ECRTS 2021 introduces a novel flexible page limit. This page explains the intention behind the policy and gives precise rules that submitted papers must abide by. The spirit of the rules is further illustrated with answers to some hypothetical questions.
Rationale and Intention
We believe that scientists should focus on the content of their papers, rather than worry about formatting tricks and layout micro-optimizations to squeeze the last few paragraphs under a given hard page limit. Authors should invest their time into making papers better and more appealing to readers, not into fighting LaTeX to comply with arbitrary page limits. Rather than policing formatting violations “with an iron fist,” the flexible page limit is aimed at reducing the incentive for space hacks in the first place.
To be clear, concision is a hallmark of good academic writing, and authors are still expected to make every effort to keep their conference papers as brief as possible to best serve readers. The flexible page limit is intended to take the stress out of the last couple of sentences spilling onto an extra page, not to invite excessive amounts of content that clearly exceed the limits of a conference paper.
Flexible Page Limit Rules
All submissions must use the LIPIcs standard conference format. The following page counts are to be understood in context of the LIPIcs conference style.
- Authors are encouraged to be as concise as possible. There is no minimum length.
- The expected length of typical papers is 15 pages of content (not counting title page and references, but including all technical content, also any appendices).
- There is no hard page limit. Authors may choose to submit papers exceeding 15 pages of content if it helps to significantly improve the clarity and quality of the paper, subject to Rules 4–6 below.
- Papers with up to 18 pages of content do not require pre-approval by the PC chair. However, authors are encouraged to use fewer than 18 pages if reasonably possible.
- Longer submissions are permissible, provided authors justify the need to the PC chair (by email), and obtain a priori permission to submit a paper exceeding 18 pages of content.
- When requesting extra pages, please provide a largely content-complete draft of the manuscript showing it to be reasonably concise and a brief justification for why the additional content benefits readers (one paragraph max).
- Papers making use of this policy may be subject to extra-page fees (due to how LIPIcs, ECRTS’s publisher, determines its processing charges). Authors of accepted papers making use of the flexible page limit agree to covering the extra-page fee, if any, prior to publication (at the time of registration).
Questions and Answers
Can you give a couple of hypothetical examples where the flexible page limit is to be used?
- Suppose after careful editing for concision and clarity, a paper can be made to fit onto 15–18 pages only by omitting the table of notation that was thoughtfully added in an earlier revision to aid the reader. In this case, it’s preferable to submit a longer paper with the table of notation, as this will help to make the paper an easier read.
- Suppose after careful editing for concision and clarity, a paper can be made to fit on 15–18 pages only by truncating and severely compressing a previously thorough and insightful discussion of related work. In this case, it’s preferable to submit a longer paper containing the better, more comprehensive discussion of related work, as this aids the reader.
- Suppose after careful editing for concision and clarity, a paper can be made to fit onto 15–18 pages only by omitting the results of an experiment that show a certain modeling assumption to be valid. In this case, it’s preferable to submit a longer paper containing a description of the experiments justifying the modeling assumption as this improves the quality of the paper.
- Suppose after careful editing for concision and clarity, a paper can be made to fit onto 15–18 pages only by shrinking plots depicting results of an empirical evaluation so that they become very difficult to read without magnification. In this case, the interests of the readers are better served by submitting a slightly longer paper with properly-sized plots.
- Suppose after careful editing for concision and clarity, a paper can be made to fit onto 15–18 pages only by omitting an appendix that contains crucial details needed to allow the paper’s main experimental results to be reproduced. In this case, the scientific community is better served by inclusion of the appendix and submission of a slightly longer paper is hence preferable.
- Suppose after careful editing for concision and clarity, a paper can be made to fit onto 15–18 pages only by omitting an important but rather technical proof. In this case, the scientific community is better served by inclusion of the proof even if it requires some additional space.
Conversely, what would be a situation where the flexible page limit is not to be used?
- After realizing that the finished papers spans “only” 12 pages, adding another 3 pages of general philosophic reflections and historical perspective to make sure every single permissible page is fully used does not serve the reader’s interests. Do not dilute the contents of a paper; reader time is precious. There is absolutely no requirement to “use all pages.”
- Adding a general introduction to real-time systems and their role in cyber-physical systems as a preamble to the actual introduction is not in the interest of the expert reader. Keep papers concise and to the point.
- After realizing that the first draft of the final discussion section, even though it’s “waffling on” a bit and failing to make its points concisely, doesn’t push the paper past 18 pages, it’s not in the interest of the reader to just leave it like that. Authors should still aim for the highest standards when editing their papers and be respectful of their readers’ time.
- Adding an extra page to include a tangential discussion of a semi-related topic (with many superfluous citations…) does not serve the interests of the reader. Keep papers focused and to the point.
Can the paper have an appendix?
Yes. Appendices may be included for structural purposes at the discretion of the authors.
When counting “pages of content,” should I count pages in appendices as well? Will appendices be reviewed?
Yes. For the purpose of this policy, there is no difference between content in a regular section or an appendix. Any appendices fully count as content and are subject to peer review.
The LIPIcs style doesn’t have a separate title page. Do I need to insert a page break after the title, abstract, and author block?
No. The first page is excluded from the page count because it is mostly used up by the title, abstract, the author block, and metadata information. It is however not necessary to forcibly prevent any content from appearing on the first page.
Editing is hard. Is there any downside to not making my paper concise?
Absolutely. Badly edited papers are rarely perceived well by readers. Presentation issues are actually one of the most common reasons for papers to be rejected, as they easily lead to misunderstandings.
As usual, reviewers will be asked to comment on a paper’s presentation quality. Additionally, reviewers will be asked to comment on whether a submission’s length is appropriate for the presented material.
Why is there a pre-approval step for submissions exceeding 18 pages of content? Why not just accept papers of any length?
PC members volunteer their expertise and a rather large amount of their time to contribute peer reviews and are not permitted to skip over any content. The pre-approval requirement exists to prevent pathological situations that would burden individual peer reviewers with an undue load.
I really do need more than 18 pages. What should I send along when emailing the PC chair?
Please provide a largely content-complete draft of the manuscript showing it to be reasonably concise and a brief justification for why the additional content benefits readers (one paragraph max).
Based on which principles will (or will not) receive a paper permission to exceed 18 pages?
The guiding principle is “does including the extra content make the paper better for readers (who expect to read a conference paper), without overloading reviewers”?
If the answer to this question is a clear “yes”, then the request will be readily approved, especially if it’s just for 1–2 extra pages.
Generally speaking, there is no strict page limit, but every additional page requires an increasingly stronger justification.
I have this beautiful result with a proof that just inherently requires 30+ pages to be presented well. Should I submit this to ECRTS’21?
No. The flexible page limit gives some wiggle room, but it is not intended to “open the flood gates.” There is still a page limit, it’s just flexible.
While it stands to reason that not every argument, not every insight, fits into the confines imposed by a conference paper, the flexible page limit is not intended to address such long contributions. ECRTS’21 is still a conference and solicits conference paper submissions. There are other publication channels more appropriate for longer contributions that exceed the limits of a single conference paper (e.g., journals, monographs, book chapters, etc.).
Is this an opportunity to submit my dissertation / this 80-page survey / a long journal paper draft?
No. ECRTS’21 is still a conference and expects conference paper submissions.
Is this an opportunity to submit all 878 graphs from my schedulability study?
No. Material that is not discussed in detail in the paper should not be included in the submission.
Should I expand my evaluation section to 40 pages to discuss 80 graphs of the same thing?
No. This would clearly be inappropriate for a conference paper and does not represent a valid use of the flexible page limit.
Should I submit the scripts comprising my experimental setup as an appendix full of listings?
No. ECRTS has a separate artifact evaluation process that is more appropriate for this purpose.
Is this an opportunity to add a 20-page appendix with a tutorial on how to use technique X that features in my paper?
No. ECRTS’21 solicits research papers presenting new results. While tutorials are worthwhile and appreciated, ECRTS is not the most appropriate venue for their dissemination. Such a tutorial should be provided separately and, when necessary, cited in the submission.
After reformatting my draft from IEEE style to LIPIcs style, it spans more than 15 pages. What should I do?
The stated rules apply equally to all submissions. As always, authors should aim to make their submissions as concise and clear as possible. So first try to edit the paper for brevity and ensure that figures are laid out well. If this results in manuscript with 18 pages of content or fewer, no special permission is required. Longer submissions will require a priori permission from the PC chair, as spelled out above.
Can I still write “Due to space constraints, we omit…”?
Now that would be silly, wouldn’t it?
How much is the extra-page fee?
Short answer: We do not know yet, but it will be very low (or even zero).
Longer answer: Due to the way that LIPIcs computes the overall processing fee for the whole proceedings (see details), the total cost of the proceedings is unknown until the camera-ready version of all accepted papers have been received. As long as the average number of pages per paper in the proceedings does not exceed 20, no extra-page fee is necessary. Otherwise, if the published papers have on average more than 20 pages of content, then modest per-page fees will be distributed in a proportionally-fair manner among all authors of papers exceeding 20 pages of content.
For example, to give concrete numbers, assuming the average paper length is 22 pages (this is an extreme assumption for the sake of illustration) and the proceedings contains 30 papers in total, authors submitting a camera-ready paper with 25 pages of content would be asked to pay an extra-page fee of only 15 EUR. We expect it to be far lower in practice.
Does ECRTS / Euromicro make a profit from extra-page fees (if any)?
No. Extra-page fees will be collected only if the cost of publishing the proceedings with LIPIcs increases due to many long papers appearing in the proceedings. If extra-page fees are necessary, then they will be limited strictly to covering the LIPIcs processing charge. ECRTS or Euromicro do not take a cut.
ECRTS doesn’t have printed proceedings anymore. Why is there an extra-page fee at all?
LIPIcs staff editors process each accepted paper to ensure style compliance. Longer papers incur higher labor costs. The extra-page fee provision exists to cover these additional costs if they become significant.
Will future iterations of ECRTS also feature a flexible page limit?
We don’t know yet. For now, the flexible page limit at ECRTS’21 is a one-year trial. If it works well and is received positively by the community, we are hopeful that future iterations of the conference will adopt it.