A Message from ACM SIGGRAPH President Jessica Hodgins

Dear ACM SIGGRAPH community,

Last fall, we asked recent authors and reviewers from the Technical Papers Program to participate in a survey about the timing of the Technical Papers deadline for the summer conference.   I am writing to, somewhat belatedly, share the results of that survey with you.   To cut to the chase: the results were inconclusive and as a consequence we decided not to move the deadline.

The survey was designed to determine whether a significantly earlier deadline (mid-December) or a slightly later deadline (early/mid-February) would be preferred to our current deadline of roughly the 3rd week in January.   This topic has been discussed for a long time within the community so we were hoping that this survey would resolve the question for at least the next few years.

The current deadline has challenges as researchers and students often find themselves sacrificing family/vacation time in December to complete their submissions. If the deadline moved back to mid-December, there are concerns about how it might impact SIGGRAPH Asia attendance, and as we learned from the survey, also concerns with the proximity to other conference deadlines – CVPR, in particular. If the deadline were to move further into spring, it will bump into the Chinese or Lunar New Year  spring festivities at least in some years.   The resulting delay for SIGGRAPH decisions might impact the specialized conferences that time their submission deadline to be after the SIGGRAPH notifications are sent out.

This issue has been discussed multiple times in the past, and a survey was completed in 2012 on the same topic. In 2019, I asked Peter-Pike Sloan in his role as a director-at-large on the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee (EC) to form an ad hoc committee to look into the question.   The committee included upcoming Technical Papers chairs and representatives from the Papers Advisory Group (PAG), the EC, SIGGRAPH Asia, and others in the Technical Papers community. The members were Marc Alexa, Ken Anjyo, Kavita Bala, Tomasz Bednarz, George Drettakis, Hui Huang, Karen Liu, Sylvain Paris, Peter-Pike Sloan, Kun Zhou.   After some discussion, they decided to focus the survey on whether to move the deadline for submissions to before the winter holidays or push the due date to February.

The survey was sent to submitters and reviewers of the Technical Papers Program from the past couple of years (4000 people).   We received over 800 responses for a 20% response rate, indicating that topic is one that the Technical Papers community is passionate about. The results were decidedly mixed with strong opinions in both directions.   After discussion, the committee decided to keep the deadline roughly where it is but try and make it as late as possible while not overlapping with Lunar New Year festivities.

Here is the response to moving the deadline to February:

And for moving to December:

While significant support for both of the potential moves existed in some of the regions, there was always significant opposition as well. Asia/Oceania respondents were generally opposed to any move, particularly into February, and the other regions seemed to have slightly more support for December, but still a significant amount of opposition.

We also asked questions intended to help us understand the impact on attendance at SIGGRAPH Asia of moving the deadline to December.   Of the respondents who plan to attend, 31% would not have attended if the deadline was within a month of the conference while those who have never attended SIGGRAPH Asia preferred to move the deadline to December.

If you are curious to dig deeper into the data, we have posted the data from the survey here: survey results and excel spreadsheet.

We were hoping for a clear majority in these results to guide our decision making.   Given that we did not get that, the committee decided that maintaining the status quo and keeping the deadline unchanged was the best option.   We do have a new ad hoc committee of future Technical Papers chairs for both SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Asia looking at ways that we might be able to make small changes to the review process to reduce the reviewer load and to provide a faster publication path for papers that have interesting and significant contributions but are rejected from SIGGRAPH or SIGGRAPH Asia the first time that they are submitted.    We will be back in touch as that proposal gets firmed up.

Jessica Hodgins