1). I did not want the youth of China be misled.

3.     Normally for scholarly disputes and disagreements in the open, people are generally reserved and not given to pointed remarks and criticisms – note the comments I quoted from experts even though I promised confidentiality by removing their names. In fact, most people just choose the simple act of “ignoring and not referencing” anything they consider unworthy.

4.     Thus, the main reasons of my writing the article are #1 and #2 above which is why I took the trouble of writing in Chinese so that it is accessible to more readers. This is also the reason I used very explicit language and comments so that there are no doubt of my opinions and warnings.

5.     Some people criticize my article for using the titles “Fellow” and “Academician” as gauge for scholarly excellence. True, just like the famous Churchillian saying about democracy, such title have their deficiencies. But the fact people still crave them is a measure of their general validity. If you are truly a giant of the field, then such titles are unfailing badges of honor even though their absences do not necessarily indicate inferiority.

6.     I admitted at the outset that I am no expert in the subject of “multi-target detection” which is why I decided to consult some experts in the subject. Since I was using their opinions anonymously, I use the qualifier that they are all IEEE Fellows to give some indication that they are not just anybody I consulted.

7.     Finally, a common ploy used often by authors in mathematically-oriented research topics such as signal processing, systems and control, etc is this:

“find an obscure mathematical topic and tools, force fit it to an engineering problem. Write this up for publication in an engineering or applied journal”

This approach has several advantages. First, since most reviewers and readers of the engineering journal will not have knowledge of the obscure mathematics you used, their natural reaction is to give you the benefit of the doubt that you may know more than they do. To prove otherwise, they have to spend considerable amount of their valuable time to master some new mathematical knowledge which ultimately may not be of any use. Second, even if you did not make any contribution to the real problem using such mathematical tools, you can at the minimum claim that you provided new insight. This is often enough to get your first paper published. Once this is accomplished, one is onto the road of “more of the same” through self-referencing and promotion. Pretty soon one becomes a “giant of the field” or “big ox” (see http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-474224.html )

8.     These were the rationale as to why I wrote the blog article under discussion. True, if I were younger and more worried about peer opinions of me, and if my reading audience is only US scholars, then I wouldn’t have written the article. Reading it in the cold light of the day and many days later, I can see why some reader may think I am arrogant but I am not biased or ignorant as some critics claim.

(Note 1. Subsequent blog article by the original author of “一篇超级大牛的  . . .”indicated that he harbored doubts about the “giant” himself).

(Note added May 25, 2012. My naive mind was further educated while in China this week when it was pointed out to me that even though my original article was specifically addressed to the status of Ron Maher. Many people may have interpreted that I was actually attacking some unnamed person in China, i.e., pointing finger at the boysenberry but actually scolding mulberry”Nothing can be further from the truth. I am not that sophisticated.

 


 

 

Note added 5/7/12 8:29 am EST: Please also read my response under comment [15].

 



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