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SPLASH 2017
Sun 22 - Fri 27 October 2017 Vancouver, Canada

OOPSLA seeks outstanding contributions on all aspects of programming languages and software engineering.

Papers may target any stage of software development, including requirements, modeling, prototyping, design, implementation, generation, analysis, verification, testing, evaluation, maintenance, and reuse of software systems. Contributions may include the development of new tools (such as language front-ends, program analyses, and runtime systems), new techniques (such as methodologies, design processes, and code organization approaches), new principles (such as formalisms, proofs, models, and paradigms), and new evaluations (such as experiments, corpora analyses, user studies, and surveys).

Call for Papers

New this year

Those familiar with previous OOPSLA conferences should be aware that this year, papers selected for OOPSLA 2017 will be published as the OOPSLA 2017 issue of a new journal, Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages (PACMPL), which replaces the previous OOPSLA conference proceedings. The move to PACMPL will have two noticeable impacts on authors:

  • PACMPL is a Gold Open Access journal, so all OOPSLA papers will be freely available to the public. PACMPL may ask authors who have funding for open-access fees to voluntarily cover the article processing charge (currently 400 USD), but payment is not required or expected for publication. Authors are encouraged to support libre open access by licensing their work with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY) license, which grants readers liberal (re-)use rights.

  • Submitted papers will use PACMPL’s new, single-column format, described in the Instructions for Authors.

Paper Selection Criteria

The program committee will consider the following criteria when evaluating submitted papers:

Novelty: The paper presents new ideas and/or results and places these ideas and results appropriately within the context established by previous research in the field.

Importance: The paper contributes significantly to the advancement of knowledge in the field. In addition to more traditional contributions, OOPSLA welcomes papers that diverge from the dominant trajectory of the field.

Evidence: The paper presents sufficient evidence supporting its claims. Examples of evidence include proofs, implemented systems, experimental results, statistical analyses, case studies, and anecdotes.

Clarity: The paper presents its contributions, methodology and results clearly.

Review Process

This section outlines the two-stage process with lightweight double-blind reviewing that will be used to select papers for presentation at OOPSLA 2017. A list of frequently asked questions and answers that address common concerns is available and will be updated as necessary to clarify and expand on this process.

OOPSLA 2017 will employ a two-stage review process. The first stage in the review process will assess submitted papers using the criteria stated above and will allow for feedback and input on initial reviews through the author response period discussed in the Instructions for Authors. At the PC meeting, a set of papers will be conditionally accepted and all other papers will be rejected. Authors will be notified of these decisions on June 21, 2017.

Authors of conditionally accepted papers will be provided with committee reviews along with a set of mandatory revisions. After five weeks (July 27, 2017), the authors will provide a second submission. The second and final reviewing phase assesses whether the mandatory revisions have been adequately addressed by the authors and thereby determines the final accept/reject status of the paper. The intent and expectation is that the mandatory revisions can be addressed within five weeks and hence that conditionally accepted papers will in general be accepted in the second phase.

The second submission should clearly identify how the mandatory revisions were addressed. To that end, the second submission must be accompanied by a cover letter mapping each mandatory revision request to specific parts of the paper. The cover letter will facilitate a quick second review, allowing for confirmation of final acceptance within two weeks. Conversely, the absence of a cover letter will be grounds for the paper’s rejection.

OOPSLA 2017 will employ a lightweight double-blind reviewing process. To facilitate this, submitted papers must adhere to two rules:

  1. author names and institutions must be omitted, and
  2. references to authors’ own related work should be in the third person (e.g., not “We build on our previous work …” but rather “We build on the work of …”).

The purpose of this process is to help the PC and external reviewers come to an initial judgement about the paper without bias, not to make it impossible for them to discover the authors if they were to try. Nothing should be done in the name of anonymity that weakens the submission or makes the job of reviewing the paper more difficult (e.g., important background references should not be omitted or anonymized). In addition, authors should feel free to disseminate their ideas or draft versions of their paper as they normally would. For instance, authors may post drafts of their papers on the web or give talks on their research ideas.

