0

I am working on an extension to my thesis work in robotics. I believe that, in order to complete the result I'm moving towards, I'll need at least two, probably more, papers to provide a full solution. The problem itself can be broken into several pieces that clearly build off of each other. I'd like to publish each piece separately in order to keep the size of the paper reasonable. Also, the first piece is actually of limited technical use but introduces the concepts, notations, and methods required for the further pieces. Has anyone had any success trying to publish work that stands alone but is very obviously incomplete?

  • Will each paper clearly present a method, results, and discussion that tells a complete story? If so, I think it is definitely reasonable to split your thesis into multiple papers. It will also depend on the journal you are submitting to as some are more open to introducing concepts rather than analyzing hard data. – Hobbes Jun 1 '16 at 16:50
  • Maybe this varies by field, but I'm not sure why you are so concerned with keeping the size of the paper "reasonable". If you need more space to present your work, and it can't be broken into pieces that stand alone, well, you write a longer paper. What's the point of having 2-3 shorter papers if a reader has to read all of them anyway in order to get value? – Nate Eldredge Jun 2 '16 at 4:08
  • Primarily, papers in robotics are often limited to under 12 pages, with huge page charges being imposed around the 8 page mark. I feel that to explain the whole piece of work, probably around 20 pages would be necessary. – Michael Stachowsky Jun 2 '16 at 13:21
3

Also, the first piece is actually of limited technical use but introduces the concepts, notations, and methods required for the further pieces.

The main question is whether this work is of independent interest or use to anybody but you. All research is incomplete in some sense, and that doesn't bother people (everyone likes opportunities for further work). So the issue is whether your paper is incomplete in the sense of not accomplishing anything interesting yet, or incomplete in the sense that there is still much more to do.

If there are people who want to read it now, on its own, then that's an argument for publishing it now. If it has little value except as preparation for the next paper, and that paper is already written, then it might be OK, but getting it accepted on its own may be tough. If it has little value except as preparation for a future paper that does not yet exist and might not pan out, then it will be really difficult to publish it.

  • That makes sense. I would say that the first piece is of independent interest since it solves a problem in the field. However, the problem that it solves is a limiting case that is rarely considered in practice. That being said, this limiting case forms the basis for the more complicated cases that are considered, so perhaps it is relevant... – Michael Stachowsky Jun 1 '16 at 18:30
  • 1
    Sounds like a scientific contribution. But be careful not to under-sell your case. In the paper, be as precise as you can in describing how the limited case will be helpful when dealing with more complicated cases. – lighthouse keeper Jun 1 '16 at 19:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.