Machine Learning (Theory)

7/9/2009

The Machine Learning Forum

Dear Fellow Machine Learners,

For the past year or so I have become increasingly frustrated with the peer review system in our field. I constantly get asked to review papers in which I have no interest. At the same time, as an action editor in JMLR, I constantly have to harass people to review papers. When I send papers to conferences and to journals I often get rejected with reviews that, at least in my mind, make no sense. Finally, I have a very hard time keeping up with the best new work, because I don’t know where to look for it…

I decided to try an do something to improve the situation. I started a new web site, which I decided to call “The machine learning forum” the URL is http://themachinelearningforum.org

The main idea behind this web site is to remove anonymity from the review process. In this site, all opinions are attributed to the actual person that expressed them. I expect that this will improve the quality of the reviews. An obvious other effect is that there will be fewer negative reviews, weak papers will tend not to get reviewed at all, but then again, is that such a bad thing?

If you have any interest in this endeavor, please register to the web site and please submit a photo of yourself. Based on the information on your web site I will decide whether to grant you “author” privileges that would allow you to write reviews and overviews. Anybody can submit pointers to publications that they would like somebody to review. Anybody can participate in the discussion forum that is a fancy message board with threads etc.

Right now the main contribution I am looking for are “overviews”.

Overviews are pages written by somebody who is an authority in some area (for example, Kamalika Chaudhuri is an authority on mixture models) in which they list the main papers in the area and five a high level description for how the papers relate. These overviews are intended to serve as an entry point for somebody that wants to learn about that subfield. Overviews *can* reference the work of the author of the overview. This is unlike reviews, in which the reviewer cannot be the author of the reviewed paper.

I hope you are interested enough to give this a try!

Comments are very welcome.

Cheers

Yoav Freund (yfreund@ucsd.edu)

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