A petition to re-evaluate the reviewing process for the VSS 2011 sign now

As some of you may have found, and as we just discovered, some VSS abstracts are now being rejected. We have several objections to this new policy and we hope, if you agree, that you will sign this petition that we will send to the board of VSS.

There is another note to explain my personal motivation behind this petition, at: http://neuro.caltech.edu/publications/VSS_petition_background.pdf

1. Basic objection. Bad policy for the vision science community.

The previous policy was that all but a few abstracts were accepted. This created an inclusive atmosphere of a community that welcomed all who were interested in vision science. After all, if a poster is not interesting, we can walk by it and it causes no harm. Talks have been reviewed selectively as these slots are limited but posters are much less limited and should remain open to all. Many of us cannot travel to the conference if the abstract is not accepted and this is a serious consequence of what, near the border of acceptance/rejection, must be a random choice.

2. Criterion objection.

The criterion given for rejection in many cases is that the abstract was out of scope. We are not sure what the scope is. What is the scope, where is it laid out so we can check before submitting. Who defines this scope and how can it change to reflect the changing interests of our community. Is it like obscenity, impossible to define but you know it when you see it. Or is there a principled definition that we can all agree on. At the moment, it does not seem to be a public definition and this can only cause disagreement and confusion and will undoubtedly trigger endless debate at the VSS business meetings where different groups will argue whether their new topic is included in the scope of the meeting. Think a moment about topics such as motion, illusory contour, attention, visual memory, locomotion, arm-reaching, faces, etc. They were initially criticized as not vision, periphery to the VSS or out of scope, but then became hottest front edges where we kept discovering their functional relevance to, and direct links to, lower/middle level vision. This year, our topics were Outside the scope, next year it may be yours. Do we really want to be fighting over this?

3) Size of meeting.

If rejections are mechanism to reduce the size of the meeting, the goal itself needs discussion first. If our community is growing, we should encourage and welcome the new arrivals, not turn them into disgruntled йmigrйs to other disciplines.

Proposal for action.

1) Reconsider the reviewing process. Reinstate no rejections.


2) If the VSS decides to continue rejections, provide a clear list of out of scope topics/subtopics beforehand, and have it under public discussion among the members.



Shinsuke Shimojo
Gertrude Baltimore Professor of Experimental Psychology, Division
of Biology; Option Representative, Computation and Neural Systems,
California Institute of Technology 139-74, Pasadena, CA 91125.
[email protected], http://neuro.caltech.edu

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  • 28 August 2014207. Craig A
    Institution Bradford School of Optometry & Vision Science, GB I have no problem with abstracts being rejected because they lack scientific merit, or for ethical considerations, or indeed because they are "out of scope". But in the latter case, "scope
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    Institution University of Otago I know one fine young vision scientist who was considering attending VSS next year who now will not because they don't want to risk having a submission rejected AFTER having paid a non-refundable membership fee. Don't make

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Melvin OrtizBy:
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Petition target:
VSS 2011 Attendees

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