Can I count on paper future work or not? in order to work on that for my master thesis. I have a paper and its implementation. and I work on that for some months.

This paper belong to 2013 and the author work on another fields on 2014. I track his publications and I am not sure he goes back to his 2013's paper future work.

I want to know and make sure if the idea will work or not? How can I make sure if it will work or not?

  • What do you mean by counting on it? That the idea will work? That it's publishable? That the author will or won't work on it themselves? Something else?
    – Bill Barth
    Sep 7, 2014 at 19:17
  • 2
    There's no way to know but to try it. Sometimes the ideas people say they'd like to try in their future work don't pan out. Also, you can be pretty sure that they are working on it. They don't have an enforceable claim on the area, but given the head start that they have, they might beat you to finishing the idea (if it's viable).
    – Bill Barth
    Sep 7, 2014 at 19:26
  • 2
    No, of course not!
    – JeffE
    Sep 8, 2014 at 2:32
  • @JeffE Do you have any ideas, please guide me, I need members experiences
    – M R R
    Sep 8, 2014 at 2:36
  • 5
    I have no idea what you're asking for. There are only two ways to know whether an idea in the "Future work" section of someone else's paper will work: Try it yourself, or wait for someone else to show that it does. Figuring out which ideas work is the definition of "research"!
    – JeffE
    Sep 8, 2014 at 2:49

1 Answer 1


How to make sure if it will work or not?

The reason why it's in the "future work" section is that no-one knows because it hasn't yet been done (and it's easily possible the original authors never will try it). "Future work" ideas can range in feasibility from wild speculation to simple, almost-guaranteed-to-work extensions that just need a bit more manpower or computer power to finish.

This is a good topic to discuss with your supervisor as soon as possible. You should be asking questions such as:

  • How feasible might it be for these ideas to lead to some useful conclusions?
  • What if it doesn't work? How soon will we know, and what alternative paths are there?

Of course, some ideas are much easier and more feasible than others. There's no way to know for sure but to try the idea yourself (after making sure that the problem is not already solved in later literature). Because dead-ends often go unpublished, it might even be worth contacting the relevant authors to ask if they attempted to follow up on their future ideas.

It's a courteous thing to do especially if theirs is a recent publication: if the original authors are still working on the problem, publishing the solution first might annoy the other researchers. Though whether to proceed anyway (and give them notice that you're working on the idea as well), stay silent, or offer to collaborate, is a dilemma that's off-topic for this question.

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