The Papers Committee and a set of external reviewers, both consisting of recognized experts, will review submitted papers. Then, at their meeting (28-30 March 2008), the committee will select those papers to be presented at SIGGRAPH 2008 and published in a special issue of ACM Transactions on Graphics.
Although the SIGGRAPH review process is recognized as being one of the fairest and most thorough in computer science, its reviewers are human, so bias and noise during the review process are a constant threat. In an effort to minimize these effects, several changes were made last year to the review process, including creation of a new layer of senior reviewers: the Area Coordinators. In a concurrent effort to increase the transparency of the review process, we publish the names of everybody involved in the process and a description of how they were chosen.
Who is the Committee?
The Papers Committee consists of (1) the Papers Chair, who was chosen by the SIGGRAPH 2008 Conference Chair and approved by the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee and its Conference Advisory Group; (2) the Papers Advisory Board, consisting of the SIGGRAPH 2008 Papers Chair and two other people chosen by the Papers Chair; (3) a new Board of Area Coordinators, chosen by (1) and (2) and consisting of two experts in each of four major topic areas (geometry, animation, rendering, and imaging); and (4) the rest of the committee, chosen by (1), (2), and (3), and consisting of about 50 people whose expertise spans the entire field.
Tom Funkhouser (SIGGRAPH 2009 Papers Chair)
The Rest of the Committee
In publishing this list, we are trusting the community not to abuse this knowledge. For example, if one week before the submission deadline you send your manuscript to a Papers Committee member with whom you are not already collaborating on that research, in hopes of getting useful advice or of circumventing author anonymity, you may cause that committee member to declare a conflict on your paper, you may annoy the person, and you may develop a reputation for lobbying -- none of which will help your paper get accepted by SIGGRAPH 2008. We also discourage authors from giving colloquia in the last weeks before the submission deadline to Papers Committee members with whom they are not already collaborating.
In general, although search engines make it a simple matter to find email addresses for these people, we ask that you do not contact them directly about the review process. Instead, please use the SIGGRAPH 2008 Papers Email Contact Form, which sends messages to the Papers Chair, the Papers Advisory Board, and selected administrators of the papers review process.
Phases of the Review Process
The Papers Committee will categorize papers using a six-phase process:
1. The weekend following the submission deadline, the Papers Chair, Advisory Board, and Board of Area Coordinators convene to sort the papers. During this meeting, they assign papers to two senior reviewers, who are members of the Papers Committee. In addition to helping with the sort, members of the Advisory Board and Area Coordinators may themselves serve as senior reviewers for a few papers. The Papers Chair does not review papers. Papers that are inappropriate may be rejected during this assignment process, without being sent to any senior reviewers. Papers will normally be rejected at this stage only if they are clearly off-topic for SIGGRAPH, or if they are discovered to have been published previously or to have been submitted simultaneously to another conference or journal. For more details, see Prior Art and Public Disclosure and the Double Submissions section of Frequently Asked Questions.
2. The two assigned senior reviewers may, upon conferring with each other and the Papers Chair, recommend a paper to be rejected without additional review. A paper will normally be rejected at this stage only if it falls into one of the categories listed in phase one, but this fact was not detected during the papers sort. It is possible, although unlikely, that a paper may also be rejected at this stage if it solves a problem that is known to be already solved; or if it is unaware of important prior work on the same problem and doesn't address how it is different; or if it has no evaluation via proof, experiment, or analysis; or if it is solving a problem sufficiently minor that the senior reviewers do not believe that it belongs in the program.
3. Each paper is distributed to three or more additional experts. Two of them are selected by the primary senior reviewer of that paper, and the third is selected by the secondary senior reviewer. The primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewers all write full reviews. (A copy of the review form can be found here and reviewer instructions here.) Thus, at least five reviews are written for each paper that has not been rejected during phases one and two. The senior reviewers know the identities of the authors of the paper, but the tertiary reviewers do not. In unusual cases, such as when a tertiary reviewer fails to deliver a review on time, papers may receive only four reviews. However, if it receives fewer than this, additional reviewers will be found, possibly from the committee. For more details, see the Review Process section of Frequently Asked Questions.
