Introduction from the Program Co-Chairs

We would like to introduce ourselves and our goals for NAACL HLT 2018.

Who are we?

Heng Ji is Edward P. Hamilton Development Chair Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her research expertise is on Information Extraction and Knowledge Base Population. She was selected as “Young Scientist” and a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Computing by the World Economic Forum in 2016 and 2017.

Amanda Stent is a NLP Architect at Bloomberg LP. Her background is in dialogue, discourse and natural language generation although she currently works on text analytics. She is president emeritus of SIGdial, is on the board of SIGGEN and is on the editorial board of the journal Dialogue and Discourse.

What are our goals for NAACL HLT 2018?

We have three primary goals for NAACL HLT 2018:

  • Construct a great program.
  • Manage the integrity and quality of the publication process.
  • Ensure broad participation.

We need your participation to meet these goals!

Goal 1: Construct a great program.

The job of program chairs is to put together a program presenting innovative research in the discipline that will stand the test of time.

We have recruited an exciting and interdisciplinary set of keynote speakers, and a broad set of area chairs and program committee members.

In coordination with the ACL 2018 program chairs, we have created new submission and review form questions designed to more clearly identify the different types of contribution a computational linguistics paper may describe, and to give authors and reviewers the ability to better discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these contributions. We will use this multi-faceted view of submissions to construct a broad program of papers.

How you can participate:

  • We need you to submit your best work (!
  • Keep an eye out for additional opportunities to contribute to the research program, which will be announced on this blog.

Goal 2: Manage the integrity and quality of the publication process.

The ACL community has had substantial discussion over the past 18 months around review load, double blind review and preprints1,2, the ethics of our discipline3 and even the definition of our field today4. We have designed our submission and review processes in response to these discussions.

  • NAACL HLT 2018 is the first ACL conference after the publication of new ACL guidelines for authors and reviewers designed to ensure the integrity of double blind review5. You will see questions on the submission and review forms designed to document that you are following these guidelines.
  • We also have specific NAACL HLT 2018 author guidelines6 designed to address important questions of data science ethics, in particular how we handle data. Look for an upcoming guest blog post going into further detail on how to balance open, reproducible science and data privacy and security.
  • In coordination with the ACL 2018 program chairs, we have created a more structured review form, designed to result in more informative reviews.
  • Finally, we are working to reduce the workload for area chairs and reviewers. Our goal is that each area chair will be responsible for no more than 30 papers, and each reviewer will receive no more than 3 papers to review.

How you can participate:

  • We have been sending out program committee invitations; if you have not received one and would like to be on our program committee please contact us at (and please check that your START email address is up to date).
  • With the ACL 2018 program chairs, we are inviting reviewers and authors to consent for reviews (suitably anonymized) to be contributed to a corpus that we as a discipline can use as part of our continuing self-examination. It is your choice to provide or withhold your consent. Look out for more information on this in an upcoming blog post.

Goal 3: Ensure broad participation.

NAACL (along with other ACL conferences) is experiencing explosive growth. We want to ensure that our community remains welcoming. As program co-chairs for NAACL HLT 2018, we are especially interested in ensuring that all those who have been published in NAACL have the opportunity to contribute in other ways (such as reviewing). We will document these efforts in upcoming blog posts.

We also want to “demystify” the process of putting together a research conference program, so we will be blogging about our processes and ideas for how to scale these processes with the conference.

Finally, although it is relevant to far more than the research program, note that NAACL HLT 2018 will be a family-friendly conference, and will adhere to the ACL anti-harassment policy.

How you can participate:

  • Look out for upcoming blog posts reporting on our ideas for managing conference growth in data-driven ways.
  • Participate in upcoming surveys of our committees and authors.

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