Frequently Asked Questions
Volunteering for the Papers Program
I've been doing graphics for years. May I be on the Papers Committee?
The Papers Chair selects the committee. I'll be selecting with several goals in mind, including: coverage of areas in which I anticipate submissions, getting some "old hands" who have been on the committee before, bringing some new folks into the process, recruiting people who will work well together and treat papers with respect and enthusiasm, and getting representation from diverse communities. If you'd like to participate, send email to the Papers Chair and tell me about yourself and your areas of expertise.
I've volunteered to be on the committee for three years now, and I've never been chosen. What's up with that?
It may be that others are better qualified, that we already have committee members with expertise in your area, that the chairs do not feel that you've been in the field long enough to be an effective committee member, or any number of other reasons. The committee composition does change from year to year, though. Please keep offering your services.
Just what sort of workload is involved in being on the Papers Committee?
You must review about 20 papers. For about 10 papers, you must find two additional reviewers, and for the other 10 you must find one additional reviewer. You must attend a Papers Committee meeting on 25-28 March 2004. During this time, you'll discuss papers, possibly be called on to provide additional reviews of a couple of papers, and be expected to listen carefully to a lot of discussion that has little to do with you. You may also be asked to act as a referee for a paper that's been conditionally accepted or conditionally accepted with minor changes, to verify that the final version meets the requirements set for it. Finally, you may be asked to chair a papers session at SIGGRAPH 2004.
What do I get for all the work that I'll be doing as a committee member?
In material terms, you get free registration for SIGGRAPH 2004. You also receive the recognition of your colleagues, the gratitude of authors, and the sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you've given something back to the organization that helps disseminate research in graphics.
Can I submit after the deadline?
No. The deadline is absolute.
But I had a major life event (birth, death, divorce ...) just two days ago!
The deadline is absolute. You may, of course, submit the work in its current form by the deadline, even if it's not the paper that you'd like it to be.
But my fancy color printer stopped working at 4 pm, and the FedEx deadline is looming!
The deadline is absolute. Equipment failures are common, and SIGGRAPH 2004 cannot adapt its schedule to accommodate them.
I decided to use the electronic submission option, but I was unable to upload my submission on time. The system was overloaded!
The deadline is absolute. You should allow enough lead time to avoid this kind of problem.
I submitted a paper and six copies of a video. Unfortunately, in our rush to meet the deadline, we incorrectly set our gamma during taping, so we sent a fairly poor-quality video. I have since corrected the problem. May I substitute new videos for the ones I submitted? The video is identical, except for the gamma correction.
No. The submission deadline is absolute. All materials must be submitted by the deadline.
I'm using the SIGGRAPH 2004 English Review Service, and they didn't get back to me soon enough, so it's SIGGRAPH's fault that my paper isn't ready. Can I submit late?
The deadline is absolute. The English review service makes no guarantees about turnaround, and it's up to you to make contingency plans.
I'm not in the US, and US Customs often holds up submissions, so I have to send it off two weeks earlier than US researchers would. Can I send it by the deadline instead, and you'll receive it about two weeks late, after US Customs has had a chance to process it?
The deadline is absolute. If your paper must pass through various hurdles to get here, you must plan in advance how to submit it early enough to ensure arrival on time. Note: in a recent year, there were over 400 submissions, and only six or eight were returned for late arrival. Some of those were from the US.
I would like to submit my paper to conference X or journal Y as well as to SIGGRAPH 2004.
You must submit to just SIGGRAPH 2004 and await our response before submitting elsewhere (should your work not be accepted by SIGGRAPH 2004). If you submit your paper to another conference or journal simultaneously, we will reject your paper without review. We'll be in contact with the editors of several graphics journals, and chairs of other graphics-related conferences, swapping information. We usually find four or five double submissions each year.
But I want my paper to be in SIGGRAPH 2004. I promise that if it's accepted by SIGGRAPH 2004, I'll withdraw it from the other conference or journal.
We appreciate your eagerness to have your paper published by SIGGRAPH 2004. There is only one route to having this happen (see the previous paragraph).
Where can I find a list of the Computing Reviews categories? Also, are we restricted to using keywords specified on the web site?
See ACM's Computing Classification System, which includes a "how to classify" document that should answer all your questions.
How do I include a reference to myself without identifying myself?
