To join the conversation in science, you have to have something to say
Host: Md Fazlul Karim Prince; Text: Xie Jinlong ; Photo: Ahmed Mohamed Reda; Video: Xu Lei;
About the speaker:
Mr. Stephen C. McClure is a professor who provides language assistance to students, faculty, and staff at LIESMARS. His background is in human geography, political economy, and sociology, as well as art and design. His work at LIESMARS is his second career. His first career was in retail, using the principles of design, creative problem solving, and empirical analysis to increase sales.
About this English GeoScience Café session：
At 18:30, 1st Nov. 2018, Mr. Stephen C. McClure attended English GeoScience Café No.27 and gave a speech about “To join the conversation in science, you have to have something to say”. At the beginning, a prologue of the session and an introduction about the speaker was gave by the host. Then Mr. Stephen C. McClure started his talk. He said that figuring out what they are going to write about and why causing the writers' biggest problem. He then explained his point of view from five aspects as follows:
Keeping the balance
Knowing the value of a paper
Learn from the life experiences and community
Science answers questions
Innovation and Creativity
1.Keeping the balance
Fig.1. Professor Stephen C. McClure is giving the Talk of EGSC Session.27
Mr. Stephen C. McClure said, “Scientific writing has mainly two different components that it has to be related in some way to real world problem that interests a wide range of people, as the same time has to deal with theory.”
If you submit a paper that just deals with concrete problems, in which you do not develop a new technique or apply old techniques in a new area, then you get a technical paper. You will not be able to get this type of paper published in a scientific journal, even if it is significant and valuable.
On the other hand, if you write something truly abstract, the audience would be so small that what you write could be published in a journal with impact factor 0.0 - 00001 and the audience would be only ten people in the world who are very interested in your problem. It would not have much significance in everyday life, as it is not relevant to burning real world questions. Most papers published are not cited because they do not get enough attention as they make little theoretical or a practical contribution to either the domain or to pressing practical problems.
Fig.2. Keep balance between abstract and concrete
Mr. Stephen C. McClure also mentioned the balance between qualitative and quantitative. A research could be a qualitative event or a quantitative event. The qualitative research which some people do is actually where the theory get generated and is basically descriptive. Most qualitative research will not get published. So we should stay away from it. Mostly, qualitative research is the foundation of the quantitative research like people doing with Artificial Neural Networks.
2. Knowing the value of a paper
According to Mr. Stephen C. McClure, papers value is depend on whether some people cite or argument on it. Publishing the paper is just the first step, a minimum standard. What really matters is that someone read your work and they cite it in their works. So everything boils down to you have to have something new, different, and interesting to say to a wide number of people.
3.Learn from the life experiences and community.
Mr. Stephen C. McClure said it was his second career working at LIESMARS and never dealt with doing science paper in his first career. But in his opinion, his two career are very interconnective. He said “The two domains are quite interconnected, however, because in the design field, like science, you are expected to be creative and come up with new ideas and are expected to learn to develop creative processes to generate new ideas easily and quickly. In design, you separate the creative process from the evaluation processes, to generate new solutions to old problems and define new problems and new solutions. This is exactly what you have to do when you are a scientist doing research and publishing your work to a career for yourself.”
Also, Mr. Stephen C. McClure believed that we should not forget the power of community. “The university is a collection of the people working and talking, different people from different majors will give you new perspectives on whatever you are looking at. You cannot dismiss these conversations, as each piece of information adds to the richness of your understanding and might help you generate you new ideas for the research.” he explained.
4.Science answers questions
Mr. Stephen C. McClure said, “Science is also a specific kind of method grounded in materialism.” A scientific attitude is skeptical of truth claims and seeks truth from facts. The fact that a claim appears in a science journal does not mean the claim is true. You have to look for what is wrong with the existing research, what they did, and what kind of data was used in research, a reader must draw their own conclusions about the results.
A scientific question must be framed in theory. When you read papers, look for the problem; science answers questions, how a question is framed determines the set of possible solutions. A question defines a problem and the problem defines the answer. You have to frame what you write in theory to make your work relevant to more people.
5.Innovation and Creativity
Fig.3. Professor Stephen C. McClure is answering students’ questions
When talked about innovation and creativity, Mr. Stephen C. McClure said science also has fashions. Authors must try to pinpoint hot new areas so they can be the first person to write a paper about it; authors cannot be looking backwards, but forward into the unknown.
In the end, Mr. Stephen C. McClure answered questions from students.
Q: What would be the scenario if you are the first one to create a paper? According to you, for writing a scientific paper you have to get data or get citation better.
A: First, you have to ask yourself if anybody is interested in the topic. If people are interested, then you can write a paper. If you are the first, then you have to show how your work fills a gap. Everybody wants to publish a paper, but you must have support in the existing literature.
Q: What do you think about the review paper?
A: I will recommend to do review paper because it increases your understanding of the literature and arguments in your domain. Most research papers get rejected, but even so, you will end up with a deep understanding. If you get your paper published, you must have something new say about the literature.
Fig.4. Students are asking Professor Stephen C. McClure questions