Open Science and Massive MIMO

Open science is just science done right” is a quote from Prof. Jon Tennant in a recent podcast. He is referring to the movement away from the conventionally closed science community where you need to pay to gain access to research results and everyone treats data and simulation code as confidential. Since many funding agencies are requiring open access publishing and open data nowadays, we are definitely moving in the open science direction. But different research fields are at different positions on the scale between fully open and entirely closed science. The machine learning community has embraced open science to a large extent, maybe because the research requires common data sets. When the Nature Machine Intelligence journal was founded, more 3000 researchers signed a petition against its closed access and author fees and promised to not publish in that journal. However, research fields that for decades have been dominated by a few high-impact journals (such as Nature) have not reached as far.

IEEE is the main publisher of Massive MIMO research and has, fortunately, been quite liberal in terms of allowing for parallel publishing. At the time of writing this blog post, the IEEE policy is that an author is allowed to upload the accepted version of their paper on the personal website, the author’s employer’s website, and on arXiv.org. It is more questionable if it is allowed to upload papers in other popular repositories such as ResearchGate – can the ResearchGate profile pages count as personal websites?

It is we as researchers that need to take the steps towards open science. The publishers will only help us under the constraint that they can sustain their profits. For example, IEEE Access was created to have an open access alternative to the traditional IEEE journals, but its quality is no better than non-IEEE journals that have offered open access for a long time. I have published several papers in IEEE Access and although I’m sure that these papers are of good quality, I’ve been quite embarrassed by the poor review processes.

Personally, I try to make all my papers available on arXiv.org and also publish simulation code and data on my GitHub whenever I can, in an effort to support research reproducibility. My reasons for doing this are explained in the following video:

4 thoughts on “Open Science and Massive MIMO”

  1. I am so pleased and inspired by your efforts of open science. Indeed reproducibility of research papers has been a long lasting pain, and I have seen movements in other fields like biotech where they use jupyter notebooks as their publishing framework where latex, equation figures and code are all embedded in one place. You read and run code as you go. I am curious what do you think of publishing in such interactive form such as jupyter notebooks instead of PDF and separate code as a form of publishing? Thank you again for all your great work and I truly love your style of spreading knowledge through blogs, high quality papers and talks. Hats off.

    1. Thank you!

      Since fewer and fewer conference proceedings and journals are actually printed, I think it is natural that we change papers from be static documents to something more interactive. We should certainly utilize the possibility that fully digital publication enables, which could include interactive simulations where the reader can change parameter values and how the results are plotted. I think Jupyter notebooks are excellent, but I haven’t thought about if it is the best format for papers or not. One good feature with Jupyter notebooks is that it is an open format – we should avoid getting locked into new proprietary paper formats…

  2. Although open science boosts research progress but it also compromises the financial motivation on publishing (electronic/printed) and validating research results. Institutes like IEEE, Cambridge university press, Prentice Hall, Wiley, Springer and etc, are trusted because they can financially afford gathering the best staff in different fields from different universities and institutes to validate research results. If this financial afford is compromised then their reputation and reliability is compromised as well which I am afraid results in chaos in research and science.

    1. Most journals rely on the free labour from editors and reviewers. If a journal has a high reputation, then researchers want to associate with them as reviewers and editors. It is viewed as part of their academic work duties. As far as I know, the only people who get paid are the staff that fine-tunes the layout of papers before publication and people take care of printing and electronic storage of papers. This is what we are paying for and, of course, we somehow need to pay for these tasks, but I don’t think we need the “best staff” for these tasks.

      If we take IEEE as an example, it is supposedly a non-profit organization. I’m sure it could reorganize itself to reduce the spending on staff that take care of layout and IEEEXplore without reducing the quality or reputation of their journals. We just need to convince the leadership of the IEEE that this is in the best interest of the members.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *