Presentation on theme: "Reviewing Rejection Top Ten ( The most common reasons I reject papers that I am asked to review ) James Davis UC Santa Cruz 2005."— Presentation transcript:
Reviewing Rejection Top Ten ( The most common reasons I reject papers that I am asked to review ) James Davis UC Santa Cruz 2005
# 10 Poor figure captions Figure captions must be self explanatory. Reviewers and other readers often read figures first to get an overview of the paper. You simply can’t assume that the reader knows the details of a paper before looking at the figures. This is what captions are for – to explain the figure. The captions can be simplified, since there is limited space. However they should leave the reader feeling that they understand something, and not more confused than before they looked at the figure.
# 9 Inscrutable figures Spend time to construct figures carefully. It is not ok to just take a screenshot. They should convey information, or they shouldn’t be present. Diagrams should have the minimum number of components that convey the idea. Graphs should be labeled with units and in a legible font size. Labels should go next the item they are labeling in the figure..e.g. it’s not ok to tell me the red line means X and the blue line means Y in the caption, this forces the reader look away from the figure. The default look of your MATLAB graph is almost certainly wrong. Fix it.
# 8 No statement of motivation The very first paragraph of your paper (or at least the introduction) should motivate why you are doing this work. This needs to be done at two levels. First, why is this important commercially, or to society, or in some vague high level way? Secondly, what is the particular problem you are addressing? What is the challenge? Why is the solution not immediately obvious? A statement of the goal that the paper addresses needs to be made explicitly. The introduction section needs to convince the reader of two things. That the work is important and that there is in fact a problem to be solved. You can’t just have one or the other. You need both.
# 7 Infatuated with math The paper text needs to be readable by people who skip equations. You can assume an appropriate level of mathematical sophistication, however you can’t assume people are in the mood to read all your letters and t i n y subscripts. Its necessary to include equations of course, however they don’t supercede the need for a clear discussion of your work. Similarly, it can’t be assumed that the reader remembers what X’ i+1 refers to three pages after it was first introduced. Use plain language to describe the concepts. Read your paper skipping all equations and symbols. If its not understandable, go fix it.
# 6 Bad grammar / English usage The paper needs to be easy to read and understand. Poor grammar, spelling, and strange English usage make it hard for people to read. This is nearly always caused by writers for whom English is their second or third language. Sometimes the writing is strictly correct, but a native speaker would just never say it that way. Reviewers should endeavor to be as understanding as possible. Writers should get a native English speaker to read their work and help to fix it. Is this fair? Nope, not fair. I apologize. However it has to be done. [ Most computer science journals and conferences are conducted in English. However, if you’re submitting to the Tibetan conference on graph theory, get a native Tibetan speaker to read and correct your work.]
# 5 Incomprehensible writing Your writing needs to be clear. Perfect grammar in no way insures that the reader can figure out what you are talking about. The text should be organized to follow some logical flow. The flow should be obvious to the reader. They should know when they are reading background, when they are reading your new idea, when it’s a demonstrated result, and when you are just speculating. The goal is to communicate your ideas, there are no extra points for confusing the reviewer to show how smart you are.
# 4 Unconvincing results Somewhere your paper should have results. These results should be convincing. I have reviewed animation papers with terribly ugly videos. I have reviewed papers with a single unlabeled MATLAB plot. I have even reviewed papers which directly say that their results are inferior to prior techniques. Now why would I accept a paper if the new method is worse than the old method? Include results. Make sure they are convincing. Make sure they indicate that your new work is superior to old work. If you work in graphics make sure they are aesthetically beautiful. If the results aren’t convincing, continue your research until they are convincing.
# 3 Not sufficiently novel Your work needs to contribute something to the scientific community. Its not worth publishing if it simply repeats what others have done. (With the exception of certain scientific studies that need validation from other researchers.) If part of your work is new and part is old, emphasize the new stuff. Sometimes the part that took 90% of the time, effort, and heartache isn’t even mentioned in the paper. Bummer. Write about the new stuff.
# 2 No relation to previous work Present your work in the context of the previously existing work. You have a related work section. This is not simply a list of papers that are similar. You need to compare and contrast this previous work against your new work. If you tell the reader that there are these twenty other similar papers and fail to make a comparison, the only logical conclusion is that your work isn’t very novel. The related work section is a chance to defend the novelty of your work. Anticipate the readers belief that someone has done this before. Explain why each previous class of methods does not sufficiently address the challenge that you identified. Politely. Don’t imply previous authors are stupid, rather attempt to praise their work, just be careful to claim they were addressing something different than you are.
# 1 No statement of contribution State your contribution. Explicitly. Repeatedly. At the end of the introduction section there should be a sentence that says, “The contribution of this work is …” The rest of the paper is your attempt to back up that single sentence. Don’t make the reader guess what the contribution is. The reviewer is attempting to determine if your contribution is important, novel, and achieved. If they don’t know what the contribution is, this makes their task more difficult. Seem simple? This is by far the #1reason I recommend rejection of papers. State your contribution. Explicitly.
Reasons for rejection # 01 No statement of contribution # 02 No relation to previous work # 03 Not sufficiently novel # 04 Unconvincing results # 05 Incomprehensible writing # 06 Bad grammar / English usage # 07 Infatuated with math # 08 No statement of motivation # 09 Inscrutable figures # 10 Poor figure captions
Reasons related to the work itself # 01 No statement of contribution # 02 No relation to previous work # 03 Not sufficiently novel # 04 Unconvincing results # 05 Incomprehensible writing # 06 Bad grammar / English usage # 07 Infatuated with math # 08 No statement of motivation # 09 Inscrutable figures # 10 Poor figure captions
Reasons related to the writing # 01 No statement of contribution # 02 No relation to previous work # 03 Not sufficiently novel # 04 Unconvincing results # 05 Incomprehensible writing # 06 Bad grammar / English usage # 07 Infatuated with math # 08 No statement of motivation # 09 Inscrutable figures # 10 Poor figure captions
Wrong way to outline a paper 1 intro 2 related work 3 my method 3.1 module 1 – lots of details 3.2 module 2 – lots of details 3.3 module 3 – lots of details 4 results 5 conclusion
Right way to outline a paper Motivation –write a sentence explaining the high level motivation Challenge –write a sentence explaining the challenge Contribution –write a sentence explaining the contribution Related work –write down all the related work you can think of and for each write a sentence about why it does not sufficiently address the challenge you specified Your actual work – not important – really, its not