12 July 2012
August (and Christmas!) should be free of conference deadlines
by Andreas Zeller
The deadline for technical papers of this year's ICSE, the International Conference of Software Engineering, has been set to August 17 – a whopping 9 months before the conference takes place, and right in the middle of the busiest holiday month. In most of Europe, schools and kindergartens are closed for holidays during that time, because it is naturally assumed that you'll be on holiday, too. I can't even begin to speculate how such a deadline disrupts holidays and family time – and eventually harms the quality of submissions.
In the past ten years, the ICSE deadline has never been that early; except for ICSE 2011, it was always set in September. For me, this means that half of the papers our group intended to submit for ICSE (essentially, all those which aren't complete next week) will now go to ICST instead. Not only is the ICST deadline one month later and thus much more family-friendly, the conference is also two months before ICSE, implying a much quicker dissemination of results.
I suggest we as a software research community set up an implicit rule: No paper deadline in August. If an August deadline is unavoidable, it could be used for abstracts (such that PC members can bid on the submissions), followed by a September deadline for the full papers. If you agree, go and press the appropriate button.
[Update 2012-12-19: ECOOP 2013 ups the ante by extending their deadline to December 23. Does the conference really expect researchers to drop their holiday preparations and write a paper instead?]