USENIX Security Publication Model Changes

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Submissions Deadlines

The Symposium will accept submissions three times in 2024, in summer, fall, and winter. For USENIX Security '24, the first deadline will be June 6, 2023, the second on October 17, 2023, and the final submission deadline for papers that appear in USENIX Security '24 will be February 8, 2024. Having three deadlines allows authors to submit quality work when it is ready for publication, while still allowing both a reasonable reviewing burden for program committee members and a sufficiently long reviewing schedule.

Review Process Outcomes

Papers will receive one of the following four outcomes at the end of the review process:

  • Accept
    In this case, reviewers either see no need for any required edits—the paper could be published as is—or trust the authors to make any required edits.
  • Accept on Shepherd Approval
    These papers offer sufficient contributions to be on the USENIX Security program, but the reviewers feel that some changes are needed. Reviewers expect that these changes are highly unlikely to reduce their enthusiasm regarding the paper being published. These can include the traditional text changes, clarifications, and presentation of missing results that do not require additional experiments.

    Shepherd approval must occur by 10 days before the camera-ready deadline of the present review cycle. See below for details on the process to be followed when this is the reviewers’ decision.
  • Accept Conditional on Major Revision
    This outcome replaces "Major Revision." Like previous years' Major revision ddecision, a clear path exists to strengthen the paper to an adequate state to be on the USENIX Security program. The reviewers have identified a well-defined set of additions and changes necessary to bring the paper to this state. Unlike Accept on shepherd approval, these changes are major—too large or too unpredictable—to decide in advance that the paper’s contribution and supporting claims will be sufficient (e.g., statements need to be justified/supported with evidence, or fixable methodological issues exist). There is no guarantee that the paper will be accepted, but we expect a high acceptance rate for these papers (as currently happens with Major revisions).

    These papers are assigned a shepherd, and shepherd approval must occur 10 days before the camera-ready deadline of the next review cycle. See below for details on the process to be followed when this is the reviewers' decision.
  • Reject
    This outcome subsumes "Reject and Resubmit" and "Reject," It indicates that the reviewers do not see a well-defined path from the present state to acceptance. For example, reviewers may not see the scientific contribution as adequately significant, or the idea is acceptable but reviewers struggle to offer well-defined changes to address identified technical issues. Reviews for this paper should constructively list big-picture changes that could move the paper towards a publishable state.

    Authors may not resubmit these papers in the next review cycle. Authors may request the same reviewers (as available) if submitted in the following two cycles after that.

Revision Processes

Single Shepherding

For both Accept on shepherd approval and Accept conditional on major revision, there will be only one shepherd. This shepherd is agreed upon by the reviewers, and is in charge of evaluating whether the paper has met the criteria for acceptance or not. The shepherd can, of course, consult with other reviewers.

All shepherding activities happen through anonymous author-visible comments on HotCRP.

All reviewers can see these exchanges. Although only the shepherd is responsible for responding to and addressing the authors’ questions and concerns, other reviewers can intervene—and should intervene when the questions are around their own concerns.

Accept on Shepherd Approval

Reviewers pick a single shepherd who is in charge of agreeing with the authors on the implementation of the requested changes, establishing a timeline for changes, refining the requirements, ensuring that changes are made on time, and ultimately giving the final approval.

Shepherd approval must occur by 10 days before the camera-ready deadline. In a small percentage of cases, the shepherd may decide to provide more time for the authors (defer to next cycle). In an even smaller percentage of cases, the shepherd (in consultation with the other reviewers) may decide not to approve the changes. The paper would be rejected.

Accept Conditional on Major Revision

Reviewers pick a single shepherd. The shepherd is responsible for writing a meta-review describing the required changes before the decision is finalized. The shepherd is also in charge of approving the changes made by the authors in response to the reviews. It is not a given that the paper will be accepted.

The shepherd is responsible for answering questions from the authors about the required changes. As appropriate, the shepherd may choose to prioritize and refine the requirements given space and time constraints. The shepherd may request help from the other reviewers in reaching decisions and may ask other reviewers whether particular changes satisfy their concerns.

Shepherd approval must occur 10 days before the final paper deadline of the next review cycle following the Accept conditional on major revision decision. The approval can happen earlier. On rare occasions, the shepherd may request an extension to this period. If the shepherd does not approve the changes, the paper would be rejected.

Program Committee Logistics

Reviewing Schedule

The USENIX Security '24 program committee will have two to two-and-a-half months for reviewing and discussion, which will provide a two- to four-week break from reviewing between deadlines. Reviews will be done in two rounds. In the first round, every paper gets two reviews within three to four weeks. Papers that do not pass the first round are papers where both reviewers agree on a "Reject" decision, and receive early reject notices at this point. Authors of papers that pass the first round will have the option to submit a rebuttal after the second round. Each paper that proceeds to the second round receives two more reviews in two to three weeks. Two weeks of discussion follow. Authors receive final decisions after approximately two months.

All papers that are accepted by the end of the winter submission reviewing cycle (February–June 2024) will appear in the proceedings for USENIX Security '24.

Program Committee Terms

For USENIX Security '24, the PC will serve until June 2024. Reviewers of papers receiving an Accept conditional on major revision designation (in particular, shepherds) may need to participate until November 2024.

Program Committee Service

If you would like to volunteer to be considered to serve on the program committee or if you have suggestions of individuals who might be considered to serve, please complete the USENIX Security '24 PC Nomination form.