TL;DR

Publishing papers take time. If you want to publish in a good venue, it takes even more time. Start as early as you can.

I often tell students that they should submit papers to good conferences. During my Ph.D., I think I have submitted to some good conferences. This is a rant about my submissions, while a Ph.D. student. I remember submitting a reasonable number of paper. Most of them were through easychair, which I can see 21 submissions during 2011-2015 (I graduated in Feb 2015). Among them, 11 papers were accepted. I learnt a lot while working on them, although I’m really proud of less than half of them. Let’s tell the story.

During my first year, I just made one submission. It was to Workshop on Transitioning to Multicore (TMC’2011). It was co-located with SPLASH, a prestigious SE+PL conference. During that time, I was looking for a problem to work on, and my advisor was interested at better understanding the state of the use of Java’s concurrency constructs. The workshop was a perfect fit. I worked in this paper for months in a row, and I remember working intensively on it during the deadline week. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t sleep trying to finish a paper. My English was terrible at the time and somehow I was responsible for writing most of the stuff. The paper had only 6 pages, and we had a ton of data (needless to say that we didn’t understand some numbers). At the end, the paper was conditionally accepted – and I was super excited about it. As of 2017, it’s on the top-5 of my most cited papers. I’m really proud of what I learnt during the process. That was it for 2011.

In 2012, I submitted four papers. One to FASE (rejected; and I don’t even recall), one to EASE (accepted), one to TISE (rejected, I don’t recall either), and another one to ICSM (rejected). I don’t have a major merit for the acceptance of the EASE paper, I just helped reviewing some papers (it is a systematic literature review). The ICSM is another story. It was an extended version of the TMC paper. 10 pages long, much more comprehensive and polished. Again, this submission made me go to bed after 7am. The paper was rejected, and I started to dislike this paper.

It was 2013 and I was scratching a problem for my Ph.D. I submitted an early version of it to SBLP (a Brazilian PL conference), and it was brutally rejected (scored 0, -2 and -3). That was shocking. I thought I had a competitive paper, but I was wrong. I kept working on it, aiming at PLATEU, another workshop co-located with SPLASH. At the day of the deadline, my advisor called me and said that we must withdraw our submission (we have submitted an abstract). He thought that the paper was so bad that does not even deserve be submitted to this workshop (I also have another last minute canceled paper. But this time I turned down the submission (we were aiming at GREENS, a workshop co-located with ICSE)). I kept working on this paper, and we submitted it to CSMR (reject) and afterwards to ECOOP (rejected). Four rejections in a row. I also submitted to the Workshop on Refactoring Tools (WRT) – co-located with SPLASH. This was my first submission without my advisor. It was also my first study targeting StackOverflow. Reviewers seem to like it (scored 2, 3, and 3), and it got into. Although naive, I like this paper.

2014 was the beginning of the end. My advisor liked my WRT paper, and suggested to do the same, but now targeting my Ph.D. subject. We did and submitted to MSR (accepted). This was my first paper related to my Ph.D. – and it was accepted one year before graduating! In parallel, I kept working on the SBLP/PLATEU/CSMR/ECOOP paper. This time, we submitted to OOPSLA, and we made it (YAY!). The second paper related to my Ph.D. was accepted – and I’m very proud of it. I did another spin off, and submitted to OSS (accepted). This was my first paper targeting Github. Still, I submitted a paper to SEPS (another SPLASH co-located workshop, do you see the pattern?). It was accepted, related to my thesis, and invited to submit an extended version. We submitted it right afterwards – three main chapters done.

In 2015, in cooperation with another students, I submitted to MSR (accepted) and to FASE (accepted; this time I remember). Although I like both of these papers, the FASE paper is very dear to my heart. However, none of them helped me graduating. I also submitted to SANER (former CSMR), but it was rejected. Remember the TMC/ICSM paper? In 2015 we submitted it to JSS (accepted). The complete story of this paper can be found at my advisor blog post. In 2015 I start submitting more regularly (the rejected SANER paper was also rejected at SBLP, but accepted at PLATEU), but it was after my Ph.D.

It is April 2017, and I got another contribution of my Ph.D. accepted last month. We submitted it twice to IEEE SW (twice rejected), to IST (rejected), but it landed at CACM (YAY!). The first submission to CACM was more than one year after graduating. I still have one chapter of my Ph.D. thesis not published. We got rejections at ASPLOS and FSE. I think it is a strong paper, and it will eventually be accepted somewhere (maybe 3 years after my Ph.D.!).

Although I missed some submitted papers (I remember submitting to GPCE and PLDI, but they are nowhere to be found), this list is pretty much comprehensive. Tell your story too :-)