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Recently, I submitted a paper for an IEEE conference. A week after the notification deadline, I hadn't heard anything from the committee yet, so I emailed the Technical Program Chair directly. They told me that 80% of authors have been notified, and the rest must wait longer.

I'm unsure how that is possible since the quota for accepted papers is limited, and the committee should make all decisions simultaneously. Is their acceptance rate higher for the 20% of authors who haven't received notifications?

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    “I'm not sure how is that possible, since the quota for accepted paper is limited and the committee should make all decisions at once?” At least internally, the committee probably doesn’t make all the decisions at once. In my experience it’s typical that a conference with (say) 100 submissions for 30 slots might quickly agree on 20 submissions as clear accepts and 60 more as quick rejects, and then take a lot longer to discuss the 20 borderline cases for the last 10 slots. Of course, the conference should still have all cases decided by the promised notification date.
    – PLL
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 17:37
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    @PLL That should be an answer. Please post it as one. Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 18:01
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    I've seen such things happen when the papers are split among multiple sub-committees for different topics/tracks; it may be that most of the committees have done their assessments on time, but one is not for some reason e.g. unavailability of a key member.
    – Peteris
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 2:00

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Regarding the chances for your paper, this is neither a good or bad sign. The program committee is probably still busy with making the decisions on some remaining papers, which means that both rejection and acceptance are absolutely possible - there is no indication as to which outcome is more likely.

But, exceeding the notification date by one week is unprofessional and, therefore, a poor sign for the quality of the conference. Some authors might have plans to submit the paper somewhere else, which they cannot do without the notification. Please note that being an "IEEE conference" is not a quality indicator these days, but a way for IEEE to make money.

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