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Technical Papers: Reviewer Instructions & Ethics of Review

Technical Papers: Reviewer Instructions

Thank you for agreeing to review a paper for SIGGRAPH. Reviews have a direct and important impact on the quality of the most important conference in computer graphics. Reviews also help the computer-graphics community as a whole to improve the quality of its research. To access review materials and the web review forms, please login to the online submission system using your standard submission account.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Look for what’s good or stimulating in the paper. Minor flaws can be corrected and shouldn’t be a reason to reject a paper. Each accepted paper should, however, be technically sound and make a substantial contribution to the field. Please familiarize yourself with the information in the Call for Submissions.

ETHICS & PROFESSIONALISM

Please read the Ethics of Review below. It is extremely important that we uphold our reputation for treating ideas confidentially and professionally. By accepting a paper for review, you are committing to review all materials submitted in the approved formats: PDF for documents; QuickTime, MPEG, or DivX Version 6 formats for videos (and do not forget to check for an audio track!); and PNG or JPG for images. If you are not willing to make this guarantee, please recuse yourself from reviewing. You are also expected to make a reasonable effort to review materials in non-approved formats, but you are not under the same absolute obligation to do so.

BLIND REVIEWS

We are using double-blind reviewing. Authors were asked to take all reasonable efforts to hide their identities, including not listing their names or affiliations and omitting acknowledgements. This information will, of course, be included in the published version, should the paper be accepted.

One area where anonymity can affect your evaluation of the submitted paper is if the paper builds on ideas that were previously available in some prepublications form, for instance as a SIGGRAPH Talk, or as a technical report or thesis. The authors were instructed to avoid plagiarism, and to cite their sources if they used ideas from someone else’s work. Authors do not cite their own prepublications of largely overlapping works to avoid revealing their identity (see Submission Policy). Reviewers should not deliberately try to discover the identity of the authors. Immediately following the submission deadline, plagiarism detection software will be run on all submissions, and the sorting team will further ascertain originality of submissions during the sort when needed. If you as a reviewer have a substantial concern regarding the originality of the submission, please contact the Technical Papers admin prior to submitting your review.

Due to the number of new works posted on arXiv and other non-peer-reviewed websites on a daily basis, it is increasingly likely that you might find online reports that are highly relevant to the submitted work, and that the authors were unaware of. In this case, authors of conditionally accepted papers should be asked to cite these prepublications in their final revision. Note that authors are allowed to cite them as concurrent work, without the burden of having to detail how their work compares or differs from these prepublications.

BE SPECIFIC

Please be specific and detailed in your reviews. In the discussion of related work and references, simply saying “this is well known” or “this has been common practice in the industry for years” is not sufficient: Please cite specific publications or public disclosures of techniques. The Explanation section is easily the most important part of the review; your discussion, sometimes more than your score, will help the Papers Committee decide which papers to accept, so please be thorough. Your reviews will be returned to the authors, so you should include any specific feedback on ways the authors can improve their papers. For more suggestions on writing your reviews, please read Greg Turk’s web page on Writing Technical Reviews.

ONLINE REVIEW

To access electronically submitted papers and supplemental material, log into the submission portal the same way you would to make a submission to SIGGRAPH, using your existing online submission account. Once you have logged in, access the “Submissions & Reviews” portion of the site at the top of the screen, and use the links in your To-Do List. If you have any questions or problems with the online review system, use the “Contact Support” link at the bottom of the page.

ACM & EUROGRAHICS DIGITAL LIBRARIES

ACM and Eurographics have generously provided full access to their respective Digital Libraries for SIGGRAPH 2019 paper reviewer usage, effective 22 January through 5 April 2019. You are encouraged to make full use of these resources:

ACM Digital Library

Eurographics Digital Library

You must log in to access the full text of an article. A username and password will be made available via our electronic review system to each reviewer. 

TIMELY REVIEWS

The deadline for completed reviews is 1 March 2019. Adhering to this deadline is extremely important. In particular, the author rebuttal process starts immediately after the review deadline, where authors must be able to see the complete set of reviews.

WHEN YOU ARE DONE

In previous years, these guidelines said “after the review process, destroy all copies of papers and videos that are not returned to the senior reviewer and erase any implementations you have written to evaluate the ideas in the papers, as well as any results of those implementations.”

However, in 2012, SIGGRAPH introduced a new process for revised papers that were rejected from a previous SIGGRAPH conference, where the authors can choose to release the previous reviewers’ names, so that the same reviewers can be reassigned. Therefore, there is a chance that you will be asked in the future to review such a resubmission, and may need your notes, marked manuscripts, or implementations. So you may keep them if necessary, but please be careful to insulate the ideas you learned from the review from your own research, and from your colleagues and students. Also, please be aware that your reviews may be perused by other future SIGGRAPH reviewers.

 

Technical Papers: Ethics of Review

PROTECT IDEAS

As a reviewer for SIGGRAPH, you have the responsibility to protect the confidentiality of the ideas represented in the papers you review. SIGGRAPH submissions are by their nature not published documents. The work is considered new and proprietary by the authors; otherwise they would not have submitted it.