Submission Requirements

Details on formatting and other submission requirements can be found in the Instructions for Authors. In addition to the requirements for double-blind submission, submissions must conform to both the ACM Policies for Authorship and SIGPLAN’s Republication Policy. Authors of accepted papers will be required to sign a license or copyright release.

AUTHORS TAKE NOTE: The official publication date is the date the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library. This date may be up to two weeks prior to the first day of the conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work.

Artifact Evaluation

Authors of papers that are conditionally accepted in the first phase of the review process will be encouraged (but not required) to submit supporting materials for Artifact Evaluation. These items will then be reviewed by a committee, separate from the program committee, whose task is to assess how the artifacts support the work described in the associated paper. Papers that go through the Artifact Evaluation process successfully will receive a seal of approval printed on the papers themselves. Authors of accepted papers will be encouraged to make the supporting materials publicly available upon publication of the proceedings, for example, by including them as “source materials” in the ACM Digital Library. An additional seal will mark papers whose artifacts are made available, as outlined in the ACM guidelines for artifact badging.

Participation in Artifact Evaluation is voluntary and will not influence the final decision regarding paper acceptance.

Further information about the motivations and expectations for Artifact Evaluation can be found at http://2017.splashcon.org/track/splash-2017-OOPSLA-Artifacts.

More Information

For additional information, clarification, or answers to questions please contact the OOPSLA Chair (Jonathan Aldrich) at oopsla@splashcon.org.

NEW THIS YEAR:

  • Formatting requirements have changed; because OOPSLA is being published in the PACM PL journal, authors must now use the ACM Small template. This also affects the page limit. See below for details. Note that the required format was ACM Large at the time of submission, but PACM PL has switched to use the ACM Small format and this will be used for final submissions.

  • Rules governing the use of social media in the double-blind submission process have also changed to better balance double-blind reviewing with open research practices.

Submission Preparation Instructions

OOSPLA 2017 will employ a two-stage, lightweight double-blind reviewing process, so papers must be anonymized as described in the call for papers.

Deadlines: The deadline for abstract submission is Thursday, April 13, 2017, Anywhere on Earth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anywhere_on_Earth). All OOPSLA 2017 submissions must include an abstract by this date. A full paper submission must be added by Monday, April 17, 2017, Anywhere on Earth. These deadlines will be strictly enforced.

Formatting: (NOTE: NEW FORMAT REQUIREMENTS FOR OOPSLA 2017) Submissions must be in PDF format, printable in black and white on US Letter sized paper, and interpretable by common PDF tools. All submissions must adhere to the “ACM Small” template that is available (in both LaTeX and Word formats) from http://www.acm.org/publications/authors/submissions.

For authors using LaTeX, a lighter-weight package, including only the essential files, is available from http://sigplan.org/Resources/Author/#acmart-format; the appropriate template for OOPSLA 2017 authors is in the file acmart-pacmpl-template.tex. As documented in the template, submissions should be prepared using the acmsmall and anonymous options. The use of the review option is also strongly encouraged but not required. (The review option will add line numbers, which will make it easier for reviewers to reference specific parts of your paper in their comments, but should have absolutely no other effect on the typesetting.) Details of available technical support for LaTeX-specific questions is available at http://www.acm.org/publications/authors/submissions#h-technical-support.

Submitted papers may be at most 20 pages long in 10 point font, excluding bibliographic references and appendices, in the new PACM PL format. This page limit was chosen to allow essentially the same amount of content with the new single-column format as was possible with the two-column format used in past OOPSLA conferences.

There is no page limit for bibliographic references and appendices, and, therefore, for the overall submission. However, reviewers are not obligated to read the appendices, so the main part of the paper should be self-contained.

Submissions that exceed the page limits or, for other reasons, do not meet the requirements for formatting, will be rejected without review.

