Can industrialists publish scientific papers?

This forum is part of the MISTA conference series web site.

If you look at the scientific literature you might think that most of the work that is reported is theoretical in nature. It depends, of course, how you define theoretical but you would probably be right. And the scientific community makes no apologies for this as, by its nature, it is what they do.

However, there is a need for practitioners to report their results and experiences in the scientific literature so that the community is aware of real world applications and what is happening outside of the theoretical world that many academics occupy.

Indeed, some scientific journals welcome articles that essentially describe case studies so that we can all learn from these experiences. Some of the journals that spring to mind are the Journal of the Operational Research Society, Interfaces and the Journal of Scheduling (if you know of others, please feel free to post them as a reply to this post)

The benefits of publishing in the scientific literature include the following:

  1. It gets your message out there, so that others might benefit from it.
  2. It places a marker in the sand, that indicates that you reported this work before anybody else (in a scientific sense).
  3. You might be able to use the scientific paper in your marketing material to show that the approaches you are using have been validated by the scientific community.
  4. It might enable engagement with the scientific community which might improve your systems even more.
  5. It might prompt interest from the media who regularly look at what is being published in the hope of getting a story.

The barriers to industrialists publishing in the scientific literature include:

  1. You may not know what the scientific literature is, let alone how to access it.
  2. You simply don’t have enough time, or maybe even the motivation, to write a scientific paper.
  3. Even if you are able to read at a scientific paper, it might not be obvious how to go about writing one.
  4. If you have an idea for a paper, how do you go about getting it published, after you have written it?
  5. Of the thousands of journals out there, how do you choose which one to target?
  6. If you submit a paper to a journal what do you do if you get critical reviewer comments or, even worse, the paper is rejected?

So, how can the industrial community write scientific papers, and be better represented in the scientific literature?

Here are just a few ways that might work for you:

  1. Respond to this post if you are interested in accessing the scientific literature. There might be people reading this forum who would be willing to work with you to help get your work published.
  2. Google (other search engines are available) your idea and see if anything comes up which is associated with a university. Then try contacting the academic who seems to be involved in that project.
  3. Take a look at Google Scholar (as opposed to just Google). This just searches scientific papers and you might find an academic who has expertise in your area of interest.
  4. Most universities have a Business Engagement department. Try contacting them.
  5. The MISTA conference series is interested in seeing more papers and presentations that describe real world problems, and solutions to those problems. If you are interested in discussing such a paper, please feel free to contact one to the conference chairs. The worst they can say is that the suggestion is not suitable for MISTA.

Writing a scientific paper for the first time can be daunting (in fact it is!) but it could be just what your company needs to promote itself to a wider community that you probably don’t have access to otherwise. And, if you need help and advice, then there are plenty of people around who would be more than happy to assist.

Respond to this forum post and see if it leads to anything.


MISTA Publication Statistics

This forum is part of the MISTA conference series web site.

At the time of writing (September 2012) the MISTA bibtex file contains 504 records. This represents every paper that has arisen from the MISTA conference, whether in the proceedings (as an abstract or a paper) or as part of the post conference selected volume (either an edited book, or as a paper in a special issue of a journal). The various paper can be broken down as follows:

MISTA 2003 (Nottingham, UK)

  • 38 abstracts were presented in the conference proceedings
  • 29 full papers were published in the conference proceedings
  • 19 book chapters were published in the post conference volume, as selected papers

2003 papers = 86

 MISTA 2005 (New York, USA)

  • 63 abstracts were presented in the conference proceedings
  • 41 full papers were published in the conference proceedings
  • 27 journal articles were published in Annals of Operations Research, as selected papers (note, the count of 27 includes the Preface)

Total 2005 papers = 131

 MISTA 2007 (Paris, France)

  • 26 abstracts were presented in the conference proceedings
  • 67 full papers were published in the conference proceedings
  • 5 journal articles were published in the Journal of Scheduling, as selected papers (Note, the count of 5 includes the preface)

Total 2007 papers = 98

 MISTA 2009 (Dublin, Ireland)

  • 46 abstracts were presented in the conference proceedings
  • 52 full papers were published in the conference proceedings
  • 20 journal articles were published in the Journal of Scheduling, as selected papers (Note, the count of 20 includes the preface and an Erratum)

Total 2009 papers = 118

 MISTA 2011 (Phoenix, USA)

  • 41 abstracts were presented in the conference proceedings
  • 30 full papers were published in the conference proceedings
  • The post conference volume is under review at the moment

Total 2011 papers = 71 (excludes selected papers)



How we display publications

This forum is part of the MISTA conference series web site.

We have spent quite a lot of time on a system where the MISTA publication web pages are driven by a bibtex file. That is, we maintain a bibtex file and the web pages that display the publications pages are automatically generated at run time.

The system has taken a lot of development. As well as the PHP development, another time consuming task was making sure that the bibtex file was correct. We were also keen to make sure that the bibtex file contains the abstract so that we could display this on the web site. At the time of writing we still need to put the 2003 abstracts in the bibtex file, but the others are all there.

We are still finding some errors in the bibtex file, although they are diminishing in number. However, it has been well worth all the effort as the bibtex now drives the MISTA publication pages and as more conferences take place it will require minimal effort to add another set of papers. It is not quite as easy as just adding to the bibtex file, as we have to do a bit of maintenance to include another year, but that is a small amount of work compared to working in raw HTML.

The system we have developed is PHP based, and is based on a set of software tools provided by Andreas Classen, but we have added to it quite a lot to give us some extra functionality that we need.

If you take a look at what we have achieved (see for example the list of papers from MISTA 2007) you can see that we can display all the papers (abstracts and full papers) from a given year and, using the menu on the left, you can decide whether to filter by different types of paper. For those of you that understand URL parameter passing, you can see what we are doing to drive this process by looking at the format of the URL.

If you see a paper that you are interested in, you can click on the link and that will take you to more details about the paper, including the abstract, the full citation, how to download it etc.

If you want any more details, there is another blog (this is actually my blog where I have been documenting various aspects of parsing bibtex files) that has a little more detail about the trials and tribulations of parsing bibtex files.


Sports Scheduling: Recent Publications

This forum is part of the MISTA conference series web site.

Looking at the the latest issue of the Journal of Scheduling (Volume 15, Issue 5, Oct 2012), it is good to see that sports scheduling gets two mentions.

David C. Uthus, Patricia J. Riddle and HansW. Guesgen publish a paper entitled Solving the traveling tournament problem with iterative-deepening A* (doi). The paper tackles a problem that was introduced a few years ago by Mike Trick and Kelly Easton. I doubt that anybody realised how difficult the problem would be to solve. It still remains a challenge, even for moderately sized instances.

It will be interesting to see how the community progresses over the next few years.

The other paper in this issue is a review of the various ways that soccer schedules are used in Europe. The details of the paper are:

Dries R. Goossens and Frits C.R. Spieksma, Soccer schedules in Europe: an overview (doi).

This looks like an excellent paper for anybody who is new to the area or, indeed, to those who work in the area and needs an up to date reference of the various competition formats.

I hope more sports scheduling papers will appear in future issues of the Journal of Scheduling, as well as in other journals.