The general rule is to use the third person, so that if Fred Brooks were to write a paper, he might say in his "related work" section: "Brooks et al.  discuss a system in which molecular visualizations are ... Our work builds on some of the ideas presented there, and on the ideas of Smith et al.  and the interaction techniques described by Wolford ." He would NOT say: "The authors, in prior work , discussed a system in which molecular visualization ... " The only case in which anonymous references are appropriate are unpublished manuscripts, in which case he might write: "The authors have also developed closely related techniques for molecular manipulation , but that work is outside the scope of this paper." Reference 15 would then read:  Anonymous Authors. Molecular manipulations through computer graphics, submitted to CACM.
I have a problem with the video material I need to submit. My work involves manipulation of video, which has already been captured in PAL format. I can use a conversion service to go to NTSC, but this will negatively affect the quality of the video material. Would it be OK to submit the video as a Quicktime MPEG-4 movie on a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, instead of as a VHS tape?
The Submission Procedure Checklist says pages should be numbered, but the document preparation instructions say that page numbers should not be included. Which is correct?
You should number the pages. For the final version, if your paper is accepted, we'll ask that you not number the pages, but please number them for the submission. The sample documents in Document Preparation for Conference Proceedings all include page numbering.
I know I am supposed to remove my name, company name, etc. from the document, but should I also remove names from the acknowledgments? If the paper is accepted, should I send another copy to you with this additional material?
You should not include an "acknowledgments" section in the submission. If your paper is accepted, you will submit a revised version that identifies you and your co-authors, your affiliations, and any acknowledgments that are appropriate.
I am thinking about submitting a paper to SIGGRAPH 2004, and I'm uncertain about the requirements. Specifically: "Your paper cannot have been previously published in an equivalent or similar form. A paper is considered published if it has appeared in a peer-reviewed journal or in published meeting proceedings that are commercially available afterward to non-attendees, regardless of the language of that publication." Does this include abstract-reviewed published meeting proceedings (for example, SPIE proceedings)? Does your restriction apply to papers accepted for journal publication?
If the meeting proceedings are published in a form that is commercially available afterwards to non-attendees (as in the case of SPIE proceedings) then it is not appropriate to submit a paper that has been so published to SIGGRAPH 2004. If your work has been accepted for journal publication (or even submitted), it is not appropriate for submission to SIGGRAPH 2004.
We've submitted a paper about a pilot study to conference X, and now we'd like to submit a paper about the full-blown user study to SIGGRAPH 2004. How should we go about that to avoid the perception that it is a dual submission?
Cite the submitted paper in your SIGGRAPH 2004 submission with a note to the reviewers that either it will be accepted by conference X, or you will publish it as a tech report and make it freely available on the web. Send in an anonymous version with your SIGGRAPH 2004 submission. Then when you write the SIGGRAPH 2004 paper, treat the pilot study as already published. Don't repeat text or figures from that paper in the SIGGRAPH 2004 version.
I sent in a paper to workshop X with the understanding that it was for review purposes only and the workshop would have no published proceedings. Now, four months later, they tell me that they're going to publish the proceedings and include it in the digital library. Unfortunately there is significant overlap between that paper and my submitted SIGGRAPH 2004 paper. How should I handle this?
We realize that you didn't intend to do anything against the SIGGRAPH rules, but now that the workshop rules have changed, you should either withdraw the workshop paper from the proceedings or withdraw your SIGGRAPH 2004 submission.
Could you tell me how I can "Print the online ID number (from the Papers Submission & Authorization Form) on each page" in a LaTeX file?
See Document Preparation for Conference Proceedings for information on how to do this in LaTeX and Microsoft Word, and how to use these programs to produce properly formatted documents overall.
I would like to use the electronic-submission option, but the details in my imagery are very subtle: I am concerned that the reviewers will not print my paper on a suitable printer or view my video with an appropriate codec.
Then you should use the physical-submission process and send hard copy.
May I include black-and-white images in the submission, knowing that in case my work gets accepted they are required to be in color? (My color printer is broken.)
Yes. But the reviewers will have to make a guess at what your color pictures will look like, and that may reduce your paper's chances for selection.
Are papers merely published in print, or is there a presentation as well?
There is a presentation; the length of the presentation will generally be related to the length of the paper.
Does the video submitted by 21 January have to be final quality? Or will people whose papers are accepted have the opportunity to prepare a more polished video?
You'll have the opportunity to prepare a more polished video. Of course, the better the submitted video looks, the more likely reviewers will be able to see the strength of your work, so early polishing is a good investment of time and energy.
Where can I get the ACM Copyright Form on the web? I need to show it to my employers before I submit.
ACM Copyright Form
My paper was just accepted to SIGGRAPH 2004, and I'm thrilled. But now my boss points out that I can't use Mickey Mouse as the example in my paper because I don't have the rights to use him. What do I do now?
