ACM SIGCOMM 2021, virtually (online)
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Submission Instructions

The ACM SIGCOMM 2021 conference seeks papers making significant research contributions to the field of data communication networks and networked systems. The conference takes a broad view of networking research. Please see the Call for Papers for a list of topics of particular relevance.

Paper submissions typically report novel results firmly substantiated by experimentation, simulation, and/or analysis. As an aid to the community, the SIGCOMM website provides useful advice to authors planning to submit to SIGCOMM conferences.

To submit a paper to the SIGCOMM 2021 conference, please read the rest of this document regarding paper formatting, registration, anonymity, and other important issues relevant to your submission.

Then use the paper submission site to:

  • Register your abstract by Jan 20, 2021, 16:59 EST.
  • Submit your paper by Jan 27, 2021, 16:59 EST.
These are hard deadlines and no extensions will be given.

Paper Formatting

All submissions must obey the following formatting requirements.

  • Paper bodies (all content before references and appendices) must be no more than twelve (12) single–spaced pages, including figures and tables, followed by as many pages as necessary for references and optional appendices. Papers whose pre-reference content is longer than 12 pages will not be reviewed.
  • Reviewers are not required to read any appendices or consider them in their review. Authors should thus ensure that the core paper is complete and self-contained. For example, if the appendix provides details of a proof or experiment, the body should summarize the key result.
  • The paper body must include some statement about ethical considerations. This could be simply the sentence “This work does not raise any ethical issues”, or where relevant (for example, but not exclusively, a paper involving human subjects), the discussion may be more detailed.
  • If submitting to the experience-track, authors should indicate as such in the submission form and paper title.
  • Papers must be formatted for printing on Letter-sized (8.5” by 11”) paper. Paper text blocks must follow ACM guidelines: double-column, with each column 9.25” by 3.33”, 0.33” space between columns. Each column must use 10-point font or larger, and contain no more than 55 lines of text.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your submission satisfies the above requirements. If you are using LaTeX, you may make use of this template for ACM conference proceedings. With the older versions of this template you must add “10pt” to the documentclass command to meet the submission requirements. The current template sets 10pt by default. (Unlike the official template, it only includes an example for conference proceedings.)

Your goal as an author is to produce a clearly readable submission within the above constraints. Authors are strongly discouraged from violating the formatting requirements with the aim of including additional material: submissions that violate the formatting requirements may not be reviewed. You can visually inspect a page-by-page report of your paper format using the same tool as the submission system via a separate online form.

After the submission deadline, we will use the same tool to check the conformance of papers. The format checking tool uses heuristics and can make mistakes. The PC chairs will manually inspect and possibly reject those papers with evident format violations.

Please make sure that your submitted paper satisfies the following:

  • You must list the submission number and the number of pages (ideally) in your paper in the author block, e.g., “Paper #N, 12 pages body, 14 pages total”, beneath your title. Registering your title, abstract, etc., will provide a paper submission number. Per the anonymity guidelines, you must remove any author names.
  • You must provide an abstract, and it should be of no more than 200 words.
  • You must number the pages.
  • You must submit papers in PDF (Portable Document Format) and ensure that they are compatible with Adobe Acrobat (English version). Other formats, including Postscript, will not be accepted. Avoid using non-standard fonts. The PC must be able to display and print your submission exactly as we receive it using only standard tools and printers, so we strongly suggest that you use only standard fonts that are embedded in the PDF file.
  • You should ensure that the paper prints well on black-and-white printers, not color printers. Pay particular attention to figures and graphs in the paper to ensure that they are legible without color. Explicitly using grayscale colors will provide best control over how graphs and figures will print on black-and-white printers.
  • You should ensure that labels and symbols used in graphs and figures are legible, including the font sizes of tick marks, axis labels, legends, etc.
  • You should limit the file size to less than 15 MB. Contact the PC chairs if you have a file larger than 15 MB.

Paper Metadata and Conflicts

As part of the paper registration, authors will be required to provide paper metadata which includes title and abstract, author names, affiliations, contact email addresses, topics matching the subject matter of the paper, track (main or operational systems), and conflicts with program committee (PC) members.

Broadly, we define conflict of interest with a PC member using the following principles:

  1. You are currently employed at the same institution, have been previously employed at the same institution within the last 12 months, or are going to begin employment at the same institution.
  2. You have a professional partnership as follows:
    • Past or present association as thesis advisor or advisee.
    • Collaboration on a project, publication, or grant proposal within the past 2 years (i.e., 2019 or later).

The PC chairs and members will review conflicts to ensure the integrity of the reviewing process, adding conflicts where necessary and sanity checking cases where conflicts do not appear justified. If there is no basis for PC conflicts provided by authors, those conflicts will be removed. Improperly identifying PC members as a conflict to avoid individual reviewers may lead to your paper being rejected. If you have concerns, please contact the PC chairs.

