Guidelines about Workshops


SIGPLAN-sponsored conferences often organize a program of affiliated workshops in addition to the main conference programme. These workshops are beneficial to the community—attracting participants, fostering discussion, encouraging students, and so on—and are strongly supported by SIGPLAN.

By and large, there are two kinds of such workshops. In a nutshell, the first kind require SIGPLAN EC approval, have a PC, use the SIGPLAN name, and any proceedings should go in the ACM DL; the second kind require approval only by the conference organizers and not by SIGPLAN EC, need not have a PC, may not use the SIGPLAN name, and should not publish proceedings. For want of better terms, in this document we call them SIGPLAN-approved workshops and conference-approved workshops.

SIGPLAN-approved workshops

Prescriptions:

  • A SIGPLAN-approved workshop has a call for submissions and a submission deadline.
  • Submissions are evaluated by a Programme Committee, and thus subject to peer review.
  • The Programme Committee respects the SIGPLAN Diversity Policy.
  • The proposal for a SIGPLAN-approved workshop, including the composition of the Programme Committee, is approved by the SIGPLAN Executive Committee.
  • If there is a proceedings of any kind, the proceedings must be lodged in the ACM Digital Library, and the papers in it are considered published.

Suggestions:

  • SIGPLAN-approved workshops are usually but not necessarily colocated with a SIGPLAN host conference.
  • The “submissions” need not be full papers - they may be abstracts, talk proposals, etc.
  • The workshop organizers may choose for there to be no proceedings.
  • The workshop may use the SIGPLAN name in its title and the SIGPLAN logo on its materials.

Conference-approved workshops

Prescriptions:

  • A conference-approved workshop is organized under the aegis of a SIGPLAN host conference.
  • Accepted submissions are not published in any way, and not lodged in the ACM Digital Library.
  • A conference-approved workshop may not use the SIGPLAN name or logo. It may, however, use the name of the host conference.

Suggestions:

  • If there are submitted or accepted papers, workshop organizers are encouraged to keep them short; from two to six 2-column ACM pages is often appropriate.
  • Organizers may wish to select participants by explicitly soliciting abstracts or position statements, and directly issuing invitations to panellists or discussion leaders.
  • Although a conference-approved workshop may not collect submissions into a proceedings, it may create a “workshop summary” that is not peer-reviewed, but which is included within the host conference “companion” or posted on a web site. The summary may include talk abstracts, talk slides, talk videos, and other information intended as an informal record of the workshop. These materials are not considered published, and they are not expected to be cited in future publications. (That is, subsequent authors may choose to cite these materials, as they may for any other “grey literature”, but they need not.)

Commentary

  • Whether SIGPLAN-approved or conference-approved, workshops located alongside a larger conference are typically organized through the host conference, either via the General Chair of the host conference or by delegation to a Workshops Chair.
  • A conference-approved workshop need not have a Programme Committee or a Call for Papers; it might be just a Birds-of-a-Feather session.
  • Accepted submissions often present work in progress for early access. Some will subsequently be extended into full papers for submission and peer review elsewhere.
  • In accordance with the SIGPLAN Republication Policy, if it is the intention that presentation at the workshop should not preclude publication elsewhere, then this should be clearly stated in the call for papers and in any workshop record.
  • A conference-approved workshop is not subject to approval by the SIGPLAN Executive Committee; it is sufficient for the organizers of the host conference to be satisfied as to the workshop’s quality and integrity.
  • Both kinds of workshop are valuable, and SIGPLAN encourages them equally. But clarity about the two distinct kinds is valuable too, and intermediate arrangements risk causing confusion among the community. SIGPLAN does not endorse hybrids, such as workshops with proceedings in the DL but no formal CFP or no PC, or full papers in the DL that are not intended to be considered as “formally published”.

Guidelines for workshop organizers

If you want to organize a SIGPLAN-sponsored workshop, by far the simplest way to do so is as part of a SIGPLAN-sponsored conference; otherwise, the effort of managing the finances is likely to be out of proportion with the size of the event. The main four SIGPLAN conferences (POPL, PLDI, ICFP, SPLASH) each have a Workshops Chair and a formal Call for Workshop Proposals; submit your proposal in response to this call, and the Workshops Chair will guide you through the process of setting up your workshop. For the other SIGPLAN conferences, the role of Workshops Chair is usually played by the General Chair; you should contact them directly, as there need be no formal call for proposals.

The primary decision you need to make is whether your workshop should be “SIGPLAN-approved” or “conference-approved”, in the sense discussed above. If you intend for submissions to be polished papers, lodged in the DL for posterity, and permanently citable, you should go the “SIGPLAN-approved” route; you will need to select a Programme Committee, have it approved by SIGPLAN EC, distribute a call for papers, review submissions, and so on. If instead you want to attract work in progress, and do not want to discourage authors from submitting substantially the same work as a full paper elsewhere, then you might go the “conference-approved” route.

Warning for organizers of conference-approved workshops: You may choose to make submissions publicly available, for example on a workshop webpage. But do note that although SIGPLAN encourages presentation and discussion of work in progress in this way, it has no control over subsequent publication venues. So the only way to be sure that a submission of work in progress does not preclude later publication of a closely related paper is not to make the submissions publicly available.

Instructions for Workshop Chairs

  • Decide on a timeline for proposals. Consider having a deadline for early decisions on a gathered field of proposals, followed by first-come first-served decisions as space permits about later proposals.
  • The host conference should manage the finances of sponsored workshops; liaise with the General Chair about this.
  • Distribute a Call for Workshop Proposals widely. You want to encourage new workshops, as well as repeats of previous years’.
  • You may choose to invite proposals for SIGPLAN-approved workshops, conference-approved workshops, or both.
  • SIGPLAN-approved workshops need approval from SIGPLAN EC, so you should collect from proposers at least the information listed under How to Apply on the Guidelines for Sponsored Events page—except for item 10 on finances. Collate this information and submit it to the SIGPLAN Vice Chair for approval.
  • Conference-approved workshops need only the approval of the conference General Chair. Note that such informal workshops cannot use the name “SIGPLAN” in their title, nor the SIGPLAN logo on their webpage. Submissions will not appear in the ACM DL, although a combined “workshop summary” may do so.
  • Don’t forget that workshop presenters are eligible to apply for the PAC Fund; you may want to encourage organizers to mention this in the CFP.