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IMU on Citation Statistics

A report from the International Mathematical Union on the use and misuse of citation statistics. Highly relevant with the proposed move toward citations counts as a basis for the new Research Evaluation Framework (REF, the successor to the Research Assessment Exercise, or RAE).
  • Relying on statistics is not more accurate when the statistics are improperly used. Indeed, statistics can mislead when they are misapplied or misunderstood. Much of modern bibliometrics seems to rely on experience and intuition about the interpretation and validity of citation statistics.
  • While numbers appear to be "objective", their objectivity can be illusory. The meaning of a citation can be even more subjective than peer review. Because this subjectivity is less obvious for citations, those who use citation data are less likely to understand their limitations.
  • The sole reliance on citation data provides at best an incomplete and often shallow understanding of research—an understanding that is valid only when reinforced by other judgments. Numbers are not inherently superior to sound judgments.



An off-by-one error heard round the world

At the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, during the invocation Dr. Rick Warren stated 'Now, today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time.' But of course, it was the 43rd.



JfJfP and SJJP

Today I became a signatory of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Scottish Jews for a Just Peace. I should have done this years ago, but given the events of the past week I could not put it off any longer. If not now, when?



Well-typed programs can't be blamed

Philip Wadler and Robert Bruce Findler, ESOP 2009, LNCS to appear.

We introduce the blame calculus, which adds the notion of blame from Findler and Felleisen's contracts to a system similar to Siek and Taha's gradual types and Flanagan's hybrid types. We characterise where positive and negative blame can arise by decomposing the usual notion of subtype into positive and negative subtyping, and show that these recombine to yield naive subtyping. Naive typing has previously appeared in type systems that are unsound, but we believe this is the first time naive subtyping has played a role in establishing type soundness.

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