A letter to the GlobalSIP Technical Program Chairs

I am a big supporter of robust peer review. However, I feel very strongly that issuing short review deadlines weakens the review process and has a negative impact on the quality of research. I had a previous experience with a machine learning conference that assigned 9 papers requiring an in-depth review and was given less than 3 weeks to complete these reviews. I immediately wrote back saying that this was infeasible and the deadline was extended by more than a week, as I recall. It was still hard to get the reviews done on time, but I managed it.

People may think I am being petty here, but I think it is important to not get caught in the dilemma of “phone it in and get it done by the deadline” and “pull some all-nighters to get it done right.”

I regret to inform you that I must resign from the Technical Program Committee for GlobalSIP because I will be unable to complete reviews required of me in the time required by the conference.

On July 12 at around 11:45 EST I was assigned 12 papers to review for the conference, for a total of around 60 pages of material (including references). The deadline given was “before July 22, 2015 (AoE)” which I take to mean approximately 8 AM EST July 22 given the location international date line. This is around 9 days to review 12 papers.

At that time I responded indicating that given my other responsibilities, I would be unable to review such a large volume of material at such short notice in the given time frame. I received no response.

On July 15 at 12:33 AM I received a second request to review the same papers with a revised deadline of “before July 25, 2015 (AoE)”. That is, 2 days after the initial assignment, the deadline was extended by 3 days.

Given my other professional and personal commitments, I will not be able to provide the level of scrutiny required to review the papers in under two weeks. As it stands, the modest extension covering 3 additional business days is not enough, especially given the delay in issuing the extension. I realize that conference submissions do not entail the same depth of review as a journal paper, but they still take time, and the review requests came quite unexpectedly.

Finally, I recognize that the delay in assignment was caused by “system glitches” (as stated in your email) and is not the fault of the PC chairs. However, the brunt of the effect is faced by the reviewers. Without any prior communication or information regarding the delay in review assignments, I am not able to juggle/move/delay other obligations at such short notice.

Anand D. Sarwate
Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


One thought on “A letter to the GlobalSIP Technical Program Chairs

  1. Dear Dr. Sarwate, you are absolutely right. I think IEEE is loosing grip over quality of various conferences. They should really check the quality of conferences, as they are doing with Transactions journals. I personally have the same experience with some other IEEE conferences.

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