January 17, 2005

Writing papers with other authors

January seems to be the season for research paper deadlines in the field of computing, for some reason. This January I have some papers with colleagues to write, in contrast with the single-author papers I sometimes produce. Collaborating with colleagues to write papers has certain advantages.

My writing skill for creating formal papers for journals or conferences is such that when writing on my own, I need at least ten iterations of "revise phrasing; wait at least two days before revisiting this section of writing" to transform my initial gibberish into something approaching polished explanation in English. As such, collaborating with colleagues makes writing much easier and less time-consuming. Instead of having to wait a while so that I can see my own writing with fresh eyes, my colleagues can much more easily see where my writing needs improvement, and I can provide fresh eyes for my colleagues' writing. I think overall the quality of the submitted paper is much improved.

Then again, maybe I just like the idea that when the paper-in-preparation trundles back and forth between the various collaborators, there are occasions when it is blessedly absent from my in-tray :-)


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