RE: A Cry
for More Tech
The Blogpost in the March + April
issue of interactions by Kristina
Höök, technical program chair for
CHI 2012, struck a nerve. While
the column starts out well, the
direction it heads down isn’t that
fruitful. Here’s my view: People
don’t bring tech to CHI because CHI
doesn’t respect tech (in pretty much
any form: novel tech, systems that
test new tech, among others).
As a tech-oriented researcher, I
cannot get papers published easily
at CHI. I’ve had a few, but those
were outliers that only “squeaked”
in. The metrics CHI reviewers use
for tech papers are not appropriate
for technology-focused research.
(Where’s the study? Where’s
the killer app for this tech, validated by ethno-whatever studies of some important domain?)
Indeed, “real” tech papers have
such a low chance of acceptance
at CHI that nobody in their right
mind would submit them to the
conference. I think the CHI community knows and largely accepts
this, which is why conferences
like UIST were created. Fine.
But the idea that the same folks
should bring their demos to CHI
and show them off is absurd. A
CHI demo is not refereed; therefore,
our peers do not respect it. Doing a
demo at a conference, when you
have a paper published about
the work, is great. You have a
respected contribution, and you
are letting folks experience it.
But just doing a demo at CHI
is like paying a ton of money to
be a “dancing bear” in a circus.
If the CHI research community
does not want the work in the
papers track, why would technology researchers go to the
extreme trouble and significant
expense of doing a demo at CHI?
It’s much more economical and
effective to do demos at conferences that will publish the work.
So there you have it. If you want
technology at CHI, start accepting the work into the papers
track, and stop trying to create
new venues for dancing bears.
School of Interactive Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology
I totally agree! This is why
CHI changed this year, electing to have two kinds of demos:
“only” demo and paper + demo. I
think the Interactivity chairs
worked really hard to raise the
level of demos as well as raise
the respectability of them.
I do wish we could make the
demos archival, and not just
refer to papers as archival and
demos as “add-ons.” But how can
we make them archival? And
how can we raise their status?
This is a really important discussion. Right now, we are having
it behind the scenes of CHI. I
wish we could bring it out into
the open. I believe that CHI will
become less relevant unless and
until we address this situation.
Small Steps First
I’m curious as to why demos are
perceived as not peer reviewed?
I am one of the co-chairs of the
Interactivity Explorations track
at CHI this year. We went to great
deal of effort to assemble a cast
of high-quality reviewers for this
track. Submissions went through
a rigorous reviewing process (with
a minimum of three reviews
per), except in cases where we
invited works and the authors
were happy to not go through
the review process. In these
May + June 2012