discussing the maybes
We’ve determined the clear accepts and the clear rejects, and are going through the thirty or so maybes. Everyone read a few extra papers last night and this morning and after lunch today, so each paper is fairly represented, in addition to the reviewers’ reports (most papers have three or four reviewers reports) and we’re going through them one by one. Some of the papers are so technical that I can’t really understand them, but what’s interesting is that the technical papers I can understand are the ones that everyone else also agrees are good papers. There are a lot of different ways of making technical papers hard to read. The most common is that the authors don’t actually explain what their system does. One thing I like about the Hypertext conferences is the mixture of humanities and literary papers, too, and there are some good humanities and literary papers this year.
Most common reasons for rejection:
- Doesn’t answer stated research questions.
- The paper’s not about what it says it’s about.
- Doesn’t reference important related research
- A key term (like “narrative” or “adaptive”) is used in an unestablished or naÔve or unusual way without any discussion.
- Unclear contribution, not clear what they’ve done that’s new
- Premature, they haven’t finished the project yet.
- Not about hypertext at all.
- Already published elsewhere.
Everyone’s rather tired, I think. We’ve been reading and discussing for hours and hours. But there aren’t many papers left, and we’ve done a good job, I think. About 30% of the papers will be accepted, and some of them are really interesting. Actually they’re probably all interesting, but I mean really interesting to me, of course. There’s short papers too. They’re not due for another few weeks.
4 thoughts on “discussing the maybes”
Is Maturity a formal criterion of the conference, or is it a strategy that you are using to cope with the volume of submissions?
None of these are formal criteria exactly, they’re my interpretations of what everyone was saying. And you’ll notice I wrote “Premature, they haven’t finished the project yet” – it’s not about age (is that what you were suggesting?) but about trying to publish before you have any results or are much past posing the research question.
Or did I misunderstand your question?
Not at all (I meant mature as finished not age), it’s that not all the conferences I end up going to have the obvious luxury of being able to select only original, finished research papers, or indeed those which actually deliver what the abstract tempts you with. Grass being greener over there and all that.
Talking about projects-in-progress is obviously a healthy way to steer the end product “here’s a prototype, whaddya think?”, but maybe big conferences are not the place to do it. Your second definition (“trying to publish … “) sounds more like “hasn’t really started”!
The ACM Hypertext Conferent is fairly unusual in being very selective. Its Proceedings serve the role
that, in other fields, it played by journals: paper submissions should describe substantial, original research
or integrative reviews.
Not uncommonly, the program committee will see ways that a paper is currently inconclusive, where
conclusive evidence should be obtainable in the near future. For example, if a paper describes a novel
system which the system is too new for the authors to say much about how well it works or where its
weaknesses might lie, then waiting a year makes good sense. “Premature” is short-hand for “not quite finished”.