torsdag 11 januari 2018

Our DIS paper on design (paper)

For some venues, I have decided not to out myself when I submit a paper. If the process is supposed to be double blind, it won't do to self-identify and short-cut the process. So I have instead decided to write some about the paper without writing what the paper is about. My first such "anonymous" blog post was written in September 2016 when I submitted no less than three papers to the CHI conference (two were later accepted and they were presented at CHI 2017 in Denver).

So I've been thinking about what I can write about and any kind of stories about how the paper came about are ok. It's also ok to name co-authors. To mention the title, to quote anything from the abstract or even to mention any of the keywords are big no-nos (the paper then becomes increasingly searchable for reviewers). To say that this particular paper "is about design" seems pretty innocent though - it wouldn't be easy to connect a paper about "design" - that has been submitted to a conference called "Designing Interactive Systems" (DIS) - to me. Here is the call for papers (CFP) for the conference. Do note that my wife is one of the conference's three "Technical Program Chairs". She will probably not review my paper...

This paper is a reworked version of a paper I submitted to CHI back in september 2017. That paper fell right under the bar and got the recommendation "between possibly reject and neutral; 2.5" where a "3" is neutral. We didn't even bother to write a rebuttal because no single reviewer thought it absolutely should be accepted and it felt hard to convince three more or less recalcitrant reviewers about the paper's qualities.

Me and my co-authors (Staffan Björk and Maria Håkansson) thought the paper was great though! After having had some time to ponder the reviews, I could agree that there was room for improvement though. If a reviewer says "I don't like when you say X", it might be that I don't agree with the reviewer, but I can agree that perhaps "X" should be explained in a better or at least in a different way.

So me and Staffan worked quite a lot with the reviews, having back-and-forth discussions about what feedback we should take to heart and what we felt we could put aside. Maria did not have the opportunity to contribute very much to the new version of the paper as she recently moved on to a new job at RISE ("Research Institutes of Sweden" and/or The Swedish Research Institute"). After having discussed quite extensively with Staffan, it fell upon me to actually fix the paper. Since I didn't want to work too much on the Christmas break and since I handed in another, more important paper, on Sunday January 8 (see my previous blog post), it was really tough to fix all that should have been fixed before the Tuesday January 10 (at 09.00 in the morning) deadline. I basically had one single day to effectuate all the changes we had decided upon and it wasn't really enough - but most of the necessary/agreed-upon changes were still made. Most of that work was done between late Monday afternoon and very very late at night.

While the paper is a definite improvement on the paper that was submitted to CHI, I would have wished to have had one more day to work on this paper. My brain was really mushy at the very end and I kind of know that while the paper has improved (perhaps significantly - but that is for others to decide), it would have been good to read it once from start to finish with a clear, rested mind (something I didn't have when I handed it in). I hope the reviewers will cut us some slack as regards to the language. If the paper is accepted, we would fortunately have a second chance to fix it up before the camera-ready version is to be handed in and we'll know more about that on March 5. That's when the paper has been reviewed and me and all other authors are notified.

As to where the paper comes from, please see my blog post from September 2017 about submitting the previous version of the paper to CHI.

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