While being a Ph.D. candidate (software engineering), I've observed a strange tendency in academia: many mediocre researchers are writing lots of white papers with no evaluation at all. I was also initially encouraged by my supervisor and other professors to do the same, but working with other research groups, getting feedback from conference reviewers and from friends, I've learned that without evaluation of my work, without having an experimental section in my papers, I am only building sand castles. It was hard lesson and I needed to refuse my supervisor to submit papers too early, but it was worth it. I've learned that evaluation offers two benefits:
- I can confront my ideas with reality and compare with other solutions
- It provides feedback on my actual skills as a researcher, programmer, statistician, etc.
I can understand doing experimental evaluation is harder than just sketching ideas in white papers, but I don't understand one thing. How is it possible that so many white papers are accepted for conferences and publications and their authors can still work in academia? Or maybe I am missing something and my judgement is unfair, because there should be a place in academia for researchers who only write white papers?