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I have a paper accepted as an oral presentation at a conference that has an acceptance rate of 3.5 %. My field is computer vision and the conference is CVPR, the largest and most important international conference. In my field, conferences, rather than journals, are the main publication medium.

In a cover letter I am writing, I want to reinforce how prestigious it is to have such a paper accepted, especially to a non-expert audience. Now, I know that Science / Nature have acceptance rates of around 7%, so I was thinking of writing something like the following:

"I recently had a paper accepted as an oral presentation at CVPR, at an acceptance rate of 3.5 %, which is half that of the Science and Nature journals."

Does this read well? Or does it sound arrogant? And is putting this in context with Science and Nature necessary, or is the acceptance rate itself ok on its own?

Thanks!

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    My immediate reaction to this is "No. Just.... no."
    – ff524
    Aug 11 '16 at 3:38
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    I think it might be a good idea to mention the low acceptance rate, but omit the comparison to Science and Nature. Let them figure that part out themselves. Many engineers will have no idea that conferences are highly regarded in computer science, or that some conferences have low acceptance rates (I work with engineers). Aug 11 '16 at 4:34
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    For the record, the reason it would make you sound like a twit is not so much to do with arrogance, and more to do with giving the impression that in not having the Science or Nature paper that you appear to really, really want, you're having to resort to convincing yourself that your actual accomplishment is even better. That comes across not as arrogance but as insecurity, in a context in which your actual accomplishment is cool and should be providing you with sufficient reassurance that you're a good researcher. Getting a CVPR oral is cool (and difficult), it's not a consolation prize :) Aug 11 '16 at 7:06
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    No, or this is the best journal ever.
    – Davidmh
    Aug 11 '16 at 8:11
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    Notice that in general acceptance rate isn't, taken singularly, a good indicator of high/low quality; it is just the ratio between accepted papers and submitted papers. If most submissions to a journals are of very low level, that makes it a low level journal. On the other hand, if most submissions to one particular journal are very high level, that makes the journal high level too.
    – gented
    Aug 11 '16 at 12:44
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I am a CS researcher and I know the reputation of CVPR conference.

Please see the following situations:

  1. People submit to Science/Nature journals when they see that their work is highly qualitative and could give a high level of contribution to the scientific world. It is not like someone does a small thing and submits. So, if 1000 papers are submitted to journals like this and only 450 gets accepted then, the acceptance rate is far high.

  2. However, similar case as above does not happen in conferences. Anyone can submit anything, even if it is a small contribution.

Please remember, it is NOT WISE to compare conference with such journals. Journals are far better than conferences given the amount of contribution you may find in the published works.

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    Anyone can submit anything, even if it is a small contribution. -- That may be true in principle, and even in practice at CVPR, but conferences in other parts of computer science see a lot of self-selection, exactly for the reasons you ascribe to the tabloids.
    – JeffE
    Aug 12 '16 at 12:28
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    Journals are far better than conferences -- ...in many fields, but not all.
    – JeffE
    Aug 12 '16 at 12:29
  • I agree if we see the h-index of few conferences are far better than journals in the same field. yes @JeffE
    – Coder
    Aug 12 '16 at 18:24
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    It has nothing to do with h-indices. In many subfields of computer science, conferences are the primary publication venue, and journals are simply viewed as less important or not important at all.
    – JeffE
    Aug 12 '16 at 18:34
  • Yes, they are the primary publication venue because the peer-review results from journals are very slow. But, conferences provide you quick (at least not longer than journals) feedback on your work.@JeffE
    – Coder
    Aug 12 '16 at 18:36
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Taken on its own, the acceptance/rejection rate is not particularly useful as a measure of quality or "prestige" since journals often also differ by the average quality of submissions they receive. In theory, it would be entirely possible to have a journal that receives such a large volume of low-quality submissions that even with a low acceptance rate it still publishes a lot of garbage. Similarly, it is possible to have a journal that receives such high quality submissions that even with a high acceptance rate it still publishes only high-quality paper.

Of course, this does not mean that the acceptance/rejection rate is useless in conveying information. It just means that you are missing another piece of information that pairs with this metric. For this reason, I recommend you remove your comparison to Science and Nature. It is not so much that this sounds arrogant, but it shows a lack of appreciation for the fact that these latter journals tend to attract high quality papers from across many scientific fields. It is likely that these journals have a higher baseline of submission quality than a conference proceeding, which means that their higher acceptance rate may still reflect a higher quality requirement for publication.

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