Sunday, June 28, 2009

Change of Proceedings

I was browsing the FSTTCS conf site (this conf may be lost in the din of FOCS+STOC vs ICS+SLOGN wrestling, but is a solid technical conf), and noticed:

Proceedings:

Accepted papers will be published as the proceedings of the Conference in the Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs) as a free, open, electronic archive with access to all. Authors will retain full rights over their work. The accepted papers will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License: Creative Commons -NC-ND
FSTTCS, like STACS, WADS, ....., had standard LNCS proceedings. What changed?

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15 Comments:

Blogger Suresh said...

open access. I think STACS is going this way as well,

1:46 PM  
Blogger Luca Aceto said...

STACS went that way at least a couple of years ago I believe, and last year's FSTTCS already had open-access electronic proceedings.

The new development is that the proceedings of STACS and FSTTCS are now part of the Leibnix Proceedings series supported by Dagsthul and archived by DROPS.

As far as I know, the original departure of STACS from LNCS was also motivated by a perceived decrease in the overall quality of LNCS.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Suresh and Luca,
Does this have any impact on whether they are (perceived to be, defensible with Dean and other dept faculty to be) counted as a publication in one's resume?
-- Metoo

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was told these publications have low weight in some places, in particular in China (which resulted in a major decrease of the submissions to first STACS after they withdrawn from LNCS).

But I hope that in good places (good departments with reasonable deans) they will count as regular publications

5:50 PM  
Blogger Luca Aceto said...

Muthu,

This is an absolutely crucial point, and one that will be close to the heart of our younger colleagues. It took the CRA a lot of work to convince Deans and decision makers in hiring, promotion and tenure committees that conference publications matter in CS. It will take a similar effort by many parties, as well as time, to make open-access publications be perceived as being "quality publications". However, I believe that this can be done. The mathematicians already have open-access publication venues (Electronic Journal of Combinatorics, Journal of Integer Sequences and LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics to name but three; see also http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=subject&cpid=58 where 140 journals are listed) that, at least in certain fields, are considered to be high quality. We have at least Logical Methods in Computer Science, the new computational geometry journal and Discrete Mathematics and TCS, to name but three open-access journals. but I do not know how they are considered by hiring and promotion committees in TCS.

Whether the extant and future open-access publication outlets will be repositories of high quality work only time will tell.

2:42 AM  
Blogger Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Muthu --

The LIPics people asked me to be on their editorial board, and I agreed.

Why should the fact that the publication is now being done as an open-access conference affect the "prestige" one way or another of the conference? Are Deans really so ignorant that if they see ACM or IEEE or LNCS in front of it the assumption is it's good, and if not then it's bad?

Conferences I think garner reputations over time, that are, as far as I can tell, independent of the publisher name. Open access is becoming substantially more commonplace. I think it's up to us as a community to decide how to value various forums (and the work therein) and explain that to our peers when it comes time for hiring/tenure decisions - but I don't see that as a large problem here?

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to claim that conference publications have the same value as journal publications, given how poorly they are (if at all) refereed. In fact, I try at every opportunity to bring this up in faculty committees and will make it a point to tell this to the Dean if asked.
Conference publications should count as invited 20 min talk (equivalent to say an invited talk at a Special Session of the AMS). Keynote speaker invitations at these conferences would get a higher weightage -- but again not as a journal publication.

I fully support open access proceedings for what it offers -- free and open access, just like the arxiv. The non-issue of whether it devalues such proceedings should not come up -- they are not to be considered as a publication in the first place.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Zealot said...

Hi Anonymous,

One step at a time. If the community wants to push open access, that's great. Once that's accomplished, we can later work on correcting the weight given to conferences.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having Michael and others on the editorial board gives a lot of legitimacy. Also, transitioning from paper to open access still preserves the historically perceived value of a conf, I guess. Will be good to see how open access journals do, in particular, newly launched ones.

-- Metoo

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to claim that conference publications have the same value as journal publications, given how poorly they are (if at all) refereed.

I'll bite.

I think it is ridiculous to claim that journal publications have any value in and as themselves. Given how poorly (or even negatively) X's number of publications in journals correlates today with importance or impact of X's research, the dean should not be using the number of journal publications for anything.

While I am all for people writing journal versions of papers when the conference version omits proofs, I think whenever you bring up the referee-ing quality of conferences, you should also bring up the fact that journals are largely irrelevant today and have no impact on research. And also that bean-counting is a useless exercise.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Zealot said...

Given how poorly (or even negatively) X's number of publications in journals...

Hopefully deans, and others, are making their judgments based on impact and not on number of publications, whether we're discussing journals or conferences.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The world seems to fall into 10 kinds, those who speak for journals and others who speak for confs. I speak for confs. I find journals a burden in practice (to write and referee for, or to track and read), though in concept, I understand why we need them.

-- Metoo

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think whenever you bring up the referee-ing quality of conferences, you should also bring up the fact that journals are largely irrelevant today and have no impact on research."

The primary goal of a journal publication is not "impact", but as a properly archived document whose results can be quoted and used in later scientific discourse without researvations. This is where the importance of careful refereeing lies.

Since it is expected (in the sciences) these days that any paper will be available via the arXiv long before it is printed -- the question of the print version in a conference proceeding having more "impact" than a journal is moot.

Conferences should be venues for scientific interaction brought forth by talks and discussions on the sidelines. The printed proceedings is useful only in as much it helps this goal -- its value after the conference is over should be more of historical, than scientific interest. In any case, we have to get out of this trap of considering something as a "publication" just because it happened to come out of the ACM press.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In any case, we have to get out of this trap of considering something as a "publication" just because it happened to come out of the ACM press.

I think we largely agree on most of what you said. But when considering or not considering something as a publication, we must ask what the purpose of the consideration is. I'd argue that for tenure cases and such, when judging impact, the number of journal publications and the number of conference publications are both equally bad measures and there is no reason to continue to prefer the latter just because we chose that a very long time back.

I agree that a responsible author should write a journal version if the conference version is missing details, or is badly written. But
if your conference papers are impenetrable, or incomplete, they will automatically have less impact. Worse still, if they are wrong, it will damage your reputation and hurt you in the long run. So there is a system in place to encourage people to write papers that can be cited and referred to without reservations.

I think journals were a very useful resource of dissemination of research in the pre-Internet age. Frankly, today, their sole utility is in providing better quality referre-ing, and giving out stars. The cost for these is in terms of time and money is disproportionately large. At least in their current form (protected, expensive, paper versions), they are not sustainable. The scientific community should evolve a better way to give better-quality referee-ing to papers.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LNCS proceedings are terribly expensive and can eat up a substantial portion of the budget for a low-budget conference in India. Having faced this problem as a conference organizer before, I support the FSTTCS decision to go for electronic proceedings.

1:33 AM  

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