A few errors to avoid in research papers

Today, I will write a short blog post just to give a list of some common errors that I observed recently in some journal and conference research papers:

  • Using a reference number as the subject of a verb. For example, “[12] proposed an algorithm” should be written as “Smith et al. [12] proposed an algorithm”.
  • When there is a shorter way of writing something, it should be used. For example, “in order to” should be replaced by “to“. Another example: “this new type of algorithm is” can be replaced by “this new algorithm type is“. Similarly, “A is an extension of B” can be replaced by “A extends B“. One should write concisely.
  • The title of a paper is too long. I recommend to not have more than 10 words, and preferably less. I recently read a paper having a title with more than 20 words!
  • Using too much the word “we”. Generally, it is better to avoid using “we” as much as possible.
  • Using the words “you” or “I”. These words should never appear in a research paper.

I could say much more about this. Indeed, you can look at my other blog posts about writing research papers for more information. But my goal was just to remind you about some common errors!

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Philippe Fournier-Viger is a professor, data mining researcher and the founder of the SPMF data mining software, which includes more than 150 algorithms for pattern mining.

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