Paper Anonymity

All submitted papers will be judged based on their quality and relevance through double-blind reviewing, where the identities of the authors are withheld from the reviewers. As an author, you are required to make a good-faith effort to preserve the anonymity of your submission, while at the same time allowing the reader to fully grasp the context of related past work, including your own. Common sense and careful writing will go a long way towards preserving anonymity. Minimally, please take the following steps when preparing your submission:

  • Remove the names and affiliations of authors from the title page. For experience-track papers, it is OK (but not necessary) to reveal company or system names but NOT author names; this applies to both the title block and the main body of the paper.
  • Remove acknowledgment of identifying names and funding sources.
  • Use care in naming your files. Source file names (e.g., “Alice-n-Bob.dvi”) are often embedded in the final output as readily accessible comments.
  • Use care in referring to related work, particularly your own. Do not omit references to provide anonymity, as this leaves the reviewer unable to grasp the context. Instead, reference your past work in the third person, just as you would any other piece of related work by another author.
  • Do not embed pointers to external sources (e.g., public GitHub repositories) that leak author identity or affiliation.

In addition to submitting an anonymized paper, double-blind reviewing requires that both authors and reviewers take care while reviewing is happening.

  • Authors are welcome to release their paper in a non-peer-reviewed location (such as a technical report by your institution or arXiv), but you should not broadcast information about the publication widely. For example, do not post it to large mailing lists or social media forums where PC members would easily encounter it, and do not do general press releases. Authors are also welcome to talk about their work (as work-in-progress) at local institutions. In either case, authors should be aware of PC members who might encounter the work and avoid sharing the work in a way that a PC member would encounter it.
  • PC members and other reviewers are expected to not actively attempt to deanonymize papers. In either case, if there is a breach of double-blind reviewing, the author and the reviewer should report it to the PC chairs.

Ethics Considerations

All papers must include, in the main body of the paper, a statement about ethical issues; papers that don’t include such a statement may be rejected. This could be, if appropriate for the paper, simply the sentence “This work does not raise any ethical issues.” If the work involves human subjects or potentially sensitive data (e.g., user traffic or social network information, evaluation of censorship, etc.), the paper should clearly discuss these issues, perhaps in a separate subsection.

Papers must follow basic precepts of ethical research and subscribe to community norms. These include respect for privacy, secure storage of sensitive data, voluntary and informed consent if human subjects are involved or other people are placed at risk, avoiding deceptive practices when not essential, beneficence (maximizing the benefits to an individual or to society while minimizing potential harm to an individual), and risk mitigation. Authors may want to consult the Menlo Report and the ACM ethics policy for further information on ethical principles, and they may find the Allman/Paxson paper in IMC 2007 helpful for a perspective on ethical data sharing.

Many organizations have an ethics review process (sometimes called an Institutional Review Board, IRB). In some cases, research work may clearly have no human subjects, and formal institutional review may not be required. (However, a sentence in the paper stating this evaluation is still required.) In many cases, IRB involvement is appropriate. IRB approval of research is an important factor (and should be mentioned), but the program committee will independently evaluate the ethical soundness of the work just as they evaluate its technical soundness.

The PC takes a broad view of what constitutes an ethical concern, and the PC chairs may reach out to authors during the review process if questions arise.

Paper Novelty

Under no circumstances, except where noted below, should authors submit previously-published work, submit the same work simultaneously to multiple venues, or submit papers that plagiarize the work of other authors. Like other conferences and journals, SIGCOMM prohibits these practices and may take action against authors who have engaged in them. In some cases, the program committee may share information about submitted papers with other conference chairs and journal editors to ensure the integrity of papers under consideration. If the PC discovers a violation of these principles, sanctions may include, but are not limited to, contacting the institutions of the authors and publicizing the details of the case.

Work that extends an author's previous workshop paper is welcome, but in their submitted SIGCOMM paper the author(s) should (a) acknowledge their own previous workshop publication with an anonymous citation (e.g., "[7] Anonymized workshop paper") and (b) explain the differences between the SIGCOMM submission and the prior workshop paper. In addition, the online submission form will require authors to submit the deanonymized citation and a short explanation of the differences from the prior workshop paper. The SIGCOMM PC will review such extended versions of previously-published workshop papers in accordance with the SIGCOMM policy and the ACM Plagiarism Policy.

The ACM policy on simultaneous submissions does not consider technical reports (including arXiv) to be concurrent publication or submission.

Paper Acceptance

The SIGCOMM 2021 PC will notify authors of acceptance/rejection decisions by May 3, 2021. All accepted papers will be shepherded by members of the PC. Authors of accepted papers should plan to interact with their shepherds immediately after notification, and to budget sufficient time between acceptance notification and the camera-ready deadline to coordinate with their shepherd. It is a requirement that the paper be considered acceptable to the assigned shepherd so that the updates to the paper reflect the issues raised by the PC (conflicts will be mediated by the PC chairs) before the paper is considered “accepted” to appear in the conference proceedings. In addition, the publisher of the SIGCOMM proceedings will review all accepted papers submitted for the camera-ready deadline. Authors should also budget sufficient time immediately after the camera-ready deadline to be available and responsive to any editing changes requested by the publisher.

After acceptance, substantive changes to paper titles require approval by the PC chairs. Only in exceptional circumstances should authors change their author list, and only with the approval of the PC chairs.

Authors of accepted papers will also need to sign an ACM copyright-release form. All rejected papers will be treated as permanently confidential.

Contact the PC chairs