Brave New World at so called High Quality Conferences

In many technical fields, particularly related to computer science, it is commone that only about 15% research papers are accepted at the conference. The acceptance percentage is so low because it is considered that by making it difficult to get papers accepted, the quality of research presented at the conference is improved. Is it really correct?

I have been involved in this game for long time and have seen this trend strengthen and come to the stage where it has become more-or-less contrary to its goal. The papers accepted at all such conferences are incremental ideas presented to look rigorous (mathematically or experimentally). Everybody knows that given the selection standards most new ideas get rejected — the bias is towards (mathematical or experimental) rigor rather than innovative and exciting idea. Many research communities are discussing this problem. It is almost certain that a research paper on new innovative ideas will be rejected as not rigorous or showing adhoc ideas or being too early for a ‘high class’ conference. I am amused how some of the most innovative ideas were rejected at the very conferences where they were firsat time submitted, where the work done on that idea dominates the conference withi only 5-10 years of the original paper being declared as ‘unacceptable’.

To encourage presentation of innovative ideas, a concept of Brave New World was introduced to solve this problem. As with most things at such conferences, it has become more a mechanism to organize special topic sessions rather than presenting innovative concepts. People propose (so called) Brave New Topics and a committee reviews them and then selects them so the organizers can get some papers collected on that topic from other researchers. Now if the topic is so new that only some people have been thinking, how would others know about those and have enough work done to have research papers in that area?

Clearly, this is not working. Some other models have to be developed to make high quality technical conferences a place where nurturing of innovative ideas begins, rather than keeping on doing more of the same. What could be done?

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