SPLASH 2016
Sun 30 October - Fri 4 November 2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands

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

PAPER SELECTION

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.

Selection Process

Since 2013, OOPSLA has been following a two-phase review process, with the goal of improving the quality of accepted papers. The first reviewing phase assesses the papers using the criteria stated above. At the PC meeting a set of papers will be conditionally accepted and all other papers will be rejected.

Authors of conditionally accepted papers will be provided with the usual committee reviews along with a set of mandatory revisions. After approximately two months, the authors will provide a second submission. The second and final reviewing phase assesses how well the mandatory revisions have been performed 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 adequately addressed within two months and hence that conditionally accepted papers will 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 absence of this cover letter is grounds for the paper’s rejection.

SUBMISSION

Details on formatting and other submission requirements can be found in the Instructions for Authors.

OOPSLA 2016 submissions must conform to both the ACM Policy on Prior Publication and Simultaneous Submissions and the SIGPLAN Re-publication Policy. In addition, OOPSLA 2016 is implementing a (lightweight) double-blind submission process (i.e., authors are anonymous at submission time, though their identity is known during committee deliberations).

Artifact Evaluation

Authors of papers that are conditionally accepted in the first phase will be invited to formally submit supporting materials to the Artifact Evaluation process. This submission is voluntary and will not influence the final decision regarding the papers. Papers that go through the Artifact Evaluation process successfully will receive a seal of approval printed on the papers themselves.

Authors of accepted papers are encouraged to make these materials publicly available upon publication of the proceedings, by including them as “source materials” in the ACM Digital Library.

Publication Caveats

Authors of accepted papers will be required to sign an ACM 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.

More Information

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

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

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. Mike Hicks’s survey of POPL’12 PC and ERC members showed that they were often mistaken or surprised by the author’s identity. 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 some blatant examples include: sending individual e-mail to members of the PC about your work (unless they are conflicted out anyway), or posting mail to a major mailing list (e.g., TYPES) or other publicity channel announcing your paper. 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.

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.

For fairness reasons, all submitted papers should conform to the formatting instructions. Submissions that violate these instructions may be rejected without review, at the discretion of the Program Chair.

Submission Site

Please take a moment to read the instructions below before using the submission site. Note that camera ready versions will be collected by Conference Publishing Consulting.

Double-Blind Submission

OOPSLA 2016 is using a mandatory double-blind submission process.

Concurrent Submissions

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.

Format

Submissions should use the ACM SIGPLAN Conference Format, 10 point font, using the font family Times New Roman and numeric citation style. All submissions should be in PDF format. If you use LaTeX or Word, please use the ACM SIGPLAN Templates provided here, making sure to use 10 point fonts (e.g., for LaTeX, set the 10pt option in the \documentclass command). For other document preparation systems, please follow the declarative description of the SIGPLAN formatting guidelines, also applying the extra OOPSLA requirements (e.g., 10pt, Times New Roman, numeric citations).

Please include page numbers in your submission. Setting the preprint option in the LaTeX \documentclass command generates page numbers. Ensure that your submission is legible when printed on a black and white printer. In particular, please check that colors remain distinct and font sizes are legible.

For LaTeX, you can retrieve modified SIGPLAN conference paper templates that automatically enforce the above requirements, as well as double-blind submission, if you use the right flag (“1stsubmission”) on your paper’s header.

Page Limit

To ensure that papers stay focused on their core contributions, the main part of the paper (excluding bibliographic references) should be no longer than 13 pages. 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. If the paper is accepted, the final submission will be limited to 20 pages, including appendices.

Publication (Digital Library Early Access Warning)

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.

Important Dates AoE (UTC-12h)
Wed 1 Jun 2016
Author notification (1st phase)
Wed 20 Jul 2016new
Second round submission deadline
Wed 3 Aug 2016new
Final decision notification
Fri 26 Aug 2016
Camera ready
Tue 1 - Fri 4 Nov 2016
Conference
Thu 19 - Sat 21 May 2016
Author Response
Wed 23 Mar 2016 23:59
Research Paper Submissions