15

I have submitted a paper to an IEEE conference before this. I received a rejection today despite the fact that, both reviewers recommend to accept my paper.

The reason for rejection is not mentioned at all in the email. I try to analyze the reason and from my point of view:

  1. The paper is not out of the conference's scope. If my paper is out of scope, it should be rejected at the first place without sending out to be reviewed.

  2. Both reviewers recommend to accept my paper.

  3. The conference should have not received too many papers. This is because the deadline for submission has just been extended to 10 Nov. In other words, they continue to accept submission of papers at this point.

I was really surprise after I read the following email:

Dear xxx:

Unfortunately, your paper xxx for xxx has not been accepted for publication. We hope that you will find the reviews useful when revising your paper.

The reviews are below or can be found at xxx.

======= Review 1 =======

*** Originality: New or Novel contribution Strong Accept (10)

*** Technical Contribution: Technical/Scientific Contribution, also consider papers that contributes to development of applications. Accept (8)

*** Significance of Topic: Relating to knowledge contribution & conference scope (relevant to Science, Engineering & Technology) Strong Accept (10)

*** Presentation: Clarity and Organisation of Content (Includes Language & Formatting) Accept (8)

*** Recommendation: Overall view and recommendation Strong Accept (10)

*** Detailed comments: What are the major issues addressed in the paper? Do you consider them important? What are the major reasons to accept or reject the paper? Comment on the degree of novelty, creativity and technical depth in the paper.[Be brief.]

Please provide detailed comments that will be helpful to the TPC for assessing the paper, as well as feedback to the authors.

The paper was reporting an original findings by the authors based on their simulation. xxx. I reckon it is of sufficient quality for the conference.

======= Review 2 =======

*** Originality: New or Novel contribution Accept (8)

*** Technical Contribution: Technical/Scientific Contribution, also consider papers that contributes to development of applications. Accept (8)

*** Significance of Topic: Relating to knowledge contribution & conference scope (relevant to Science, Engineering & Technology) Accept (8)

*** Presentation: Clarity and Organisation of Content (Includes Language & Formatting) Accept (8)

*** Recommendation: Overall view and recommendation Accept (8)

*** Detailed comments: What are the major issues addressed in the paper? Do you consider them important? What are the major reasons to accept or reject the paper? Comment on the degree of novelty, creativity and technical depth in the paper.[Be brief.]

Please provide detailed comments that will be helpful to the TPC for assessing the paper, as well as feedback to the authors.

Good paper and well written. Easy to understand. xxx.

I replaced some of the reviewers' comments with 'xxx' because it will reveal my unpublished works. Please believe me when I say they are all positive.

Has someone been in this situation before? What is the possible reasons for rejection?

  • 14
    It might just have been that they got very many papers with Accept >= 9... – vonbrand Nov 3 '15 at 14:22
  • 4
    You could ask why it was rejected. You may or may not get a useful reply. – gerrit Nov 3 '15 at 14:26
  • 3
    I do not understand how your conference paper got rejected, before the submission deadline. Are you sure that the submission deadline has been extended? Reviews are usually starting after the submission deadline has expired. – Alexandros Nov 3 '15 at 14:58
  • 26
    You got a decision after 3 days in review? This does not sound like a "real" conference to me. – ff524 Nov 3 '15 at 16:05
  • 11
    @W.Loon doesn't mean it's any good – ff524 Nov 3 '15 at 22:06
42

This is a perfectly possible result. The reviewers' recommendations are just that: recommendations. The conference's scientific committee has the ultimate say over whether a paper is accepted, and they do not always follow reviewers' recommendations.

