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 These several days, I have been very busy reviewing papers and writing my own.  It was  more of the overwhelming list of To Dos for me, as I feel that I am constantly under severe time pressure.

 I reviewed a dozen papers (each 30-50 pages in English) and some 30 (each 10 pages with slides half English, half Japanese) in the past week or so.  It took considerable time and energy on my part as I know they represent the output  generated from a lot of work and I want to review them carefully.

  Reviewing the papers reminded me of the key ingredients for the good papers–i.e. clear message that is unique and the story that leads to it with well supported facts, examples etc.  When reviewing so many papers, whether it has clear message which jumps at you as unique makes a big difference.  When I have to dig and guess main conclusion of the paper, it becomes overwhelming  task.  When you are reading papers (instead of writing them), you realize how important it is  to have clear conclusion.

  When you find the paper easy to read and follow the storyline, you enjoy reading it a lot whether you agree with the author’s conclusion or not.  You quickly capture his/her message and the logic behind it.

  Some papers have room for improvement. Some papers  apply various frameworks and models, but they stop there.  Frameworks need to be applied when they are helpful for you to think through and reach your conclusion.  But there are some papers that just list frameworks and do not draw conclusions from the analysis using the framework.

  Another type of paper I often find is the one that tells us the activities that the author(s) have done.  What readers are interested in is NOT what the author(s) have done, but what they find from the activities.  I sometimes find this type of paper, no matter how often I tell people that we are interested in conclusion and not the activity.

  It is all easy to say, but hard to do when you are the one that is writing. I find many good lessons when I review papers.  Though it is nerve wrecking when you are  buried with papers to review and papers to write, it may not be such a bad idea as there seems to be synergy between reviewing and writing.  Lessons learned!

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