Andy Pols Geek, Entrepreneur

Reviewing Conference Papers

Its been a busy couple of weeks for me as experience reports chair of ADC. We had 31 papers to review.

An interesting point for me, and worth blogging (Tim Mackinnon suggested I blog it) for anyone interested in submitting papers to future conferences, is how we decided on the final papers.

We tried to be as agile as we could (difficult as most reviewers live in different time zones). So we:

  • Only asked for an initial abstract to whet our appetite. There is no point wasting people's energy writing a full paper if they are going to be rejected.
  • Interviewed each submission in person, or on the phone so we could ask questions and explore the submission in more detail.
  • Paired on the reviews.
  • Had a conference call to tell each other what we liked and disliked.

The key aspect for me was using the Identify The Champion pattern for deciding on which papers to accept. This says someone has to advocate the paper for it to be accepted. To advocate, you have to be willing to shepherd the submission and make it happen. So when people said "we quite like this one, ...", I would say are you willing to advocate it? Most times the answer was no. It really helps focus the reviews and keeps the quality of the papers hight.

The end result is we have 16 really interesting papers.  Hope to see you at ADC!

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