Citations: As part of PACMPL, OOPSLA 2017 papers are expected to use author-year citations for references to other work. Author-year citations may be used as either a noun phrase, such as “The lambda calculus was originally conceived by Church (1932)”, or a parenthetic phase, such as “The lambda calculus (Church 1932) was intended as a foundation for mathematics”. A useful test for correct usage it to make sure that the text still reads correctly when the parenthesized portions of any references are omitted. Take care with prepositions; in the first example above, “by” is more appropriate than “in” because it allows the text to be read correctly as a reference to the author. Sometimes, readability may be improved by putting parenthetic citations at the end of a clause or a sentence, such as “A foundation for mathematics was provided by the lambda calculus (Church 1932)”. In LaTeX, use \citet{Church-1932} for citations as a noun phrase, “Church (1932)”, and \citep{Church-1932} for citations as a parenthetic phrase, “(Church 1932)”; for details, see Sections 2.3–2.5 of the natbib documentation (http://ctan.org/pkg/natbib).

Submission: Submissions are accepted at https://oopsla17.hotcrp.com/.

Improved versions of a paper may be submitted at any point before the submission deadline using the same web interface.

Author Response Period: During the period of June 8-10, 2017, Anywhere On Earth, authors will be able to read reviews and respond to them.

Supplementary Materials: In addition to the anonymized appendix, authors have the option to attach non-anonymous supplementary material to a submission, on the understanding that reviewers may choose not to look at it. The material should be uploaded at submission time, as a single pdf or a tarball, not via a URL. This supplementary material need not be anonymized; it will only be revealed to reviewers after they have submitted their review of the paper and learned the identity of the author(s).

Authorship Policies: All submissions are expected to comply with the ACM Policies for Authorship that are detailed at https://www.acm.org/publications/authors/information-for-authors.

Republication Policies: Papers must describe unpublished work that is not currently submitted for publication elsewhere as described by SIGPLAN’s Republication Policy. Submitters should also be aware of ACM’s Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism.

Resubmitted Papers: Authors who submit a revised version of a paper that has previously been rejected by another conference have the option to attach an annotated copy of the reviews of their previous submission(s), explaining how they have addressed these previous reviews in the present submission. If a reviewer identifies him/herself as a reviewer of this previous submission and wishes to see how his/her comments have been addressed, the program chair will communicate to this reviewer the annotated copy of his/her previous review. Otherwise, no reviewer will read the annotated copies of the previous reviews.

Information for Authors of Accepted Papers

  • As a condition of acceptance, final versions of all papers must adhere to the new ACM Small format. The page limit for final versions of papers will be increased to 28 pages to ensure that authors have space to respond to reviewer comments and mandatory revisions, and because the ACM Small format uses slightly more pages than the ACM Large format used for submissions.

  • PACMPL is a Gold Open Access journal, so all OOPSLA papers will be freely available to the public. PACMPL may ask authors who have funding for open-access fees to voluntarily cover the article processing charge (currently 400 USD), but paymentis not required or expected for publication.

  • Authors are encouraged to support libre open access by licensing their work with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY) license, which grants readers liberal (re-)use rights. Alternatively, authors can use other licenses approved by the ACM or transfer the copyright to ACM. Further information about ACM author rights is available from http://authors.acm.org.

  • At least one author of each accepted submission will be expected to attend and present their paper at the conference (OOPSLA welcomes all authors, regardless of nationality. If any author of an accepted submission has visa-related difficulties in travelling to the conference, we will make arrangements to enable remote participation, and not require them to attend the conference in order to present their talk). The schedule for presentations will be determined and shared with authors after the full program has been selected. Presentations will be videotaped and released online if the presenter consents.

  • AUTHORS TAKE NOTE: The official publication date is the date the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library. This date may be up to two weeks prior to the first day of the conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work.

The following content is strongly based on Mike Hicks’s guidelines for POPL 2012, and has been honed by a number of authors including Frank Tip, Keshav Pingali, Richard Jones, John Boyland, Yannis Smaragdakis, and Jonathan Aldrich.

General

Q: Why are you using double-blind reviewing?

