Strategizing the CSCW Revise and Re-submit submission process

This year, on the TIDESS project, we submitted a research paper to the ACM Conference of Computer-Supported Collaborative Work and Social Computing (CSCW). Unlike the five-page abstract we previously submitted and presented at NARST, for this submission we prepared a full-length paper (typically 13-15 pages). CSCW is a peer-reviewed conference seeking to publish research on topics related to collaborative and social computing. Unlike other ACM conferences such as the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI), papers submitted to CSCW undergo two rounds of review cycles. After the initial round of review, a research paper can either get a revise and re-submit notification, or a reject notification along with detailed reviews from the reviewers. Reviewers are other people in the research community, generally experts in a specific research area, who read the submission to evaluate it based on its novelty, study methodology, and contributions to the research community. The research paper we submitted to CSCW got shortlisted for the second-round revision cycle, and we were given a two-week period to address comments provided by our reviewers. All the reviews we were given from our reviewer panel were very insightful and constructive, which helped us strengthen our paper. These reviews were specifically targeted towards ensuring that our research questions, motivation, and situation within the previous literature were clearer.

However, addressing all the reviewers’ comments, which required significant re-structuring of the paper, along with ensuring that all the research team members were on the same page with the way revisions are being incorporated, was a challenging task to complete in two weeks. Therefore, we followed a four-phase iterative process to address the reviewers’ comments as listed below:

(1) Conceptually grouping the reviews: To make the revision process smoother, we first took a detailed pass of all the reviews line by line and conceptually grouped these reviews based on the section of the paper they were targeted at. For example, if the reviewers’ comment said, “The paper needs to identify a gap in the existing studies”, we grouped it under a higher-level theme called “ground work in the literature.”

(2) Team discussion and planning: The second phase involved all the research team members walking through the conceptually grouped reviews together and discussing potential ways in which we can address the points raised by the reviewers. This phase mostly consisted of team discussions and planning. Conceptually grouping the reviews by paper sections helped us visualize all of the comments related to a particular section and facilitated the development of optimized revision strategies.

(3) Prioritize the reviews: Given that we had two weeks to address the suggested changes provided by our reviewers, and we would not have time to address every single comment, it was very important to strategize our revision process. We did this by making sure that the major revisions suggested by our reviewers, alongside revisions that require significant restructuring of the paper, were our priorities. In addition to ranking the revisions, we also documented our strategies related to how we were going to address the review and what places in the paper needed modification to accomplish this. This planning was especially necessary to make sure that the paper flowed well after the revision.

(4) Prepare a response document for reviewers: CSCW also asked authors to prepare a response document for the revise and re-submit cycle which described the changes made in the paper and the rationale behind these changes. Within this document, we made sure to highlight all the changes we made in the paper both at high and low levels of detail as we addressed reviewers’ comments. This document helped to show the reviewers where we have strengthened our paper.

I am a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Human-Centered Computing Ph.D. program at the University of Florida. This was my first time submitting to CSCW, and I enjoyed the entire iterative process of revising and resubmitting the paper. Personally, addressing reviewers’ comments during the revise and re-submit phase helped me learn a lot about how to write a strong research paper. I think that approaching the revision process in a more strategic way definitely helped me and my team to come to a consensus and discuss the changes we were planning to make to the paper based on the reviews. Unfortunately, our paper ended up not making the final cut to be accepted, but we were able to resubmit to another conference recently and believe our paper was much stronger thanks to the thoughtful iteration from the CSCW community.

by Nikita Soni



Posted: November 30, 2018

Tags: TIDESS Project

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