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Call for Participation in PDF

LISA '10 Call for Participation

Guidelines for Authors

Please read these guidelines carefully. They are written to help you give your submission its best possible chance to be accepted. If you have any questions about whether your paper is appropriate, please contact

Before submitting your paper, ask yourself:

  • Relevance: Is the paper appropriate for the LISA conference?
  • Presentation: Is the paper readable?
  • Quality: Does the work reflect good science/engineering?
  • References: Are there sufficient and relevant references to place the paper in a larger context?
  • Advancement: Does the paper advance the state of the field?

A summary and classification of previous LISA papers was provided by Eric Anderson and Dave Patterson in 1999. Look at this paper and see how your work fits in:

Look also at the proceedings from the past three years to see what is current and actual.

If your paper will include numerical results (and this will make us very happy), please take a look at Margo Seltzer and Aaron Brown's presentation:

What Kinds of Papers Does LISA Publish?

LISA has traditionally seen many papers about home-grown scripts and solutions. Custom solution papers need to illustrate a particular principle that can be applied generally and the main focus of this kind of paper should be the principles not the implementation. Papers that can draw general conclusions contributing to "the big picture" are most welcome.

In general, when deciding whether to submit a paper, ask yourself: what will the audience and readers learn from my paper? Will anyone want to read it again in five years' time?

Papers describing experiences gained using different software systems are valuable, provided they make fair comparisons. For instance, a paper describing the wondrous features of tool X would not be acceptable, but a paper comparing and detailing the utility of tool X versus tool Y, say, would be more interesting. An impartial paper comparing all of the key tools that solve a similar problem would be more interesting still.

In short, the more generally applicable your paper is, the more it says about the field of system administration and the more interesting it is. You should think about how different your work is from previously published papers; it may be good work but it should also be an improvement over the previously published work. Negative results, i.e., papers that demonstrate common misconceptions or question previously published "truths" are sometimes more important than positive results, especially in case studies where they can demolish conventional wisdom. Papers that are inconclusive are usually not accepted, since they do not usually advance the state of the field.

Think about whether a LISA conference is the right place to publish your paper. Perhaps it belongs in a more specialized conference, or a conference with a different kind of focus. We encourage theory papers with a system administration focus. Papers, theoretical or otherwise, that do not have a system administration focus should probably be submitted to the USENIX Annual Technical Conference. Try asking the systems administrators at your site—or at other sites—if they would find the paper interesting. If your paper is more of an opinion piece, it might be more appropriate for the USENIX magazine ;login:. Also try asking if they would find the paper interesting, and try asking them to identify the most important aspects of your paper.

Papers should be focused on one or perhaps a few main points. Don't try to cram too many issues into the paper, and don't fill it up with irrelevant details. Every paper has an ideal length for the idea is conveys. If that is short, so be it. Clarity should be your primary goal.

Do include enough background for the reader to understand why your problem is important, how your work relates to previous work in the field, and how it might fit into a practical system. Also, provide enough detail for the reader to put your performance measurements or other technical evaluation in context. It is vitally important to provide a good bibliography, both so that you give proper credit to previous work and so that a reader can know where to turn to find additional background information. The program committee will not accept a paper if the author doesn't appear to be familiar with the current literature. Published USENIX conference proceedings are available.

Finally, if you have any other questions at any time during the entire submissions process, especially if you have a paper idea but have concerns about it not being right for the conference, please send mail to the program chair at

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Last changed: 11 Jan. 2010 ch
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