SC has been a leader in tangible progress towards scientific rigor, through its pioneering practice of enhanced reproducibility of accepted papers. The SC21 initiative builds on this success by continuing the practice of using appendices to enhance scientific rigor and transparency.
The Reproducibility Initiative impacts technical papers and their submission and peer review in the following ways:
- The Artifact Description (AD) Appendix will be auto-generated from author responses to a standard form embedded in the online submission system. It will have greater emphasis on linking to the broader products resulting from research. The AD is required but an indication that no artifacts were created or used is acceptable. Accepted papers with available artifacts will be honored with the appropriate ACM badges. The final rules for badge eligibility are still pending.
- SC21 encourages, and for accepted papers, will evaluate and reward the availability and functionality of automated AE so that reviewers can easily reproduce a paper’s key results and claims with provided artifacts. While authors are strongly encouraged to make all artifacts publicly available, AE is open to artifacts that are not. Accepted papers with available artifacts will be honored with the appropriate ACM badges.
The Reproducibility Initiative accomplishes its work through the following three committees:
- Artifact Description/Artifact Evaluation Appendices Committee
- Reproducibility Challenge Committee
- Journal Special Issue Committee
SC Reproducibility Subcommittees
AD/AE Appendices Track
This subcommittee has the following tasks within its charge:
- Manage and/or develop reproducibility FAQ and other resources as aid to authors during submission. Could include one-on-one assistance with prospective author.
- Develop and publicly release a rubric for reviewing appendices. This release will occur prior to the paper submission deadline.
- Review the appendices of submitted papers according to the rubric. Provide a justified assessment to the PC who will incorporate this recommendation into their final determination.
This subcommittee has the following tasks within its charge:
- Select a paper accepted to the previous conference to be used as source of the Reproducibility Challenge in the Student Cluster Competition (SCC) of the next conference;
- Work with the authors of the selected paper to build the challenge benchmark for the SCC teams;
Continue working until the time of the conference in crafting the rules and requirements for the challenge, and ensure compatibility with the various hardware used by the SCC teams;
- Convene a subgroup to collect publish-quality reports from each student team who participated in the reproducibility challenge of SCC. The reports in this collection will have a citable DOI and be made available through an archive venue.
AD/AE Appendix Form: Its Role in a Paper and Its Review
All manuscripts submitted to the SC Technical Papers program must contain an AD Appendix. The AD Appendix describes the significant research products and other evidence needed for greater scientific and transparency of the scientific conclusions of the manuscript. If a manuscript’s scientific findings have no significant supporting research products or require no additional evidence in support of its scientific conclusions, the AD appendix can easily be generated to reflect this fact. That is, the AD form is mandatory but the author makes the determination whether additional evidence is needed for their particular scientific contribution..
The AE Appendix is optional but authors are strongly encouraged to provide AE resources and workflows that reviewers can easily evaluate for availability, functionality, and their support for claimed key results. Even though the AD/AE review process strongly encourages publicly available artifacts, it is open to artifacts that are not.
Role of AD/AE Appendix during review: Submissions to SC are double-blind reviewed. SC Papers Committee (PC) reviewers will have only the information in the AD/AE form available to them that does not compromise the double-blind protection.
The AD/AE Appendices Committee will develop and publicly release a rubric for reviewing appendices. Only Appendices of accepted papers are reviewed according to the rubric.
Additional notes to authors:
- The on-line submission form accommodates both Artifact Description (required) and Artifact Evaluation (optional).
- The appendices are intended for supplemental material only. Specifically, the research or experimental methodology is critical to understanding the scientific contribution so must be included in the body of the paper.
- Please contact us with your questions.
History of the SC Reproducibility Initiative
SC expanded the Initiative to transparency and reproducibility to reflect scientific rigor through disclosure particularly in research involving AI. The AD Appendix was streamlined for reduced researcher burden and to align with open science principles. An additional track undertook a formal survey of community sentiment about SC reproducibility with the objective of publishable results. The majority of survey participants who went through the AD/AE Appendices process expressed that they now think differently about theirs and others’ research after having gone through the process.
AD Appendices were mandatory for all submissions. AE Appendices were still optional, and both were submitted via a standard form in the conference submission system. Three new Technical Program tracks, with their respective committees and chairs, were introduced in support of the SC Reproducibility Initiative.
SC extended the option of submitting AD Appendices to Workshops and Posters. The CRA Appendix was renamed Artifact Evaluation (AE) Appendix, and limited to four pages. AD Appendices were limited to 2 pages and remained optional (but required for consideration as Best Paper/Best Student Paper, and also Best Poster/Best Student Poster).
SC made the AD Appendix a requirement to be considered for the Best Paper or Best Student Paper awards. SC17 also introduced the Computational Results Analysis (CRA) Appendix. 40% of submitted and 50% of accepted papers included an AD appendix; nine submitted papers (six accepted) included a CRA Appendix.
Authors submitting to the SC16 conference could optionally submit an AD Appendix: nine authors submitted one, three were finalists, and one was selected to become the source for the SC17 Student Cluster Competition Reproducibility Challenge.
The SC steering committee approved the reproducibility initiative. Authors of SC15 papers were invited to submit an AD Appendix after the conference: one paper did so, became the source for the SC16 Student Cluster Competition Reproducibility Challenge and the first SC paper to display an ACM badge.