There may be quite legitimate reasons for a paper to be rejected despite positive reviews. For example:

  • There might be an abundance of high quality submissions on the particular topic you submitted on (even if the deadline was extended because they didn't get enough submissions in other areas).
  • There still could be a scope issue. Yes, a paper that is clearly out of scope should be rejected before it goes to review. However, if the committee felt it was at the margins of acceptable scope, they might send it to review but ultimately reject it because the reviewers' comments weren't sufficient to overcome the scope problem.
  • The conference reviewers were generous. It is hard to interpret the meaning of the reviewers' scores without seeing the distribution of all scores. It is possible that the reviewers were really "nice" and scores tended to be high for everyone. It is quite difficult for many people to give a negative decision when they know that someone else is going to see the result and be affected by it, so scores can tend toward the positive, and rejection recommendations may be rare.
  • There was some kind of rule preventing them from accepting it (This should have led to rejection before review, but it could have been missed. Of course, they also should have told you the reason if this were the case).

You are correct, however, that this is a fairly unusual decision. I think you ought to follow up and ask for clarification. It would be helpful for you to know the reason for rejection, and there is always the chance that there was some kind of clerical error, as well.

1

As ff524 says in a comment, the conference seems to be of a dubious nature, and it might be better not to want to publish there at all. Here are some of the red flags, but note that it is entirely possible for a number of excellent conferences to trigger one or more of them. It's just that all of them together suggest that some background checking is called for.

"The paper was reporting an original findings by the authors based on their simulation. xxx. I reckon it is of sufficient quality for the conference."

"was reporting" and "an original findings" reveals extremely poor English, and poor English is highly correlated with crackpot publications. "reckon" is quite informal and has not much place in a review, in my opinion.

"Good paper and well written. Easy to understand. xxx."

Like the other review, this one does not sound genuine.

The conference should have not received too many papers. This is because the deadline for submission has just been extended to 10 Nov. In other words, they continue to accept submission of papers at this point.

The best well-established CS conferences (especially the main ones rather than the smaller conferences with narrow focus) usually receive too many papers and end up rejecting even papers they deem a good fit for the conference simply because there are too many excellent submissions, and they usually do not arbitrarily extend deadline for submission just like that either.

the deadline for submission was first on 31/10. On 1/11, they extended it to 10/11. I received a decision on 3/11

As ff524 said, this implies that they reviewed your paper within 3 days. It's not impossible but just another tiny bell goes off, since there are already some ringing.

They reject your paper despite reviewers recommending acceptance but seem to be looking for more.

If you exclude the possibilities mentioned by dan1111, then this would be a warning sign.

At the very least, if you want to publish at a good conference, you had better be careful and check this one out thoroughly.

  • 4
    Good conferences usually receive too many papers and usually do not arbitrarily extend deadline for submission just like that. - That's not true in a general sense. In my field, there are plenty of good conferences that routinely extend submission deadlines. – ff524 Nov 4 '15 at 0:52
  • 2
    In the question you link to the OP says "I won't overestimate if I said 80% of the conferences (I have followed) have this attitude." The first answer is from someone in theoretical computer science, who says in his field it's not like that. There's a comment on that answer from someone in software engineering saying "80% is about right in my field." In my field, telecommunications, extensions are common. You can't really generalize across fields, which is why I said "That's not true in a general sense." (Also "top" is not the same thing as "good.") – ff524 Nov 4 '15 at 1:06
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    There are many conferences that publish excellent, high-quality work in certain areas of CS, that extend submission deadlines. (Especially smaller, more focused conferences whose scope is narrow.) So I still disagree with your statement. If you don't mean it as a general statement, you should qualify it to explain when it applies and when it doesn't. – ff524 Nov 4 '15 at 5:11
  • 1
    Even large, well-established, high-quality conferences may extend submission deadlines. Here's a recent example of one such conference in my field. Your statement is simply not accurate, so I think you should remove it. – ff524 Nov 4 '15 at 5:16
  • 3
    It is important to check whether a conference is any good, but the main things I would do for this are: ask other experts in the field, see who is speaking at the conference, see who sponsors it, and read information about it. I think it is pointless to speculate based on a very limited set of evidence. – user24098 Nov 4 '15 at 5:49

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