Continuing the very useful discussion we’ve been having on the new conference on Computational and Mathematical Modeling in Linguistics (here and here), I’d like to invite further discussion of the choice to do short paper (6-8pp) submissions instead of the usual abstract submissions for linguistics conferences. We had a little bit of discussion of some pros and cons of this choice on the original post, mostly relating to the potential conflict/competition of publishing something there as opposed to ACL or CogSci. Kyle Rawlins recently raised a number of potential issues with us by email, and I’d like to relay some of these concerns and invite more general discussion of these and other considerations.
To summarize Kyle’s concerns (Kyle, please feel free to comment below to expand on or correct anything):
- The time and infrastructure burden for reviewers and organizers is substantially more than for reviewing abstracts. This might make it harder to find reviewers and organizers.
- There is no culture of submitting conference papers for review in linguistics, and it’s a much greater time commitment/risk to prepare a paper to submit to a conference than to prepare an abstract. Could this discourage linguists from submitting? (especially if there is another relevant conference whose submission only requires preparing an abstract?)
- It’s not clear how such publications should/would count for tenure and hiring purposes in linguistics departments. In many departments only journal publications count, and this kind of publication could preclude a journal publication.
It’s clear that this would be a novel approach for linguistics and that this approach could potentially discourage participation of linguists, which is not our goal. So, the other side of the equation is – is it worth it? What are the advantages of this approach and would these advantages outweigh these or other potential costs? I advocated for paper submission, hoping that peer-review would improve the quality of the work presented at the conference and have the potential to elevate the status of the papers published there as well as the status of the conference itself. Could this status be elevated enough for these papers to count as short journal papers, on par with brief articles or squibs in journals, for purposes of tenure-review and hiring in linguistics departments? And if not, how problematic is this?
What do you think about the relative risks and potential benefits of this approach? What other considerations are there?