UbiComp 2013 Social Media ChairThis is the last part of an interview with one of the UbiComp 2013 Program Chairs – Marc Langheinrich – regarding the newly opened submission site. After going over how to properly indicate one’s preferred reviewer expertise in part 1, and how to indicate one’s interest in doing a multi-presentation format in part 2, we talk about another new item on the submission form – the “Note to Reviewers” – today.

When I looked at the “Optional Supporting Files” section on the submission form, I also noticed something called the “Note to Reviewers”. Is this part of the multi-format presentations as well?

UbiComp 2013 PC Co-ChairNo, this is a completely separate thing, but due to the form restrictions we bundled this up with the supporting files. But both are optional, so in a sense the “Note to Reviewers” is also an “Optional Supporting File” if you want.

 

Then what is it in support of?

UbiComp 2013 PC Co-ChairThe motivation behind the “Note to Reviewers” is the following: As reviewers ourselves, many of us have probably been in the situation where we get a submission for review that we have seen before submitted to another conference venue. It went through the review process there and didn’t quite make it into the program. Having taken our previous feedback into account, the authors have revised their work and now submit an improved version. But it is really hard for a reviewer then to understand what changes the authors made to their work – one has to go through one’s old email, dig out old review system passwords, re-logon and verify one’s previous review (and maybe those of the other reviewers), and finally do a manual comparison of the old submission and the new one.

In such a situation, it is very easy for a reviewer to miss some crucial changes that the authors made, or misinterpret the omission of a suggested change as ignoring some valuable advice, even though the authors intensively discussed this change and consciously decided against it. The “Note to Reviewers” is meant to prevent such misunderstandings by giving the authors the chance to point out the revisions to their new submission compared to a previously rejected submission.

So it is like a rebuttal before the review even started?

UbiComp 2013 PC Co-Chair(Laughs) Yes, one could say that! And maybe similar to a rebuttal, this note should not be too long. While we do not enforce a page limit, the idea is not to have a highly detailed change-log, like you would submit for a major revision to a journal. It really is only meant as a clarification, and as such can be as short or as long as the authors think necessary. We also do not have a prescribed format – you can upload a simple text file or a PDF.

 

What if I submit a revised paper but do not upload such a note?

UbiComp 2013 PC Co-ChairAs with all other optional material, submissions will not be penalized for not having such a note. The submission will be reviewed “as is”, based on the information available to the reviewer at review time.

 

 

The submission form says that such a note is encouraged for submissions that have been previously reject at a “major conference” and then goes on to give some examples. What if the conference that my paper was rejected at is not on the list?

UbiComp 2013 PC Co-ChairThe list is simply an example – authors should use their own judgment to decide when it makes sense to submit this note. In general, this “Note to Reviewers” is meant as a help to authors, not as an additional hurdle. It really is a small record of the work you put into this submission, based on previous feedback from the community. If your previous submission was outside the community, or only at a small local workshop, there is less benefit in submitting such a note.

Thanks for the clarifications. What if people have additional questions, who should they contact?

UbiComp 2013 PC Co-ChairAs usual, feel free to send a quick email to pc-chairs2013@ubicomp.org – we will try to send you a timely reply. Alternatively, I encourage you to post your question to one of our social media channels, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, so that others can benefit from your question as well!

 

Great advice – I will make sure to link to each of our channels when posting this on our blog. Many thanks for the interview!

UbiComp 2013 Social Media ChairOK everybody – enough procrastination, now back to work on our UbiComp submissions! 🙂