The Call for Papers explicitly stated that you MUST have permissions for all the images in your paper and the footage on your videotape, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM at the time of submission. You should immediately tell the Papers Chair what you propose to use as a replacement. If the new images or footage are not substantively similar to that submitted for review in the judgment of the Chair and the Papers Advisory Board, then acceptance of your paper will be rescinded. The archival record (proceedings and DVD-ROM) must contain material that is equivalent to what the reviewers saw at the time of review.
Do we have to prepare the paper in the final format?
Yes, please do so. Seeing a paper in final format lets us verify the page count and allows us to compare it to other papers.
How do I decide whether to submit my work as a paper, a sketch, or a poster?
There's no cut-and-dried answer. Some works may well be
acceptable as either a paper or a sketch; others as either a sketch
or a poster. But in general, the three programs represent different
levels of maturity and impact of work, and they provide different
forms of disseminating the work. So they are reviewed based on
different criteria. Papers contain the most highly
polished works of broadest interest and impact to the field, and
they are formal, peer-reviewed publications. Sketches can present
smaller results, works in progress, specialized applications, and
topical behind-the-scenes experiences. They are conference
talks rather than formal publications. Posters are appropriate for
last-minute results and new projects that are just starting out,
and they provide a forum for personal interaction rather than
presentation to an audience.
I presented an initial version of my work as a sketch at SIGGRAPH 2003; the abstract was printed in the SIGGRAPH 2003 Conference Select CD-ROM and Full Conference DVD-ROM. Does that mean I can't submit it as a paper?
No, a SIGGRAPH sketch does not count as a prior publication. Neither does a demo in Emerging Technologies at the annual SIGGRAPH conference, or a poster in a SIGGRAPH Posters session. Of course, if the work was submitted as a paper last year and rejected, but you were advised to submit it as a sketch, it probably won't get accepted this year unless you've made substantial progress since last year. If you have, however, you're welcome to submit a paper describing the work and the new progress. Caution: Do not submit the same abstract you submitted for your sketch, since that has been "published" before.
At SIGGRAPH 2003, I presented my work on topic X. Since then, I've done some more work on topic X. How much new stuff do I need to have done to get the paper into SIGGRAPH 2004?
It's very hard to quantify the amount of additional work that might be necessary. The committee has frequently responded negatively to incremental work, especially, for example, in the case of an eight-page paper where only two pages really present anything new. If you've written about the subject before, the new paper should tell what's new. As a simple guide, there should be no paragraphs in your submission that appear in any other paper you've published, and no images of that sort either, except in cases where you want to show how much the work has improved.
My company has a great new product that is of general interest to the SIGGRAPH community. I'd like to submit the product announcement as a paper.
Please don't. It will be rejected. Product announcements do not meet the established norms for academic publication.
We've independently developed an algorithm that produces results a great deal like those produced by the fur plug-in to Maya. Of course, Alias won't tell us the details of how their plug-in works. How do we best handle this piece of related work?
You are responsible for comparing your research results to all published work (including tech reports, theses, and patents). For commercial algorithms that are unpublished, you are responsible for comparing your work to existing techniques as a black box. For example, show how your algorithm produces better results when the animal has a really dense coat. Or show how the input specification for your algorithm is far simpler than that for the existing algorithm because your algorithm has a particularly intuitive UI.
Patents and Confidentiality
What about patents and confidentiality? Are the two senior reviewers and the three tertiary reviewers under a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the contents of the paper to others? Some organizations like IEEE have all reviewers sign a confidentiality agreement. It's very important that I know for sure, since my employer may want to apply for a patent, and it affects when I may submit the paper to the SIGGRAPH conference. Can I, for example, get a written guarantee of confidentiality?
Reviewers are asked to keep confidential all materials sent to them for review, but they do not sign a confidentiality agreement. In general, there is wide respect for the confidentiality of submissions, but we cannot promise anything, or provide a written guarantee.
It would not be wise for SIGGRAPH to give you legal counsel on the matter of patents and publication; we urge you to seek independent legal advice. The main issue is that in different jurisdictions (such as Europe) prior public disclosure could invalidate a patent application. The situation is different in North America, where you have one year after public disclosure (for example, publication) to file a patent. It is a common practice for authors to prepare a patent filing coincidentally with their SIGGRAPH publication.
Review Process, Communications
I am submitting a paper on topic X, which I know is an area of expertise for committee member Y. Can I ask that Y be the senior reviewer of my paper?
I am submitting a paper on topic X, which I know is an area of expertise for committee member Y. Can I ask that Y not be the senior reviewer of my paper, because Y works for a competing company?