Of course, authors ultimately intend to publish their work; however, many of the submitted papers will end up being rejected from this year’s conference. Thus, it is likely that the paper you have in your hands will be refined further and submitted to another journal or conference, or even to SIGGRAPH next year. Oftentimes the work is considered confidential by the author’s employers: these organizations do not consider sending a paper to SIGGRAPH for review to constitute a public disclosure. Consequently, you must abide by a few simple rules to protect the ideas in the submissions you receive:

  • Do not show the paper to anyone else, including colleagues or students, unless you have asked them to help with your review. See the Review Process section of the Technical Papers FAQ for more details on how to properly include a colleague or student in the review process.
  • Do not show videos or other materials to non-reviewers.
  • Do not use ideas from papers you review to develop new ones.
  • Due to the possibility of paper resubmission with reviewer continuity, there is a chance that you will be asked again in the future to review a resubmission of the same work, so you may want to keep your notes, marked manuscripts, videos or implementations. Be sure to insulate the ideas you learned from the review from your own research, and from your colleagues and students. Also, please be aware that your reviews may be perused by other future SIGGRAPH or TOG reviewers.

AVOID CONFLICT OF INTEREST

As a reviewer of a SIGGRAPH paper, you have a certain power over the reviewing process. It is important for you to stay clear of any conflict of interest. There should be absolutely no question about the impartiality of reviews. Thus, if you are assigned a paper for which your review would create a possible conflict of interest, you should return the paper immediately and not submit a review. Conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to) situations in which:

  • You work at the same institution as one of the authors.
  • You have been directly involved in the work and will be receiving credit in some way. For instance, if you’re a member of the author’s thesis committee, and the paper is about their thesis work, then you were involved.
  • You suspect that others might see a conflict of interest in your involvement. For example, even though Microsoft Research in Seattle and Beijing are in some ways more distant than Berkeley and MIT, there is likely to be a perception that they are “both Microsoft,” so folks from one should not review papers from the other.
  • You have collaborated with one of the authors in the past three years. Collaboration is usually defined as having written a paper or grant proposal together, although you should use your judgment. For instance, being co-presenters in a course, co-authors of a survey paper, or co-chairs in a recent conference does not in itself lead to a conflict of interest.
  • You were the MS/PhD advisor or advisee of one of the authors. This represents a lifetime conflict of interest.
  • You have unpublished or unreleased work that would get scooped by the current submission because it tackles the same problem using a similar approach. If asked to review a paper that can create such a cross-reviewing conflict, please turn down the request and immediately inform the appropriate Technical Papers Committee member or the papers admin.

The submission review process strives to prevent most conflicts. But if you recognize the work or the author(s) and feel it could present a conflict of interest, notify the senior reviewer as soon as possible so they can find someone else to review it.

BE SERIOUS

The paper publishing business at SIGGRAPH is very serious indeed: careers and reputations, as well as academic tenure decisions, often hinge on these publications; patent infringement cases have discussed whether something was considered novel enough to publish at SIGGRAPH.

This does not mean that we cannot have any fun in the paper sessions. But it does mean that we have a responsibility to be serious in the reviewing process. You should make an effort to do a solid and constructive review. This is obvious; but one of the complaints we have heard about the SIGGRAPH review process is that some reviews can be so sketchy that it looks like the reviewer did not even seem to take the time to read the paper carefully. A casual or flippant review of a paper on which the author has spent considerable time is not appropriate, and certainly not professional. In the long run, casual reviewing is a very damaging attack on the SIGGRAPH conference. There is no dishonor in being too busy to do a good review, or to realize that you have over-committed yourself and cannot review all the papers you agreed to review. But it is a big mistake to take on too much, and then not back out early enough to allow recovery. If you cannot do a decent job, give the paper back and say so. But please, do it early so that the senior reviewer has time to select another reviewer before the deadline.

BE PROFESSIONAL

Belittling or sarcastic comments have no place in the reviewing process. The most valuable comments in a review are those that help the authors understand the shortcomings of their work and how they might improve it. Be respectful and carefully explain why you like or dislike a submission so the authors can learn from your expertise.

REMAIN ANONYMOUS

All reviewers are expected to maintain anonymity forever. In particular, it is never appropriate for reviewers to reveal themselves to the authors of an accepted paper, as this could be perceived as an attempt to curry favor. Requesting citations primarily to one’s own work may thwart anonymity, so it should be carefully considered.

IN SUMMARY

Adherence to ethics makes the whole reviewing process indubitably more complicated and sometimes less efficient. But convenience, efficiency, and expediency are not good reasons to contravene ethics. It is precisely at those times when it would be easier or more efficient to bend the rules that it is most important to do the right thing. Ultimately, spending that energy and time is an investment in the long-term health of the technical papers sessions, the conference, and the entire community of computer graphics researchers.

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