Talk:Author Responses (Rebuttals)

From Health of Conferences Committee

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Starting Comments

The idea is to allow authors to provide the program committee a (short) response addressing reviewer concerns.

Author responses, where authors participate during the review process by responding to direct questions from reviewers, have been used for several years in many conferences (SIGARCH, SIGCHI, SIGPLAN). SIGARCH feels these are very important, since the ISCA acceptance ratio is less than that of many journals. SIGCHI highly recommends this mechanism, as it avoids the compounding of small misunderstandings, authors feel they had a chance to make their case, and it pressures reviewers to be on time. SIGPLAN has started author response in recent years, with generally very positive reactions. The major kink in the system seems to be that authors want responses to their responses, and there is not time in the reviewing process to accommodate this request.

Not everyone is convinced that author rebuttals are worthwhile. SIGMOD feels that they seem to be of limited value, but that it's too early to draw definitive conclusions. In SIGKDD, ICML uses rebuttals but is not sure how useful they are. SIGCOMM tried rebuttals one time at SIGCOMM about 5-6 years ago, and felt it wasn't worth the substantial time and energy it required from the PC and the authors. The SIGMOBILE chair feels that rebuttals do not work well at all. As an author it doesn't affect the end result, and allowing time for rebuttals also lengthens the whole review process, requiring papers to be submitted longer before the conference.


Yes. I think the author rebuttals are very important, since the ISCA acceptance ratio is less than that of many journals. ...


No organized rebuttal process.


Rebuttals have been used at SIGGRAPH since 2003. Reviews are made available to authors before the papers committee meets. Authors are given the chance to correct factual errors or misinterpretations in the reviews. In some cases this has likely led to a different outcome.(Note that there is an error in the survey, where it says that SIGGRAPH does not reconsider decisions based on rebuttals.) In general, authors have been happy to have some recourse when they get reviews that they consider inaccurate or uninformed. The details of the process are still being tweaked: major issues include having a limit on the length of a rebuttal, and inclusion of new material not in the original paper in a rebuttal.
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Rebuttals Helpful

I fould rebuttals helpful. They serve as a hard pre-PC-meeting deadline for both external reviewers and PC members. They make authors feel better. They ocasionally make a difference in the PC's decision. I recommend keeping them short (e.g., 200 words) to reduce both author and PC burden.

--Mark Hill