Early in my research for the book, I noticed that the practice of academic publishing in the field of search seemed to have tapered off after the late 1990s. I speculated that this was due to the privatization of the field – companies were starting to jealously guard what they discovered because there was money to be made. I worried about this on my site, and even started a project to prove the trend that I had only noticed anecdotally. But I am not an academic, and like so many streets my research went down, this one turned into a dead end.
But a faithful reader remembered my earlier posts, and provided me an interesting datapoint from a recent search related conference – the ACM Fifteenth Conference on Information and Knowledge Management. Turns out, of all the papers submitted at this conference (conferences tend to be where most academic papers are presented), ten came from Microsoft Research, ten from Yahoo (one in concert with Micrsoft), and none came from Google.
The site only lists the papers and authors, so my trusty reader source (who wishes to remain anonymous) did the legwork matching authors to companies. ACM has the final say on what papers get accepted, but I doubt they’d bong papers from Google (though Larry and Sergey’s paper on PageRank was denied at first by a conference in the mid 1990s!).
Submitted as a datapoint and not an indictment, but it is interesting nonetheless. I’ve shot Google an email to ask if they submit papers elsewhere, though the ACM tends to be the place you see most of the interesting search research….I’ve also asked Gary to chime in, as he really watches this space closely…
Update: From Google PR (and a few readers in comments too!):
Here are some Google-specific papers for reference:
And here is a more comprehensive list:
Giving back to the research community is extremely important to us and we make a lot of research public by publishing papers. On the more comprehensive list I count 63 papers from Googlers in 2006, alone;-)