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I had a paper ready for journal publication, but decided to break it into 2 conference papers and submitted them to a conference.

Now, one of them is accepted but the other one is rejected! The thing is, the 2 papers are related and I think they should be published together. The paper which is rejected, had 3 reviewers. One accepted it, one weak-accepted and the other one rejected it. The two who accepted it, marked it as innovative, highly useful and relevant. (All 3 reviewers mentioned they are highly confident on being able to judge my paper)

Now, can I write to the conference and tell them to review the paper or argue with them that the paper could be accepted based on points made by the two reviewers?

PS: I had to break them into two papers because of the page limit. Furthermore, it makes more sense for them to be published together since they are parts of a single framework. However, this doesn't mean that one cannot be published without the other; as I mentioned, I believe publishing them together just makes more sense. Moreover, I was very confident that both will be accepted!

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    If this was an unacceptable outcome, it seems that the paper should not have been split into two. It's too late for this advice to help you, but it may help others. – David Ketcheson Jun 29 at 6:57
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    You have nothing to "negotiate" with. You can argue, I suppose, and probably fail. – Buffy Jun 29 at 10:17
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    @DavidKetcheson I had to break them into two papers because of the page limit. Also, it makes more sense for them to be published together since they are parts of a single framework. But this doesn't mean that one cannot be published without the other; as I mentioned, I believe publishing them together just makes more sense. Also, I was very confident that both will be accepted! – RFNO Jun 29 at 10:51
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    @Rup in the typical conference workflow, there's no such thing as "change and resubmit", there's only "change and resubmit elsewhere" - by the time you receive a rejection, the list of accepted papers is final. You may resubmit an improved paper to the next iteration of that conference (usually, next year) or to some other conference. – Peteris Jun 29 at 15:24
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    I don't know what your field is, but in computer science, you can submit an extended version of a conference paper to a journal. Maybe you can send both parts together to the journal, where the second part would be the extension. – Jihadi Jun 30 at 3:41
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Now, can I write to the conference and tell them to review the paper or argue with them that the paper could be accepted based on points made by the two reviewers?

You can try, but what do you have to tell them that they do not already know? They have already read the reviews, thought about them and reached a decision. Unless you can think of a compelling argument that invalidates or rebuts the criticism of the unfavorable review, your chances of success are essentially zero.

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    OK, thank you! So, I will try to base my argument on the reviewer comments. They have actually listed their comments under a (minor concern/correction) title and comments are mostly regarding clarity, referencing and moving a section of the paper under another section. Also, not citing a specific paper! – RFNO Jun 29 at 4:00
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    @RFNO if they rejected without suggesting substantial changes, that presumably means their reason for rejecting is just that the paper isn't strong enough for this venue, and the minor changes they have suggested are merely a courtesy to you in case you want to submit it somewhere else. – Especially Lime Jun 29 at 15:15
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    re: "what do you have to tell them that they do not already know?", it's just about possible, depending on the size of the conference, that the two papers were assigned to different editors and/or the decisions were mostly reached by thresholding reviewer scores, in which case "one part of my two-part paper got accepted and the other got rejected" could be new information to the organisers. Some conference management software can make it very hard to keep track of that kind of thing. There's nothing to be lost from mentioning it, at any rate. – Nathaniel Jun 30 at 7:05
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In my field, that would almost certainly not work. If anything, it will send the signal to the program chairs that you're very inexperienced with how the conference process works.

Conferences have a certain timeframe for reviewing, followed by a discussion period and a decision about each paper. It's practically unheard of that a paper that was rejected in this stage still got accepted due to some authors appealing.

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(CS perspective / I was conference chair and program committee chair several times):

You made your choice and now you have to live with it. You have until submission of the final version to make sure that the paper is readable and self-contained. Since the accepted paper was reviewed independently from your other submission, that should be quite possible. You might disagree, but the reviewers thought it could live on its own.

