An elegant proof marred by an unfortunate haircut

One year ago, Vijay Vazirani proposed to add videos to conference submissions. Apparently Elsevier’s Journal of Number Theory is going to implement a similar process, except that videos will be sent only after the review process. (This is a crucial difference, and I favor this more conservative approach.)

2 thoughts on “An elegant proof marred by an unfortunate haircut

  1. If the goal of the proof-by-video is to aid the review process, then what point is there for submitting the video after the reviews are already complete? If one worries about the attractiveness of the author potentially impacting the reviewers’ neutrality, then why not just restrict the videos to be voice-overs (with the actual video being a couple of powerpoint slides or a demo if there is code involved). This actually makes a lot more sense than a video of a guy up in front of a whiteboard, since anything written would probably not come out very clearly in a low-resolution video. It’s probably easier to produce, too, especially for camera-shy individuals.

    Overall, I think it is a good idea, and if one put the video deadline a day or two after the paper deadline I think that would allow enough time for its production.

    (I have no idea if any of this is redundant with the comments on Vijay’s post… there’s 84 of them and I can’t be bothered to read all of them!)

  2. This is really the big difference between Vijay’s proposal and the JNT system. It would be a fairly radical move to allow videos as part of the submission as an aid to reviewers. Indeed even not having double-blind reviews remains controversial.

    But having a video as an archival part of the final paper seems an unqualified good thing, for the reasons explained in the linked post. It is of course a terrible idea to have Elsevier own the copyright to the videos. It would be great if, instead, the arxiv added a functionality to upload a video (and Cornell pledged to maintain the videos in perpetuity.) Having the videos on youtube wouldn’t work in the long run, because nobody knows if Google will be around 100 years from now.

    Indeed a great thing that Google could do with some of its money is to endow an independent foundation with the goal of preserving in perpetuity useful public-domain material. Then it would be fine if the videos were maintained by such a foundation.

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