Those who have experience in setting in conference program committees: can a paper with all "weak reject" reviews get accepted for publication at the end?

  • 3
    If they don't have enough papers, then yes. This is more typical of some workshops. Good conferences mostly have much more papers submitted than time slots for talks. This is what defines the acceptance rate and why it is an important metric. Jan 12, 2018 at 19:54
  • In case you refer to a proceeding it would be better no to publish. Better go through what caused the weak rejection. I add this because in my field submitters are never aware of the referee procedure for their work to get a slot as talk or poster. This is just after conference, for the corresponding proceeding manuscript.
    – Alchimista
    Jan 13, 2018 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


If nobody wants to accept the paper, it shouldn't get accepted. This holds even for workshops and symposia with very loose standards, as the reviewers should be making their judgements based on those standards (e.g., "this paper is pretty half-baked and poorly written, but we're just looking for interesting ideas to discuss, so it's a weak accept").

Thus, the answer ought to be no, it cannot be accepted (except in certain unusual cases, such as the organizers deciding there is a hidden nugget with value enough for shepherding to improve the paper).

A struggling, eccentric, or fraudulent organization, however might just not care, and accept it anyway. If you have this happen to a paper of yours, you may wish to reconsider whether you really want to publish it in that venue.

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