A Paper In A Tweet
Written by Mike James   
Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tiny Transactions on Computer Science sounds like a crazy idea - a complete academic paper in 140 characters! But is it? It might just be on to a really good idea.

The information deluge, or whatever simile you want to use, is a problem and these days we tend to want information in tiny, bite sized chunks - hence the rise of the Tweet and the SMS.

The problem with academic papers is that they tend to be long and all to often they end up with the tl:dr (too long:didn't read) label.

 

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The idea of Tiny Transactions on Computer Science (TinyToCS) is that you have to write a paper in 140 characters so that it could be Tweeted.  Volume 1 is out and it consists of 49 papers on a range of topics and all of the papers fit into 140 characters. For example:

  • Simplified Harvest Moon is NP-Complete
    There exists a trivial bijection from all instances of BKP to all instances of Simplified Harvest Moon (SHM). Therefore, SHM is NP-complete.
    Steven Braeger University of Central Florida

It's all there in 140 characters - not including the title and the
attribution.

Now we come to the get-out clause - the abstracts are not limited to any number of characters.  What this means in practice is that the balance of a typical paper is turned upside down. The abstract is invariably longer than the body of the paper - 198 words  (1160 characters) in the case of the example given above. But the whole paper is still brief compared to the average.

As the comments on Volume 1 say:

We hope that TinyToCS Volume 1 contributes to a growing discussion about publishing in the modern era. Admittedly, the traditional peer review model we employed 3 to 5 reviews per paper chosen to ensure high quality is at odds with our goals of providing timely publication and broad impact. However, we plan to evolve our format in the future to better address both concerns of research dissemination and scholarly certification. Volume 1 is just the beginning, and, with the momentum we have gained here and the support of the broader community, we can continue to innovate together.

If you have a breakthrough discovery that can be put into 140 characters then submit it to the next volume as soon as possible.

 

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Of course the perfect paper for Tiny ToCS is "P=NP" but we might have to wait for that one, and the abstract might be longer than usual. 

More Information

Tiny Transactions on Computer Science

TinyToCS - Twitter Page

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