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Communications of the ACM


Are CS Conferences (Too) Closed Communities?

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Publication in top conferences is a key factor, albeit controversial,3,4 in the dissemination of ideas and career promotion in many areas of computer science. Therefore, it is a major goal for every CS researcher. However, many researchers believe publishing in a top conference is something reserved for the established members of the conference community. For newcomers, this is a tough nut to crack. Indeed, when talking with fellow researchers the assumed unspoken truth is always the same: If you are not one of "them," you have no chance to get "in" on your own.

If this were true, it would imply that senior researchers wishing to change fields during their research career may have a difficult time doing so. And the impact would be even more dramatic for junior researchers: they could only access top venues by going together with their supervisor, limiting their options to make a name for themselves—exactly the opposite of what evaluation committees typically require from candidates. Indeed, candidates are supposed to show their ability to propose and develop valid research lines independently of their supervisor, even better if it is in a slightly different research field and hence in a different community.


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