何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Review Paper or Just Report of a Learning Experience 精选

已有 10302 次阅读 2014-9-12 06:14 |系统分类:海外观察

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I happen to come across the article by blogger 周强 On 发表综述论文的问题在哪里 - 研究生vs.学术大佬. To which I added my comment below:


I agree with the author's main point, namely, a student's learning report and experience cannot be considered as a REVIEW  paper. A good review paper is extremely difficult to write and is very different from a paper contributing  to  new knowledge. Even many top researchers do not know how to do it. This is just  like many good scientists cannot give comprehensible and   understandable talks. A good review paper should

1. Distill the essence of a field and summarize the important ideas and separate them from the lesser and irrelevant ones.

2. Be understandable to the new and average workers and yet win the praise of the real experts for the insight it provides.

3. Summarize the main contributions of a more or less mature field or subject so that late and new comers to the field  have a short cut and clear view to make further advances  without wasting labor on blind alleys already explored.

4. It requires the author to write with a reader-centered and objective viewpoint and not be afraid to give evaluation and assessment for the public's benefit.

5. Review paper is like a short text book and actually harder to write than a long one. We are all aware of the famous excuse by Samuel Johnson when he apologizes for writing a long letter to his friend because he does not have the time to write a short one.

6. To make matters worse, the world pays a premium for contribution to new knowledge than to a good review paper. To paraphrase a famous saying: those who can, do; those who cannot,  write bad review papers.Able researchers much prefer to spend their limited time on the former task. It is a matter of 吃力不讨好.


A beginning student is not endowed with any of the above  qualities, experience, and maturity to attempt the task. There is nothing wrong with reporting learning experience and/or  reports particularly if it is required for graduation. Just  don't called it a REVIEW paper.

 

I post the above comment on my blog pages here to promote discussion.




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