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following different CS conferences I see the following phrase very often:

Due to many requests, the submission deadline has been extended.

Or something similar to this.

I won't overestimate if I said 80% of the conferences (I have followed) have this attitude. This brings me to the question of whether this is true or people (conference organisers) admit a lie when say this. Why does this attitude exit in CS conferences? Do other fields experience the same thing?

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Even if this were a lie, why does this bother you? –  vadim123 Feb 20 at 4:52
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Because it's unprofessional to lie. If the organizers always intended to use the later deadline, then it's manipulative to announce an earlier date. If it's an unplanned extension because the organizers are disappointed in the number of submissions, then it's misleading to suggest that the extension is because of great demand. –  Anonymous Mathematician Feb 20 at 5:30
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maybe to learn how CS conferences are organized .. –  AJed Feb 20 at 5:30
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In order for the extension to happen, you'll need more than half of the organizing committee to approve, right? That should constitute "many." –  Penguin_Knight Feb 20 at 14:33
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The last conference I submitted to sent out an e-mail five days before the deadline: Warning: the deadline will not be extended!. It seems very common for deadlines to be extended, at least in the geosciences. –  gerrit Feb 20 at 15:11

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Warning: personal opinion.

I view conferences that regularly shift submission deadlines as a little suspect. You're right that this happens in CS conferences, and it soon becomes pointless because everyone expects the extension ("Nobody expects the extension!!"). But your estimate of 80% is rather off. Almost none of the (many) conferences I submit to have deadline extensions for submission of the full paper.

And don't underestimate the level of pleading that goes on. People will always ask for an extension if they have even a smidgen of hope that the pleading will work. It's only when a conference takes a firm stand for many years that people stop asking.

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In my fields (Software Engineering, Web Engineering) 80% seems about right. Basically none of the A conferences move their deadline, and basically all of the B-or-Weaker conferences and workshops extend. –  xLeitix Feb 20 at 6:50
    
More importantly, and pertinent to the OP's concerns, do deadline extensions in any way undermine the reputation/quality/prestige/integrity of the conference itself, regardless of the reason? –  Paul Feb 20 at 6:51
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@Paul that's hard to say. It does for me personally, and also for people I speak with, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a widespread feeling. –  Suresh Feb 20 at 8:24
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@xLeitix then I'd say the OP needs to look at better venues :) –  Suresh Feb 20 at 8:24
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@Paul Arguably, yes. Deadline extensions because there weren't enough submissions are obviously bad. Deadline extensions because of many requests mean that many papers were rushed and written at the last minute, so are more likely to contain more errors. –  David Richerby Feb 20 at 10:27

Extensions are common in conferences because many people procrastinate and or otherwise just need a little more time to complete their paper, prompting a heavy demand for extensions. Unless the conference is overwhelmed by submissions (which is very rarely the case), there's usually room for a little bit of flexibility in the submission deadline.

It's not a lie... Organizers tend to anticipate it based on past experiences in previous conferences.

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It may not be a lie - there may be indeed many requests for extension. It's unfair to those who submit their papers before the first deadline. –  scaaahu Feb 20 at 6:12
    
I agree with @scaaahu. I consider late submissions unprofessional and often such submissions still have rough edges due to being rushed. I can only hope timely submissions get the benefit of the doubt over late ones when applicable. Ofcourse this depends entirely on the people handling the CfP. –  Marc Claesen Feb 20 at 9:16
    
I fear that because it is so prevelant, and everybody expects deadlines to be extended, conferences may feel that if they announce the true deadline (after which they will be too rushed for the rest of the process), they will not get enough submissions by then... –  Simon W Feb 20 at 11:26
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This is a chicken-and-egg issue though. People "expect" it because it's already happened before, and "it's been done before" because allegedly people "expect" it. The easiest way out of this cycle is to not do and make it clear that you won't do it. –  Suresh Feb 20 at 16:35
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The people who do submit their papers before the first deadline usually withdraw their paper to work on it more and resubmit, or they just enjoy their week off while everyone else scrambles. –  Irwin Feb 21 at 21:24

This is outside CS, but in my field, I've only had three conferences extend submissions, and they were all for low numbers of submissions.

  • One I know because the day a office mate and I submitted (the last official deadline day) we were abstracts 001 and 002, and we were not early morning people. This one, ironically, is probably the closest to your experience, and arguably was a CS conference, even though I'm not in CS.
  • One has a chronic problem with this, because the session they're recruiting for (its a big enough conference that there are multiple sessions each with their own abstract committees) is a lot of work without much payoff.
  • One was because the sequester made travel by federal employees in the U.S. impossible, which meant a quarter of the abstracts were suddenly gone. So the "late breaker" deadline got moved way back.

So in my experience its fairly uncommon, and either symptomatic of a larger problem with submissions, or some unforeseen circumstance.

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Usually when a conference extends a deadline it means that they don't have enough submissions, or that the ones they do have suck, and they're hoping to find a couple more good ones if they can.

If it were a case of a couple of people needing extensions, the conference organizers would just privately contact those people and allow the extension. You only publicize the extension, when there aren't enough submissions in quantity or quality.

I'm not in CS, so YMMV, but I suspect it's the same.

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