Q. What is the goal of the "student helper" process?
A. We have three goals:
- Assist WIESS authors who have limited experience in
preparing scientific papers for publication.
- Expose graduate students to the concerns of
industrial software practice.
- Ensure that the WIESS audience gets as much as
possible out of each paper.
Q. Are authors obliged to accept a student helper?
A. No. The decision is entirely up to the author. Also, either
the author or the student helper may back out of the arrangement
at any time -- we don't want to lock anyone into an
Q. How are student helpers assigned to papers?
A. Prospective student helpers will volunteer for the process
prior to the paper submission deadline. Immediately after the
Program Committee choses the accepted papers, the list of papers
(including abstracts) will be provided to the student helpers.
Each student can then list a paper (or a few papers) which seem
like a good match. A member of the Program Committee will make
the final decision matching students to papers. It is possible
that not all students will be matched to a paper, and that not
all willing authors will be matched with a student.
Q. Who is eligible to become a student helper?
A. We are primarily looking for graduate students in Computer
Science or related fields, although we may consider applications
from well-qualified undergraduates. The student should be
prepared to commit a reasonable amount of time during the period
between paper acceptance notification (August 19, 2002) and the
due date for final copy (September 30, 2002).
We want students who have a good background in the literature of
their area of computer science, who have some experience in
writing scientific papers or reports, and who can work well with
the authors via email and telephone.
Q. Will the student be listed as a co-author of the paper?
A. That is entirely up to the authors and the student. We
encourage authors to list student authors as co-authors if the
the student contributes significantly to the final paper, but
fundamentally, the student is an assistant, not necessarily an
Q. What does the student gain from the process?
A. We believe that graduate students can benefit from exposure
to the concerns, constraints, and expertise of industrial
software practitioners. Students can also benefit from the
experience of working collaboratively on a scientific paper.
More concretely, student helpers are eligible to apply for a
USENIX Student Stipend, which covers travel, accommodations and
registration fees for full-time students interested in attending
USENIX conferences and workshops (such as WIESS and OSDI). We
cannot guarantee that stipends will be available, however. For
more information on the Student Stipend Program, see
Q. What do the authors gain from the process?
A. One goal of WIESS is to attract papers from authors who do
not normally publish papers, and who do not work together with
other experienced authors. We expect the student helpers to
provide WIESS authors with a stronger connection to experienced
authors. Another goal of WIESS is to improve communication
between industry and the research community; we expect that
students can help authors understand what the research community
would like to learn from a WIESS paper. Also, almost any paper
can benefit from constructive comments by another reader.
Q. What are the responsibilities of the student helper?
A. A student helper should start by reading the submitted
version of the paper, and then contact the author(s) to establish
mutually agreeable terms of the collaboration. This should
especially include working out a schedule. Students should try
to stick to the schedule (and to be forgiving if unforseen
business demands make it hard for the authors to stick to the
schedule!) Students should provide constructive comments on the
paper (including both the content and the presentation), and
should offer their help in any way that makes sense to both
student and authors.
This could, for example, include: finding and analyzing other
related work; making suggestions to improve the organization of
the paper; suggesting other questions that ought to be answered
in the paper; and suggesting material that might be removed
without harming the presentation.
Q. What is the role of the student's faculty advisor(s)?
A. We hope that advisors, who normally mentor students on the
preparation of papers for publication, would help out in this
process. We do not expect advisors to be listed as co-authors!
Q. How does the student helper differ from the paper's
A. If a shepherd is assigned to an accepted paper, the shepherd
has the responsibility of holding the authors to the requirements
laid out by the program committee. The shepherd thus has the
power to block publication of the paper, if these requirements
are not met. The student helper has no such power, and should
not try to act in that role. The student may assist the authors
in meeting the shepherd's requirements.
Q. How are disagreements settled between authors and helpers?
A. The authors of the paper have final say about what goes into
the published paper (subject to the shepherd's approval). If
there is a dispute between the authors and the student, we would
like to see an amicable resolution; the shepherd and (if
necessary) the Program Chair are willing to help out. If a
dispute continues, the best solution may be for the student to
Q. Will the student have access to the reviews of the paper?
A. This is entirely at the authors' discretion, but since the
reviews are intended to guide the preparation of the final draft,
we suggest that students be given access. Students are required
to keep the reviews confidential, of course. Students, just as
for authors, will not be given the names of the reviewers.
Q. How much time should the student helper expect to spend?
A. This is hard to predict. At the very least, the student will
need to carefully read one or more drafts of the paper and offer
constructive help. The student may be asked to help with editing
or re-writing portions of the paper. It is possible that a
student may get involved in technical issues (such as running
experiments or coding software), but this is not our primary
Q. How are intellectual property rights handled in this
A. Authors and students must understand that, prior to the date
of the workshop, all submissions are held in the highest
confidentiality prior to publication in the Proceedings, both as
a matter of policy and in accord with the U.S. Copyright Act of
1976. Authors may choose whether or not to reveal to student
helpers additional proprietary information that will not be made
public, but we recommend that authors not ask students to sign
non-disclosure agreements, if at all possible.
We will try to avoid matching a student with a paper if the
student is currently working for a direct competitor of the
authors' employer, but we expect students to report any unforseen
conflicts of interest.
Q. Is this really going to work?
A. It's an experiment. We will try to make it work. If it
fails, we hope not to have inconvenienced too many people.
We don't want anyone to feel like they have wasted their time
on it. And because this is an experiment, we may change some
of the answers in this FAQ as we go along.
Q. How do I sign up?
A. Please contact the Student Helper Coordinator at
before July 1, 2002.