2011Q3 Reports: Mentoring Chairs

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Report on ACL HLT 2011 Mentoring

Tim Baldwin (Mentoring Chair)

In total, we received 2 long paper and 2 short paper submissions for the ACL mentoring service. There was also a demo paper submission, but it did not conform to the ACL style requirements (it was way too long and in single column), and when I requested that the author rewrite and resubmit within the 3 days before the submission deadline, they informed me that they wouldn't have time, and the paper was withdrawn from mentoring. We didn't receive any submissions for CoNLL or any of the workshops.

General comments/observations:

  • In my experience, authors not using style files, and ignoring submission guidelines, was a big issue (most papers were in violation, about half in flagrant violation of the guidelines). For those in flagrant violation, I insisted the authors redo them before sending them out to mentors (even if this meant I had to give them another couple of days extension to get their act together), as it seemed a waste of the mentors' time to review a paper which was already way over/under length.
  • I actually ended up recruiting mentors after receiving submissions, to be able to tailor the mentor selection to the paper. This has the advantage of potentially better fit between the mentor and the paper, but the disadvantage of having to find people in quick time, and I actually ended up mentoring one paper myself due after spending a week approaching different mentors without success (given that the papers aren't anonymised, I decided this wasn't inappropriate)
  • As a proposal for future ACLs, it may be worth tracking the mentored papers through the submission process, and potentially have the mentor go over the reviewer comments with the author(s) (anonymously or otherwise) to better close the loop on the process (esp. to help them understand the comments, and hopefully not be too discouraged by any negative comments). This might be a useful feedback mechanism for ACL as well, in scoping out how useful the mentoring process is to authors, and also possibly getting explicit feedback from authors on the mentoring process, to inform mentoring efforts in future years.