4. After all reviews are complete, the review system allows the authors access to the reviews and scores for their papers. The authors have four days, from 17 March 2008 through 20 March 2008, to enter rebuttals if they feel that the reviewers have made substantive errors, or to answer specific questions posed by the reviewers. The initial rebuttal is confined to 2,000 words in length. At the option of the senior reviewers, the authors may be permitted to upload text in excess of 2,000 words, or other material, including pictures or video, during the rebuttal period. Note: The rebuttal period is for addressing factual errors in the reviews, not for getting revised text or new results into the review process. Any such novel material will be ignored by the senior reviewers. For more details see the Rebuttal Process section of Frequently Asked Questions.
5. Between the end of the rebuttal submission on 20 March 2008 and the committee meeting, 28-30 March 2008, the senior reviewers will read the author rebuttals, confer intensively about the paper, and prepare a recommendation for the committee meeting. During this phase, more information, including images or video, might be requested of the authors by the senior reviewers. The three tertiary reviewers will see the author rebuttals and will participate in discussion of the paper. Since the three tertiary reviewers do not know the names of the authors, the authors should maintain anonymity in their rebuttals and in their responses to queries by the senior reviewers. In addition, the tertiary reviewers don't know each other's identities, so they too must maintain anonymity during the discussion.
This discussion phase is overseen by the Board of Area Coordinators. These people are responsible for skimming every review of every paper in their area of expertise. They will look for insufficient reviews, inconsistent reviewing, papers with high variance in their scores, papers that need to be cross-reviewed by committee members other than the senior reviewers initially assigned to the paper, etc. Area Coordinators may also advocate for (or occasionally against) a paper, but they are not empowered to recommend to the committee the fate of papers, except on the few papers for which they are themselves senior reviewers. It is for this reason that they are not called Area Chairs as in some other conferences. If an Area Coordinator is also senior reviewer on a paper, then their reviews will be overseen by another Area Coordinator.
6. The full Papers Committee, which includes the Board of Area Coordinators, meets 28-30 March to determine acceptance or rejection of each paper. In cases where a consensus on a paper was not reached during the pre-meeting discussion phase, additional committee members may read the paper, and their evaluations will be taken into account in the decision. In some cases these additional readers will submit full reviews, which will be returned to the authors following the committee meeting. In instances where the reviews vary widely, the committee's deliberations may be summarized by a senior reviewer in one or two paragraphs, which will be returned to authors following the meeting.
Although the senior reviewers of a paper know the identity of its authors, they normally do not disclose these identities during the meeting. Papers are judged solely on their merit, as determined by the reviews. Although the acceptance rate of SIGGRAPH papers has remained nearly constant at about 20%, there is no quota for the number of papers that should be accepted by the committee; this number arises organically each year from the actions of the committee.
Possible Outcomes for a Paper
At the committee meeting, each paper is placed in one of three categories:
2. Conditionally accepted for presentation at SIGGRAPH 2008, possibly pending minor revisions. Conditionally accepted papers undergo a second reviewing process, in which a referee (a member of the Papers Committee) verifies that the final version of the paper is acceptable (that any minor required changes have been made, and that other changes made by the authors, perhaps in response to reviewer comments, have not compromised the paper in any way). This second and final stage determines the final acceptance status of all papers. The referees' decisions are final. Papers that do not satisfy the referees in the second stage of reviewing and that are not provided in camera-ready form by the final deadline will be rejected. Accepted papers will appear in the conference proceedings, which will continue to be published as a special issue of ACM Transactions on Graphics.
3. Conditionally accepted for publication in ACM Transactions on Graphics, pending major revisions. At the authors' discretion, these papers undergo a second reviewing process, in which an Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Graphics works with the authors to produce an acceptable final version of their papers. These papers will be published in regular issues of ACM Transactions on Graphics.
Authors will receive email notifications of this outcome not later than 11:59 pm Pacific time on Monday, 31 March 2008.