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Some conferences do maintain a percentage for the number of accepted papers to the total number of submissions.
Does this mean some good papers will be inevitably rejected just to maintain the acceptance rate? How conference chairs deal with the acceptance rate? or it is not related at all to the acceptance/rejection process.

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    Interesting question! In my field I have not heard of such limits at conferences. In most cases it seems many drop out during th eprocess so volumes end up "thinner" than expected. I look forward to see the answers to your question. – Peter Jansson Mar 17 '13 at 11:16
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    I think the total number rather than the percentage is the more common constraint. There is only so much time and space at the conference. – Rex Kerr Mar 18 '13 at 1:40
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Yes.

But it would be more accurate to say that conferences have a fixed budget of papers that they can accept, due to scheduling constraints.

At most computer science conferences, every accepted paper is presented in a 20-minute talk; for a three-day conference with no parallel sessions, this practice imposes an upper bound of about 50 accepted papers. Of course larger conferences have parallel sessions, but program committees generally do not have complete freedom to add another parallel track, partly because of space constraints at the conference venue (which is planned long before the submission deadline), and partly because major changes to the conference organization usually require input from the community.

So inevitably, if a conference attracts a large number of strong submissions, it must reject some of them. This is generally considered better than the alternative, which is that the conference must necessarily accept some bad papers.

This answer is specific to computer science.

  • What about posters? – gerrit Mar 17 '13 at 17:31
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    As theoretical computer scientist, I am required to give the following ritual answer: What's a "poster"? More seriously, poster sessions also have physical constraints. Moreover, people who publish in conferences with poster sessions are fond of reporting which of their papers were accepted for presentation, which leads others to ask what percentage of submissions were accepted for presentation, which brings us back to square one. – JeffE Mar 17 '13 at 18:59
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    Many conferences in CS have gone to poster mode, but that doesn't change the fact that space and time limitations determine the total capacity, rather than quality. – Suresh Mar 18 '13 at 20:30
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In very large number of conferences, acceptance rate is not really important since authors are paying high for getting their works published. In general, acceptance rate is used as a metric to claim/show reputation and popularity to encourage authors for more submission. I came a cross situations where authors write to the program committee to inquire if the paper is in the scope or not and they are encouraged to submit. Once submitted, they get quick rejection. By doing so, the conference is getting lower acceptance rate which is likely collecting more credits for future. The more submission, the better visibility, the less acceptance rate and higher competition for the next year. I personally believe the acceptance rate is more like a business trick to tempt researchers to submit. Because, if the conference organizers are bound to certain number of publication, they can simply - in plain language- announce the number of papers acceptable for publication rather than saying, we have only 10% acceptance rate. By putting rate, authors are encouraged to submit. If the limit exceeds, the organizer rejects the likely good works and the authors of rejected paper have an excuse that the acceptance rate was very low and nothing wrong with my paper!!! So try harder for next year and this circle goes infinite. Who wins? orgaznier ;)

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