Monday, March 2, 2009

Paper reviewing and accepting/rejecting

We will be looking for Shepherd, and accepting and rejecting papers for EuroPLoP in the next few days so I wanted to write a few words about how we got to this point.

In the last 10 days we have been reviewing all the submissions to EuroPLoP 2009. When I say we I mean: the Conference Chair and myself, the Programme Chair, plus the conference programme committee and two specialists on the applying patterns track.

Each reviewer marked a selection of papers on a scale of 1 to 5 – 1 being strong reject and 5 being strong accept. Most reviewers looked at about 8 papers. We then looked at the average scores.

Papers below 2 were rejected immediately.

Papers above 3 we will be accepted for Shepherding.

The papers in the 2 to 3 range were more difficult. So we asked for some extra reviews. Some papers improved their score and some went down.

We have now decided to accept these papers, however, the authors will be told that there is a possibility their paper will be directed to the writing group. If they feel they cannot accept this condition they should withdraw their paper.

Acceptances and rejections will be going out soon. These are not acceptances into the conferences these are acceptances into Shepherding. During Shepherding we expect papers to improve in quality – that’s why we’re prepared to accept papers which have what might seem like low scores into the process.

In the next few days I will start allocating shepherds to the papers. During shepherding the author and shepherd work together to improve the paper. Authors need to submit a revised copy by 20 April and are expected to keep working keep on working on the paper with the shepherd.

After 20 April the we’ll review papers again and papers which are still scoring low may be rejected at this stage. Papers which score low may still have potential, these papers will be accepted into the writing group.

The writing group is an additional round of Shepherding that occurs at the conference itself. It differs from the first round because it happens face to face. Authors get two or three sessions with their Shepherd and they get time to work on their papers. If the papers are good enough by Friday evening they are accepted into the workshops on Saturday.

Shepherding, Writing Group and Workshops all aim to improve the paper. Workshops are not presentations, they are not reviews, they are directed discussions.

We’ve added one more condition to paper acceptance at EuroPLoP this year. This is a hard-nosed administration/financial decision.

Authors of accepted papers are expected to book their attendance by 24 May. Believe it or not this helps use keep the costs down.

Hillside Europe and the conference organisers (Chairs and PC) aim to keep the price of EuroPLoP low so we don’t make a profit and we try to trim and excess spending.

Once or twice in the past, papers have been accepted from authors who then don’t attend the conference. We understand when something happens, a personal emergency or such, and we try to refund their money if we can – but no guarantee. But when an author doesn’t book a place, and we hold a room for them it costs us money.

So this year we are asking authors to book early.

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