No. Indeed, Y may well be the best qualified reviewer for your work, and if so, we may ask Y to be the senior reviewer.
Am I allowed to ask for my paper to not be reviewed by someone from whom I do not expect a fair review?
No. The reviewer selection process includes no such provisions. Surprisingly often during the committee meeting there is discussion such as: "This paper got scores of 5, 4, 5, 4.5, and 2, but let me explain the score of 2. The reviewer picked at small details, was angry that his own work had not been properly cited (although when I looked at it, it appeared to have been treated more than fairly), and then wrote a very cursory review of the main contribution of the paper. It seems as if there's something going on here that doesn't have to do with the quality of the paper and we should discount this score as an outlyer."
Hey, I know your REAL email address. Can I use that?
No. Here's why: material sent to the Papers Committee alias will go not only to me, but also to others involved in the Papers process. Things sent directly to me will be bounced to the Papers Committee list anyhow and will just make my job harder.
Isn't the committee more likely to accept papers by committee members and other insiders? How do you prevent a conflict of interest?
Any paper on which a committee member has a conflict of interest will not be discussed while that committee member is in the room. While each committee member has a list of papers and the committee members who reviewed them, these lists are customized so that the names of the members who reviewed papers on which I have a conflict of interest will not be shown on my list. In general, the acceptance rate for papers by committee members has been slightly higher than the acceptance rate for those in the overall submission pool. But the acceptance rate for these same people has also been higher in years when they were not on the committee; they're invited to be on the committee, in part, because of their expertise in the field.
With respect to related (unpublished, but submitted) papers, the SIGGRAPH 2004 Papers Call for Participation suggests strongly that we should send one copy of each such paper for the senior reviewers, and we should reference (cite) them anonymously in our submission. Is it permissible to include additional (anonymous) copies for the benefit of the reviewers, or is there some other way in which we can make copies available to reviewers who so desire (presumably without destroying the anonymity of the process)?
These are (at least) two separate issues. The first has to do with determining whether a work submitted elsewhere is sufficiently different from the work submitted to SIGGRAPH 2004. The other is whether or not one work is essential to understanding the other. If your work is in the latter situation, you are welcome to submit six copies of the related work, but clearly indicate that this is the case so that we don't mistake that work as a SIGGRAPH 2004 submission.
Reviewer #4 clearly didn't read my paper carefully enough. Either that or this reviewer doesn't know anything about the field! How should I respond during the rebuttal period?
We've all received SIGGRAPH reviews that made us mad, particularly on first reading. The rebuttal period is short and doesn't allow for the cooling-off period that authors have before they write a response to a journal review. As a result, authors need to be particularly careful to address only factual errors or reviewer questions in the rebuttals rather than letting their emotions show through.
Please don't say: "If reviewer #4 had just taken the time to read my paper carefully, she would have realized that our algorithm was rotation invariant."
Instead say: "Unfortunately, Section #4 must not have been as clear as we had hoped because Reviewer #4 didn't understand that our algorithm was rotation invariant and he was therefore skeptical about the general applicability of our approach. Here is a revised version of the second paragraph in Section 4, which should clear up this confusion."
Now that I've read the reviews of my paper, I see much better how to organize it so it will be clear to the reader. Can I do this reorganization and upload the new version during the rebuttal period?
No. The rebuttal period is for addressing factual errors in the reviews, not for getting revised text into the review process. The committee members will have only a short time in which to read and act on your rebuttal, and it must be short and to the point.
Between January 21st and late March, we've gotten some really cool new results for our paper. Can I upload those results during the rebuttal period? I'm sure that they will make the reviewers realize the importance of our approach.
No. The rebuttal period is for addressing factual errors in the reviews, not for getting new results into the review process.
Reviewer #2 says that our collision-detection algorithm won't work on concave objects. But it will, as we just demonstrated with the lid of the teapot. Can we upload a movie showing this new result?
Yes, but the new results MUST directly address a reviewer's comment. Time is very precious at this stage in the review process, and you must keep your rebuttal short, or the committee members will not have time to read it.
Getting a Paper Accepted
What follows is not "official" SIGGRAPH policy, but rather the idiosyncratic impressions of former Papers Chairs, based on many years of service on the Papers Committee.
Is it important to submit a video with my paper?
There is a very strong correlation between submitting a video and getting accepted. An animation paper without a video is almost certain to be rejected.
Why are good papers rejected?
Check out the article by Jim Kajiya, the Papers Chair for SIGGRAPH 1993, for many excellent reasons. Although some of the
details are dated, the general wisdom is timeless!