We have received reviews for a paper we submitted to a top tier CS related conference, which holds a rebuttal phase. The ratings we got are:

  • strong accept (expert)
  • weak accept (knowledgeable)
  • weak reject (expert)
  • strong reject (knowledgeable)

which covers the whole spectrum of ratings for this conference. There aren't any major technical comments, and reviews are mainly about the reviewer's taste of the model.

Does it happen often? Is there a way to present this scattering as a possible strength of the paper (being controversial)? Should we address this fact in the rebuttal process? Any tips for the rebuttal concerning this issue?

  • It happened to me, I once got 1-2-3-4 as review scores (1 to 5). It was eventually rejected after a rebuttal. Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 13:55
  • @TheWanderer Sorry to hear that. Any tips for the rebuttal? Actually my case is (1,2,4,5) in your scales
    – Omer
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 13:57
  • What do the expert and knowledgeable stand for?
    – user68958
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 17:15
  • 2
    @corey979 Probably the level of confidence and familiarity with the topic of the reviewer that gave the mentioned score
    – PsySp
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 17:34
  • @Omer I would focus on the points raised by the meta-reviewer Associate Chair / primary reviewer, if your conference has such a type of reviewer. They usually take the final decision, and in case of a tie, their opinion will be the one that matters. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


This happened to me twice. I think the rebuttal is only necessary for the rejections (1 + 2), or the weak accept? the strong accept requires no rebuttal. It's hard when there's no extensive comments. But when I did my rebuttal, I just targeted my response by reviewers (as in, I wrote separate rebuttals for each, and labeled them as such). If there's not enough comments to go on, can you write to the conference organizer asking them to solicit a bit more info? once I received a blank comment page, but as it turns out the reviewer made a PDF of his/her comments and it failed to attach. Not saying this is your case, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

  • 3
    While it is probably fine to address only the rejections, it may be beneficial to use the positive comments of the positive reviews to highlight the strength of the paper.
    – Matteo
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 17:02
  • @Matteo oh yes, thanks for pointing that out. although I would do it in a more diplomatic way (i.e. not pitch one reviewer's comment against another, or use that as the only reason in the rebuttal)
    – PandaPants
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 17:06

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