The Gephi paper gets the ICWSM Test of Time Award

Today at the 13th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM) the “Gephi paper”, published ten years ago in the same conference, obtained the Test of Time Award.

I (Mathieu Jacomy) attended the conference and received the award on our behalf. I had the occasion to say a few words, which I share here in a slightly redacted form.

Let me fix a misunderstanding, and pay my debt by acknowledging three persons.

This paper is the “Gephi paper”. If it is still cited 10 years later, it is not because its content is decisive. It is because researchers use Gephi. The paper is a proxy. I thank these researchers, their citations matter to us. And the people who get this award, really, are the Gephi contributors.

It also matters that Gephi has been made by software engineers, not computer scientists. Mathieu Bastian, 1st author, is CTO of a startup in Berlin. Sébastien Heymann, 2nd author, is CEO of his own startup. The award goes to us, but also secretly to Eduardo Ramos Ibáñez. He is not an author of the paper, but the current lead developer of Gephi, and his invisible work has been crucial to maintaining Gephi to this date. As for me, the designer of Gephi (to make it short), after 10 years as a research engineer I finally decided myself to get a PhD, in a techno-anthropology lab, and I enjoy the irony of receiving a test of time award during that time.

I think a few things deserve to be stated on the occasion of this award. Science is not only done by researchers, of course. Research engineers also do science, although sometimes indirectly. Some designers as well. And some researchers also do engineering or design. This non-strictly-academic work is not so visible. Having a proxy paper for Gephi, and getting this award, help to make this work visible.

The reasoning of the ICWSM committee was pretty much the same, which I greatly appreciate. On behalf of the Gephi team, we sincerely thank the academic community for its outstanding support.

PS: We dedicate this award to our beloved professor, Franck Ghitalla, who passed away in December 2018. We did not left the way to knowledge he showed us.

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