Friday, April 27, 2007

EMNLP papers, tales from the trenches

EMNLP papers, tales from the trenches:I know that this comment will probably not make me many friends, but probably about half of the papers in my area were clear rejects. It seems like some sort of cascaded approach to reviewing might be worth consideration. The goal wouldn't be to reduce the workload for reviewers, but to have them concentrate their time on papers that stand a chance.

This points to a major flaw in the current "selective" conference model in computer science: the reviewing process is all or nothing, with not filtering, no iteration, and no meaningful discussion between authors and editor (no, the reply periods do not count). it's not an issue of process, but simply that there is too much to do in too short a time. In addition, the surge in reviewing demand means that program and area chairs have to scrape the bottom of the reviewing barrel just to get the job done.

The field must get serious about developing alternatives in fast turn-around journals and innovative research validation and ranking methods. If biology can do it, why can't we?

With a recently published paper in PLoS Computational Biology, I had the best reviewing experience as an author that I've ever had in thirty years of submitting papers for publication. Reviews and editor responses were detailed and very useful, allowing for effective revision and resubmission and quick publication, less than nine months from the initial submission to publication, which is not much longer than, say, ACL or NIPS, for a much better result.

1 comment:

David Gelbart said...

One interesting thing about PLoS journals is that they allow readers to post online comments on the articles. Do you know of any non-PLoS journals that do this? I'm curious as the IEEE is considering whether to add this capability, and I was involved in some email discussions regarding that.