Thursday, May 25, 2006


We all know about Minimum Publishable Units (MPUs). I have seen papers where the authors seemed to have plodded along to just hit the MPU and then sprinted to write it up. Alas. But the papers I am reading these days seem to have MPDs: Minimum Publishable Deltas. The authors rummage around in dregs of prior work until they find the delta the previous authors have not done, and then sprint to write it up. Double Alas.

One response to MPDs is to apply blocking. One reads the paper from the beginning until the first place where one hits a good enough reason to feel indignant and then one sprints to write up a referee report that slays the paper (without reading the remainder). No, I am not recommending this response...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In defense, most followup papers to my papers feels like MPDs to me. In most cases, I think it is *my* problem (as the author I think certain problems are interestings, the new paper improves some aspect I completely do not care about). In short, if the paper is a followup to your own paper, one should be very careful refereeing MPDs.

On the other hand, being too positive about followup to your own work also looks fishy. In short, MPDs are a pain to referee...

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*You* set the delta so if someone meets it, it seems to me that you have no right to complain. Is the paper not good enough? then set a higher delta.

On a different note, yes there is work that is too incremental, on the other hand we stand on the shoulder of giants and we all know of problems that were broken down one sliver at a time.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:36 AM  

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