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Database Publication Practices. Surajit Chaudhuri Microsoft Research. Coping with Growth. Issue: Higher submission rate We are not alone in facing this problem What are others thinking?

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Database publication practices l.jpg

Database Publication Practices

Surajit Chaudhuri

Microsoft Research


Coping with growth l.jpg
Coping with Growth

  • Issue: Higher submission rate

  • We are not alone in facing this problem

    • What are others thinking?

    • ACM SGB Task Force on the Impact ofIncreasing Conference Submissions (Chair: Alexander L. Wolf) – next 4 slides

  • My analysis and some painful suggestions


Basis of sgb task force data l.jpg

ASE (1995-2004)

DAC (1998-2004)

DATE (2001-2005)

EComm (1998-2005)

FOCS (1990-2004)

FSE (1993-2004)

GLSVLSI (2002-2005)

ICSE (1992-2005)

ICSM (1999-2004)

ISSTA (1989-2004)

Middleware (2000-2004)

MobiCom (1995-2004)

MobiHoc (2000-2004)

MobiSys (2003-2004)

PODC (1994-2004)

PODS (1993-2003)

POPL (1973-2005)

SCG (1995-2004)

SIGCOMM (1998-2004)

SODA (1990-2005)

SPAA (1995-2003)

STOC (1991-2005)

UML (1999-2004)

UAI (1992-2004)

Basis of SGB Task Force Data



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Observations/Perceptions: Stature/Workload

  • Conferences with lowering acceptance rates receiving more polished papers on narrower topics

  • Pressure to publish in top venues

    • CS argued that conferences more important than journals; now we are suffering for it

    • grad students expected to publish in top places

  • Between a rock and hard place

    • grow PC, but lose coordination

    • shrink PC, but lose quality of reviews

  • Vicious cycle

    • people agreeing to do more PCs (can’t say no)

    • people do less per PC


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Most Radical Idea

  • Rethink the role of conferences

    • reduce importance w.r.t. journals

    • reduce number and increase acceptance rates

    • conference presentations derived from “best” journal submissions (rather than vice versa)

    • make tenure evaluation based on quality of top five papers, not number of papers

  • Journals have better scale properties

    • larger reviewer pool

    • less time pressure on authors and reviewers


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My Analysis and Suggestions

(No implication for SIGMOD06)


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Request to the Steering Committees

  • Experimenting with procedural changes

    • Observe

    • Make only one significant change for a while

    • Observe

  • Avoid second-order changes that do not address the pain point


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Second Order Issues

  • Double-blind reviewing

    • Expected to impact on selection of “border-line” papers

    • Many ACM SIGs follow

      • SIGGRAPH, AAAI, SIGCOMM

  • Author Feedback

    • Good for “venting”

    • Tight timeline for reviewing makes it ineffective


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Accommodating Growth

  • Acceptance rate

    • Acceptance rate is 15%, 20% or 39%?

      • Do the math!

    • Not lower than many other large conferences

    • Mandated changes seem unreasonable

  • Diversity and Narrowing of Topics

    • AAAI: “Big Ideas”, Tech papers, Abstracts

    • Independent conferences as tracks (like WWW)

    • Reuse journals as publication

  • Program Constraints

    • Presentation decoupled from acceptance

    • Posters and Plenary (old KDD style)


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Impact on Reviewing Infrastructure

  • Choice of PC members crucial

    • Quality of Papers highly correlated with PC members

  • “Everyone is a PC member”

    • VLDB05: 610 reviewers

  • Large PC has likely to have high variability

    • VLDB05: 610 reviewers

    • But, otherwise 3-review load is too high

  • Suggestions (next 2 slides)

    • Short-cuts in reviewing process

    • Throttle the “flow” of papers


Reviewing quality load l.jpg
Reviewing Quality/Load

  • 2-level PC (but reduce dependence on external reviewers) [like AAAI, SIGGRAPH]

    • Senior PC member nominates

    • Handles 4/5 papers

    • Good training for future PC experience

  • Early Rejection

    • If a paper gets 2 “weak” rejects, it is rejected without a third review

  • General Chairs should yield more time to reviewing

    • Electronic PC requires it

    • Electronic Proceedings make it easy

  • We should learn/coordinate with broader CS community


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Throttle the flow

  • No other ACM SIG engineers pipeline

    • SIGGRAPHICS or EuroGraphics

    • Mobicom or SIGCOMM

    • Takes motivation away to make serious changes

  • Selectively “break the pipeline”

    • VLDB-> ICDE

    • SIGMOD -> VLDB (except for roll-over papers)

  • Send the right (not polite) message

    • Weak Reject” vs. “Reject”

    • Very short reviews for bottom 10% - 20%


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More Serious Issues beyond Publication Practices

  • Legacy of mid’80s – mid 90’s

    • Parallel DBMS, Query Optimization

    • Debate between deductive DB and OODB washed away!

  • Jury is still out on the last decade?

  • Today:

    • Are there too many problem statements?

      • Everyone working on “personalized” problems

      • Many “fuzzy” problems with “fuzzy” yardstick for solutions?

    • Worry: Weakening link to systems/hard engineering


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