IEEE Software blog – a case study in getting it wrong

In the first version of this, I got it wrong! It is possible to leave comments but the comment button did not show up on my browser. The post has been amended.

I’ve written here before that, as a loyal reader for 30 years, how I think IEEE Software magazine has lost its way. I made the point that it seemed to be impossible to leave comments on articles so was delighted to see a tweet announcing the arrival of the IEEE Software blog.

The aim, as stated is to publicise research to practitioners:

“At the end of the day, we want practitioners to be able to easily access and apply the latest research advancements…”

This is all very well but, with 30-odd years as a researcher who has always worked with practitioners, the problem is not simply that practitioners don’t access research. There are two other issues that are at least as important:

  1. The best practice in industry is, in my view,  far beyond what’s going on the research labs and practitioners have no idea about that.
  2. A very high proportion of researchers simply do not understand good industrial practice and this is one reason why a great deal of software engineering research has no practical impact.

We need a lot more articles about leading edge industry work as well as research. We need blog posts from practitioners as well as researchers (only one of the contributors was from industry and he was from an industrial research lab).

It’s also a pity that there isn’t a more even gender balance amongst the contributors. I know this is hard to do but unless leaders like IEEE Software set an example, things will not change.

So, as well as communicating academic research to industry, IEEE Software should also be about communicating best practice and to informing researchers about the realities of good practice.

A blog for IEEE Software is something that’s definitely a step forward but its instantiation has a long way to go.

On seeing the blog, I naturally thought that leaving a comment there was the way to communicate with the blog editor. But there seemed to be no way to comment and in the first version of this post, I criticised this. However,  it seems this is a browser incompatibility as the comment facility is actually there and showed up on other browsers.  My advice would be not to use WordPress rather than Blogger as there are fewer of these incompatibilities.

Apologies for the misrepresentation. I have made the substantive points here as a comment.



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