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In a conference with an author rebuttal phase, I received a review from a reviewer (who gave a strong reject) asking to compare my work to a paper which is not even on the same problem as my paper. I firmly believe that this review is biased and the reviewer is either the author of the paper, which he/she is asking me to compare or was planning to putting a similar paper. Is it okay to email the chairs to look into my paper and reviews?

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    Was the lack of discussion of said paper the only stated reason for the strong reject? – lighthouse keeper Nov 12 '17 at 15:45
  • Yes, except for other reasons which do not make sense, and have already been answered in the manuscript. – silent_dev Nov 12 '17 at 15:57
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    This kind of comment is the easiest to address because you are only need to show that the reviewer was barking up the wrong tree. Just 'educate' (like explaining to a kid) why the reviewer's query is unreasonable. – Prof. Santa Claus Nov 13 '17 at 8:26
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This situation happens many times in conferences. At least, I have experienced once.

I firmly believe that these reviews are biased and the reviewer is either the author of the paper, which he/she is asking me to compare or was planning to put a similar paper.

This is a straight-forward assumption. And, I think you are misinterpreting in this aspect. Though it could be true, you are thinking too much about the rejection.

Is it okay to email the chairs to look into my paper and reviews?

Since this is rebuttal phase, this might not sound okay to email at this point. Just write the rebuttal and/or do the revision.

I feel you are too much emotionally attached to the paper and that is how you are assessing the situation. Take a break from this paper. Look at the review after few days, and think positive.

"Rejections are good times of research, in which we learn to accept the truth."

  • I totally agree that I am attached to the paper. I am the lead and I put an year into the work. If I wait till the final notification, I will miss the chance for a fair evaluation, but I am afraid of getting black-listed from the conference. – silent_dev Nov 12 '17 at 15:59
  • @user3667569 I understand your situation. Very recently, I sensed the same situation in my paper. But, why are you thinking that you would be blacklisted? – Coder Nov 12 '17 at 16:38
  • People are unpredictable and if by chance, that person is the chair or know the chair in someway, he/she can talk to the chair and convince the chair that I am unethical in someway. – silent_dev Nov 12 '17 at 17:33
  • @user3667569 There is no situation here to speak about "ethics" here. You would be just sharing your concern with your conference chair. That's it. No need to overthink on this aspect. Plus, you should worry about the relationship tree in this conference organization. Just ignore it, that is not your job. – Coder Nov 13 '17 at 4:29
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    Never accuse the reviewer of being biased. Even if you are sure it is the case, your rebuttal should be factual, neutral and to the point. Even if the reviewer is personal, you should pull it to the factual/professional level. The area chair may get the hint and ignore the review. In your specific case, you could say something like: "It appears that the reviewer may have confused my paper with another, because he is criticising X, but my paper is about Y. Thus, I am unable to respond to this reviewer's comment, but of course, I will address the other reviewers' comments." – Captain Emacs Nov 13 '17 at 9:14
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I was going to ask the same question as I just found myself in the same situation.

It was evident that the reviewers were very distracted while reading the paper and completely misinterpreted our paper. That was what prompted me to write to the program chairs. It was the first time I did for a situation such as this.

However in my case the conference didn't have a rebuttal phase. I didn't manage to get a "mistrial". However the PC offered to forward my complaints to the reviewers. At least I feel better now.

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