I have submitted a paper to a conference with a rebuttal phase. I have received the first round of reviews, and should be writing an answer which addresses issues raised by the reviewers.

I have received two very positive evaluations, with one accept and one weak accept. The third review however was -2 (reject).

The reviewer that rejected the paper did so under the argument that the paper defined a nice problem, but "without interest for the community of the conference". He also tried to shift the focus of the paper from the main result to a very auxiliary result by treating the auxiliary result as if it were the main.

1) Would it be worth to send an email to the conference chairs asking for a fourth review?

2) What would be the likelihood that the chairs would do that?

3) In case the fourth review is positive, would it have the potential to be taken into consideration when accepting/rejecting the paper?

  • First, reviewers do not reject papers, editors do. Second, since you made it through the first round of reviews, it seems the editors view the paper as potentially suitable.
    – Kimball
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 1:54
  • As a practical matter, the schedule for the reviewing process may simply not allow time for additional reviews of this sort. This schedule pressure is one of the negative aspects of submitting a paper to a conference rather than a journal. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 2:00
  • 1
    In your rebuttal, make it clear why the negative review is wrong. The large discrepancy between the reviewers' rankings would, in any conference where I've been on the program committee, result in a discussion between the reviewers (and probably the program chair), where your rebuttal is taken into account. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


I don't think it's worth it. I've seen conference program committees accept papers with such scores many times. I think if you address this reviewer's concerns, perhaps offering some changes in the introductory parts to reemphasize the main result, you've got a better chance of acceptance than if you ask for special treatment.

  • 2
    The time and risk of an additional review are undesirable. Better to convince the editor to accept using the reviews you have. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 1:51

If needed, the PC will assign a 4th reviewer.

I've had this happen a couple times. If the reviews are borderline, there's a big discrepancy, or a reviewer gave a low quality review, you may get another reviewer. You just won't have the opportunity to provide a rebuttal.

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