|Planetary gears meshing STEP / IGES Rendering By Miloš Barbir|
Most of the academic papers I've looked at have been horrible. Filled with references and name dropping, they are almost impossible to read. And most of them presume an elevated level of familiarity with the jargon. It's like they don't want anyone to read it, much less understand it. But maybe that's just my bad luck. I have seen papers that were well written and I could understand, but they are few and far between.
I hired a guy to clean the gutters on my house yesterday. Near as I can tell, he climbs up on the roof and walks around with a leaf blower and blows all the crap out and away. If falls in the yard of course. Then he walks around the yard and blows it all into . . . where? Oblivion? It all seems to be gone in any case. I didn't watch too close because the back of the house is three stories high and I didn't want to distract him by having a heart attack from watching him walking around up there.
He charged a pretty penny, but then he works for a service, and they get a cut. He's okay with that because they keep him supplied with customers. No surprise there. Seems like every line of work is like that. For every person who is doing the actual work, you need another person to manage the business: talking to clients, advertising, billing and booking.
Getting back to academia, I'm thinking a lot of researchers could use a person to take care of the business, i.e. a writer to write the papers. Preferably someone who knows how to write. They try to teach writing in high school and college, but until you spend some time writing you won't be any good at it. And if you're a gearhead like me, you won't spend any more time on in than necessary. Words are stupid, gears are cool. But not many people understand that, so I've been reduced to writing about gears. Serves me right, I suppose.
In order to have a partnership between people who do the work and people who provide the interface to the rest of the world, you need to have a certain level of trust and cooperation. And that can be hard to find, which explains why things continue to bump and grind along instead of running smoothly, like they would if everyone would just be a gear.