A: Our goal is to give each a reviewer an unbiased “first look” at each paper. Studies have shown that a reviewer’s attitude toward a submission may be affected, even unconsciously, by the identity of the author (see link below to more details). We want reviewers to be able to approach each submission without such involuntary reactions as “Barnaby; he writes a good paper” or “Who are these people? I have never heard of them.” For this reason, we ask that authors to omit their names from their submissions, and that they avoid revealing their identity through citation. Note that many systems and security conferences use double-blind reviewing and have done so for years (e.g., PLDI, ASPLOS, SIGCOMM, OSDI, IEEE Security and Privacy, SIGMOD, ISMM).

A key principle to keep in mind is that we intend this process to be cooperative, not adversarial. If a reviewer does discover an author’s identity though a subtle clue or oversight the author will not be penalized.

For those wanting more information, see the list of studies about gender bias in other fields and links to CS-related articles that cover this and other forms of bias below.

Q: Do you really think blinding actually works? I suspect reviewers can often guess who the authors are anyway.

A: Studies of blinding with the flavor we are using show that author identities remain unknown 53% to 79% of the time (see Snodgrass, linked below, for details). Moreover, about 5-10% of the time (again, see Snodgrass), a reviewer is certain of the authors, but then turns out to be at least partially mistaken. Yannis Smaragdakis’s survey of the OOPSLA 2016 PC showed that any given reviewer or a paper guessed at least one author correctly only 26-34% of the time, depending on whether you count a non-response to the survey as failure to guess or failure to answer. An additional 4-5% of reviewers guessed but did not correctly identify any author. So, while sometimes authorship can be guessed correctly, the question is, is imperfect blinding better than no blinding at all? If author names are not explicitly in front of the reviewer on the front page, does that help at all even for the remaining submissions where it would be possible to guess? Our conjecture is that on balance the answer is “yes”.

Q: Couldn’t blind submission create an injustice where a paper is inappropriately rejected based upon supposedly-prior work which was actually by the same authors and not previously published?

A: In the approach we are taking for OOPSLA, author names are revealed to reviewers after they have submitted their review and before final decisions are made. Therefore, a reviewer can correct their review if they indeed have penalized the authors inappropriately. Unblinding prior to (or at) the PC meeting also avoids abuses in which committee members end up advancing the cause of a paper with which they have a conflict.

For Authors

Q: What exactly do I have to do to anonymize my paper?

A: Your job is not to make your identity undiscoverable but simply to make it possible for our reviewers to evaluate your submission without having to know who you are. The main guidelines are simple: omit authors’ names from your title page (or list them as “omitted for submission”), and when you cite your own work, refer to it in the third person. For example, if your name is Smith and you have worked on amphibious type systems, instead of saying “We extend our earlier work on statically typed toads (Smith 2004),” you might say “We extend Smith’s (2004) earlier work on statically typed toads.” Also, be sure not to include any acknowledgements that would give away your identity.

Q: I would like to provide supplementary material for consideration, e.g., the code of my implementation or proofs of theorems. How do I do this?

A: On the submission site there will be an option to submit supplementary material along with your main paper. This supplementary material need not be anonymized, although this is strongly encouraged. Reviewers are under no obligation to look at this material. The submission itself is the object of review and so it should strive to convince the reader of at least the plausibility of reported results; supplemental material only serves to confirm, in more detail, the idea argued in the paper. Of course, reviewers are free to change their review upon viewing supplemental material (or for any other reason). For those authors who wish to supplement, we encourage them to mention the supplement in the body of the paper and to make clear whether the supplementary material is anonymized or not. E.g., “The proof of Lemma 1 is included in the non-anonymous supplemental material submitted with this paper.”

Q: I am building on my own past work on the WizWoz system. Do I need to rename this system in my paper for purposes of anonymity, or perhaps even avoid citing past work, so as to remove the implied connection between my authorship of past work on this system and my present submission?

A: No, you must not change the name and you should certainly cite your published past work! The relationship between systems and authors changes over time, so there will be at least some doubt about authorship. Increasing this doubt by changing the system name would help with anonymity, but it would compromise the research process. In particular, changing the name requires explaining a lot about the system again because you can’t just refer to the existing papers, which use the proper name. Not citing these papers runs the risk of the reviewers who know about the existing system thinking you are replicating earlier work. It is also confusing for the reviewers to read about the paper under Name X and then have the name be changed to Name Y. Will all the reviewers go and re-read the final version with the correct name? If not, they have the wrong name in their heads, which could be harmful in the long run.