You can publish your other paper on a preview server or as a technical report at your university / department / personal web-page. Pre-publishing it there should not hurt its chances of being accepted elsewhere. This way, you can cite and refer to it.

You can either submit the other half to a different conference or you can work both of them together and submit to a journal. This is standard practice in CS.

If you were to try to negotiate with me, I would be quite annoyed, though of course trying to be polite.

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Honestly, you shouldn't be splitting a research paper into two and trying to submit as two publications, unless there is a page limit or something. You even are admitting that it doesn't make sense to publish one of these without the other.

I would say you're better off asking them to combine the two papers back into a single paper to publish. But doing this risks making you look bad, as it is admitting that they shouldn't have been split up in the first place. An alternative is to add to the second paper to make it strong enough to stand on its own and submit it to a different conference as a follow up.

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    Different research fields have different publication preferences. The fact that the one paper got accepted is evidence that the splitting made sense in OP's field. – lighthouse keeper Jun 29 at 6:24
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    I had to break them into two papers because of the page limit. Also, it makes more sense for them to be published together since they are parts of a single framework. But this doesn't mean that one cannot be published without the other; as I mentioned, I believe it just makes more sense. – RFNO Jun 29 at 10:47
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    @lighthousekeeper I would argue that the fact that the second paper got rejected suggests that splitting it up did not entirely make sense. With a page limit, there was no choice but to remove some things from the first paper, but the things that were removed were possibly not enough to make a compelling second paper. I think it makes more sense to strengthen the second paper and resubmit elsewhere, rather than try to argue against the rejection. – Morgan Rodgers Jun 29 at 19:18
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    @MorganRodgers If it was a good conference, having any paper accepted there is a good thing, so it made sense. It might even be possible to include the other paper again to submit an extended journal version of the accepted paper (a standard practice in CS).. – lighthouse keeper Jun 29 at 20:05
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    @MorganRodgers: In areas of CS I’m involved with, many conferences have strict numerical limits and are quite competitive. So a conference rejection doesn’t necessarily mean the second paper wasn’t compelling or publishable in itself; it just means there were other better submissions. And at the same time, conferences have strict page limits, so such splitting can be unavoidable. – PLL Jun 29 at 21:50
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You state the large publication was split into two smaller ones because of a page limit. Possibly, to meet these constraints, you reorganized the presentation of the work such the second one builds upon the one accepted which you then cite. Thus it need not be a case of «salami research».

In mathematics and natural sciences, it happens that the first publication describes only one aspect, and under subsequent work this is extended and generalized. For example, Einstein's published on special relativity in 1905, and continued till 1915 to publish then about general relativity. In your case, you possibly have the results of both the particular case, and the more general application already in hand, and could submit it elsewhere. It may be even easier to publish the two in different venues than back-to-back in the very same issue of the journal (this is rather an exception).

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The outcome: Some members kindly gave me good comments in reply to my question. Actually, I used some of them in preparing my email to the conference committee. Here, I'll mention what the process was and what happened for those who find themselves in a similar situation:

I have contacted the conference with the reasons I had in support of my paper, and argued that my paper had the required qualities to be accepted. However, they respectfully denied it almost immediately! :)

So, to sum it up and for clarification purposes for others that might one day need to do the same thing: It does not seem that there is anything wrong with contacting the conference committee to argue that your paper deserved to be accepted. However, there is a little chance of changing the conference judgement even despite having sufficient reasons.

PS: Something I learnt during this process, is to always ask direct and accurate questions without going into unnecessary details. In this question, I first talked about my journal paper,and I shouldn't have done It! Since the majority of comments were in regard and around reasons for why I should or shouldn't have broken one paper into two papers and that was not my question! I had already made my decision and divided the paper into two and I believe I had good reasons for that! As a result, not only I got many unrelated comments and answers, but also someone changed the topic of my question to something that I do not agree with, but since I didn't have enough points, I couldn't discard their changes! Now, how funny is that? :))

Thanks everyone and good luck with your publications!

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