Thursday, April 12, 2012

PC-chair-authored papers at conferences

Perhaps it is just me, but I feel that there has been an increase in the number of papers (co-)authored by PC chairs selected for presentations at conferences. This seems to happen mostly at "specialist" conferences. I have noticed a similar trend for special issues of journals, to which guest editors are often allowed to submit contributions. In that case, the submission is handled by a member of the editorial board as an ordinary paper submitted to the journal.

Is it just me? If not, do you think that this is a good development?


Anonymous said...

Dear Prof. Aceto,

It doesn't seem to be just you. This somewhat disconcerting trend is strikingly exemplified in the following TCS special issue honouring Jan Bergstra, wherein all papers were supposedly refereed according to the "usual high standards of the TCS journal".

It's nonetheless interesting to note that one of the Guest Editors appears as the first author of a contributed (and supposedly refereed) paper, while Bergstra himself is the first author of another contribution. This does lead one to ponder on the integrity of the review process, given that, in the above instance, the Guest Editors as well as the person being honoured have all been having a very close working relationship within the same research group over the past couple of decades.

Luca Aceto said...

Dear Anonymous,

I do not know what process is followed in handling submissions by guest editors to TCS special issues they are co-editing. Here is what Logical Methods in Computer Science does.

"Submissions by special issue co-editors are permitted, but need to be handled in a special way. Such a submission should be treated initially as an *ordinary* submission to LMCS, completely independent of the special
issue, so that it goes through the normal reviewing process with some other
editorial board member as handling editor. If the paper is accepted, the journal editor responsible for handling special issues puts it into the special

The preface that the guest editors write for the special issue can mention this process, so that readers know there was no special treatment.

Despite this, for what it is worth, I feel that, for the sake of transparency, it is best not to submit to special issues one is co-editing.