Q: I am submitting a paper that extends my own work that previously appeared at a workshop. Should I anonymize any reference to that prior work?

A: Generally no, but the ideal course of action depends on the degree of similarity and on publication status. On one extreme, if your workshop paper is a publication (i.e., the workshop has published a proceedings, with your paper in it) and your current submission improves on that work, then you should cite the (non-anonymized) workshop paper as if it were written by someone else. On the other extreme, if your submission is effectively a longer, more complete version of an unpublished workshop paper (e.g., no formal proceedings), then you should include a (preferably anonymous) version of the workshop paper as supplementary material. In general, there is rarely a good reason to anonymize a citation. One possibility is for work that is tightly related to the present submission and is also under review. But such works may often be non-anonymous. When in doubt, contact the PC Chair.

Q: Am I allowed to post my (non-blinded) paper on my web page? Can I advertise the unblinded version of my paper on mailing lists or send it to colleagues? May I give a talk about my work while it is under review?

A: As far as the authors’ publicity actions are concerned, a paper under double-blind review is largely the same as a paper under regular (single-blind) review. Double-blind reviewing should not hinder the usual communication of results.

That said, we do ask that you not attempt to deliberately subvert the double-blind reviewing process by announcing the names of the authors of your paper to the potential reviewers of your paper. It is difficult to define exactly what counts as “subversion” here, but a blatant example would include sending individual e-mail to members of the PC about your work (unless they are conflicted with you anyway). On the other hand, it is perfectly fine, for example, to visit other institutions and give talks about your work, to present your submitted work during job interviews, to present your work at professional meetings (e.g. Dagstuhl), or to post your work on your web page. PC members will not be asked to recuse themselves from reviewing your paper unless they feel you have gone out of your way to advertise your authorship information to them. If you’re not sure about what constitutes “going out of your way”, please consult directly with the Program Chair.

We recognize that some researchers practice an open research style in which work is shared on mailing lists or social media as it is produced, and we think this style of research can coexist with double-blind reviewing if authors follow simple guidelines. Therefore, you may post to mailing lists (e.g., TYPES), social media, or another publicity channel about your submitted work, but you may not mention where the paper is submitted in such a posting, and you must not use the exact, as-submitted title in the posting while the paper is under review. The purpose of these rules is to ensure that reviewers can give most papers a first read without immediately knowing who the authors are; statistics from previous reviewing processes suggest that this is practicable in most cases.

Q: Will the fact that OOPSLA is double-blind have an impact on handling conflicts-of interest? When I am asked by the submission system to identify conflicts of interest, what criteria should I use?

A: Using DBR does not change the principle that reviewers should not review papers with which they have a conflict of interest, even if they do not immediately know who the authors are.

As an author, you should list PC members (and any others, since others may be asked for outside reviewers) who you believe have a conflict with you.

For Reviewers

Q: What should I do if I if I learn the authors’ identity? What should I do if a prospective OOPSLA author contacts me and asks to visit my institution?

A: If at any point you feel that the authors’ actions are largely aimed at ensuring that potential reviewers know their identity, you should contact the Program Chair. Otherwise you should not treat double-blind reviewing differently from regular blind reviewing. In particular, you should refrain from seeking out information on the authors’ identity, but if you discover it accidentally this will not automatically disqualify you as a reviewer. Use your best judgment.

Q: The authors have provided a URL to supplemental material. I would like to see the material but I worry they will snoop my IP address and learn my identity. What should I do?

A: Contact the Program Chair, who will download the material on your behalf and make it available to you.

Q: If I am assigned a paper for which I feel I am not an expert, how do I seek an outside review?

