One of the features of Soccermetrics in the early days of the website has been “Paper Discussions“, in which I discuss research articles that investigate quantitative analysis problems related to soccer. Some of them were classic papers in the field, while others were recently published. There were even some researchers who went out of their way to send me their articles.
The last paper that I discussed on the site was in early 2012, and aside from some discussion of research presentations at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, I haven’t discussed research papers publicly over the last three years. I was still reading a lot, of course, but I didn’t want to telegraph to others which topics I was working on for my company. In retrospect it was a silly attitude, but a little understandable when you’re trying to figure out what makes you unique as a company.
Things have moved on, and I’ve decided to restart the Paper Discussions series starting next month. I don’t have a schedule in mind for writing such posts as the entire process of reading, understanding, and writing about a research paper is extremely time intensive. Nevertheless, I think I can write about one paper a month and maybe more than that in some months (like the Sloan conference if I spot anything of interest). My goal is to write paper reviews that are accessible to an audience that isn’t intimidated by numbers but isn’t full-on academic either, and I’m sure that I will fall short of that goal, but it’s one to which I aspire.
Papers will be drawn from my own library of publications in soccer and sports analytics (close to 200 papers), as well as new releases at conferences and symposia. I will consider papers that are sent to me, but I make no guarantees that I will review every paper that I receive. I will put a greater priority on reviewing articles that are available online, and highest priority on articles that are freely available.
My hope is that the upcoming series of Paper Discussions is as stimulating as the first.