The Second Lives of Rejected Papers
This is a set of questions to poke
some gentle fun at SIGCOMM and other network research
conferences, and to make some serious observations
in the process:
Acknowledging the imperfections of the paper review process;
Commiserating with the frustration of receiving reviews that don't fully
recognize the merits of one's own work; and
Most importantly, underscoring that
papers rejected by conferences (SIGCOMM in particular, since that is the
conference that I am most familiar with) can go on to have
perfectly valuable and productive lives.
In that spirit, I are asking the question below.
[Note that I am asking
this question as someone who has played all sides of the SIGCOMM
Not only have I had papers rejected by SIGCOMM, but I have had papers
accepted as well. I have been on the SIGCOMM Program Committee many times,
and have been a SIGCOMM Program Co-Chair, and a SIGCOMM Vice-Chair, and
am current chair of the SIGCOMM Technical Advisory Committee responsible
for giving advice on matters such as SIGCOMM procedures. I have spent a
fair amount of time trying to maintain and improve the quality
of the SIGCOMM reviewing process.]
(1) If you have ever had a paper of yours rejected by a
what was your favorite paper of yours that was rejected, so far?
Sally Floyd: The
1997 draft of the following paper, submitted to SIGCOMM 97.:
Floyd, S., and Fall, K.,
Promoting the Use of End-to-End Congestion Control in the Internet,
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, August 1999.
Communications Society William R. Bennett Prize Paper Award for 1999.
- I know there are plenty of other people who have had favorite
papers of theirs rejected...
(2) Did the reviews, in your view, lead you to improve the paper?
(3) What was your least favourite paper of yours that was accepted by
the same conference, so far?
Thought question for reviewers and program committee members:
(4) What is the conference submission that, in retrospect, you most
regret having given a negative review? a positive review?
Papers on the fallibility of human judgement and built-in biases in the peer review process:
Note: the two PDF articles above are rotated 90 degrees, so to read them
without printing them out, you might have to convert them to postscript
Juan Miguel Campanario,
Have Referees Rejected Some of the Most-Cited Papers of All Times?,
Journal of the American Society for Information Sciences, 47 (4), 1996,
"The peer review system has been frequently criticized. According to
its critics, peer review system tends to `favour unadventurous nibblings
at the margin of truth rather than quantum leaps', it may delay publication,
it cannot always avoid duplicate or fraudulent publication, it is
sometimes biased to positive results, it is set up in such a way
that particular criteria can interfere with selection, and it often
allows excellent manuscripts to be criticized by referees with
vested interests or contrary views."
- Juan Miguel Campanario,
Consolation for the Scientist: Sometimes It is Hard to Publish
Papers that are Later Highly Cited,
Social Studies of Science, 23 (2), 1993, pp. 342-362.
[ Sally Floyd].
Last modified: April 2002