A: PC members should do their own reviews, not delegate them to someone else. If doing so is problematic for some papers, e.g., you don’t feel completely qualified, then consider the following options. First, submit a review for your paper that is as careful as possible, outlining areas where you think your knowledge is lacking. Assuming we have sufficient expert reviews, that could be the end of it: non-expert reviews are valuable too, since conference attendees are by-and-large not experts for any given paper. Second, the review form provides a mechanism for suggesting additional expert reviewers to the PC Chair, who may contact them if additional expertise is needed. Please do NOT contact outside reviewers yourself. As a last resort, if you feel like your review would be extremely uninformed and you’d rather not even submit a first cut, contact the PC Chair, and another reviewer will be assigned.

Q: How do we handle potential conflicts of interest since I cannot see the author names?

A: The conference review system will ask that you identify conflicts of interest when you get an account on the submission system. Please see the related question applied to authors to decide how to identify conflicts. Feel free to also identify additional authors whose papers you feel you could not review fairly for reasons other than those given (e.g., strong personal friendship).

More information about bias in merit reviewing

Kathryn McKinley’s editorial makes the case for double-blind reviewing from a computer science perspective. Her article cites Richard Snodgrass’s SIGMOD record editorial which collects many studies of the effects of potential bias in peer review. Mike Hicks’s Chair’s Report describes how POPL’12 used double-blind reviewing and analyzes its effectiveness.

Here are a few studies on the potential effects of bias manifesting in a merit review process, focusing on bias against women. (These were collected by David Wagner.)

There’s the famous story of gender bias in orchestra try-outs, where moving to blind auditions seems to have increased the hiring of female musicians by up to 33% or so. Today some orchestras even go so far as to ask musicians to remove their shoes (or roll out thick carpets) before auditioning, to try to prevent gender-revealing cues from the sound of the auditioner’s shoes.

One study found bias in assessment of identical CVs but with names and genders changed. In particular, the researchers mailed out c.v.’s for a faculty position, but randomly swapped the gender of the name on some of them. They found that both men and women reviewers ranked supposedly-male job applicants higher than supposedly-female applicants – even though the contents of the c.v. were identical. Presumably, none of the reviewers thought of themselves as biased, yet their evaluations in fact exhibited gender bias. (However: in contrast to the gender bias at hiring time, if the reviewers were instead asked to evaluate whether a candidate should be granted tenure, the big gender differences disappeared. For whatever that’s worth.)

The Implicit Association Test illustrates how factors can bias our decision-making, without us realising it. For instance, a large fraction of the population has a tendency to associate men with career (professional life) and women with family (home life), without realizing it. The claim is that we have certain gender stereotypes and schemas which unconsciously influence the way we think. The interesting thing about the IAT is that you can take it yourself. If you want to give it a try, select the Gender-Career IAT or the Gender-Science IAT from here. There’s evidence that these unconscious biases affect our behavior. For instance, one study of recommendation letters written for 300 applicants (looking only at the ones who were eventually hired) found that, when writing about men, letter-writers were more likely to highlight the applicant’s research and technical skills, while when writing about women, letter-writers were more likely to mention the applicant’s teaching and interpersonal skills.

This study reports experience from an ecology journal that switched from non-blind to blind reviewing. After the switch, they found a significant (~8%) increase in the acceptance rate for female-first-authored submissions. To put it another way, they saw a 33% increase in the fraction of published papers whose first author is female (28% -> 37%). Keep in mind that this is not a controlled experiment, so it proves correlation but not causation, and there appears to be controversy in the literature about the work. So it as at most a plausibility result that gender bias could be present in the sciences, but far from definitive.

Snodgrass’ studies includes some of these, and more.

Important Dates AoE (UTC-12h)
Mon 28 Aug 2017
Camera ready submission
Wed 25 - Fri 27 Oct 2017
Conference
Fri 11 Aug 2017
Final decision notification
Thu 27 Jul 2017
Second round submission deadline
Wed 21 Jun 2017
Author notification (1st phase)
Thu 8 - Sat 10 Jun 2017
Author Response
Mon 17 Apr 2017
OOPSLA paper submission
Thu 13 Apr 2017
OOPSLA abstract submission