The relative merits (and problems) of the conference and journal publication models are an ubiquitous topic of conversation at almost every conference/workshop I’ve ever attended. It’s been great to see lots of experiments with adjustments to the models in recent years at, e.g., ICML, VLDB, SIGGRAPH, etc. For various reasons, these venues have been willing and able to be quite bold at experimenting with the publication models and creating various “jourference” hybrids.
It seems that the success of these experiments may now have given birth to a broader solution. This month’s CACM outlines a proposal for a new approach toward merging conference and journal publication models in CS. They also devote a point/counterpoint to a discussion of the relative merits of the proposal. If you haven’t yet seen it, give it a read and be sure to fill out the survey afterwards. This is a crucial issue for the CS community in my mind.
To put myself out there a bit — I think the proposal is a great option for CS, and I hope that we can move to a model like this across the ACM. I think the conference publication model is great at allowing fast publication and creating a sense of community in different research areas, but that it has lots of very significant issues that come from the lack of time for revisions to address reviewer comments and the challenge of creating “journal versions” after the fact (duplicated review effort, awkwardness in assessing novelty, etc.). As anyone who has worked at the interface of CS and other fields knows, this issue creates significant hurdles for visibility — especially for students — while also leading to significant duplication of reviewing effort from the community.