Turkey Research!

With the snow falling outside my warm office, and my novelty mug filled with cocoa served piping hot from the Wittenborg 7100, and thoughts of what I am missing back in the US this Thanksgiving day, I was all set to digest a days-old paper from a reputable resource, and make a new entry to my collection of annotated references. This paper turned out to be a real turkey though, revealing the authors to be completely ignorant of work from the past 18 years, not to mention fundamental concepts of music. This paper does provide an exceptional example of poor research, and of how peer review can go so wrong. And this inspires me to write a list of the things in research for which I am thankful.

  1. I am thankful for the research that contains a proper review of the literature.
  2. I am thankful for the research that avoids making blanket assumptions and unusual categorizations.
  3. I am thankful for the research that uses the word “optimal” and defines its context.
  4. I am thankful for the research that properly justifies the decisions made.
  5. I am thankful for the research that clearly states the procedures, algorithms, and the various settings used in the experiments.
  6. I am thankful for the research by those who work hard to understand fundamental concepts in the areas they work, such as, in audio and music signal processing, concepts about acoustics and music like modes and overtones, harmonicity, timbre, tonality, and polyphony.
  7. I am so thankful for the research that contains a proper review of the literature.
  8. I am thankful for the research that does not make claims that have been clearly disproved in the literature nearly 18 years prior, and well-known since.
  9. I am thankful for the research by authors that does not cite their own submitted work as if it they are the first to study the problem at hand when there is at least 10 years of work on that same problem.
  10. I am thankful for the research that includes meaningful figures I can read without a microscope.
  11. I am thankful for the reviewers who spend time not only carefully reviewing the submitted work, but also familiarizing themselves with the literature enough to know when work is strong.
  12. And most of all, I am thankful for the research that is a clear contribution to our pursuit of knowledge.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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