In the interest of openness and fairness, this page documents how RTAS is organized and its key policies.
RTAS is sponsored by the IEEE Technical Committee on Real-Time Systems (TCRTS).
The TCRTS Executive Committee oversees RTAS. The Chair of the TCRTS Executive Committee serves for a period of two years, having served previously as Vice Chair. The Vice Chair, and hence the Chair, are elected via a vote of IEEE Computer Society members.
The Chair of the Executive Committee is responsible for inviting and appointing members of the Committee to serve for a period of two years. A list of the current members of the TCRTS Executive Committee is published on the TCRTS website.
Program Chair and General Chair
The Conference Planning Sub-Committee of the TCRTS Executive proposes a set of candidates for the next Program Chair of RTAS. The Program Chair is selected from the shortlist via a vote of the full TCRTS Executive Committee, with the exception of members with a Conflict of Interest (COI).
The Program Chair becomes the General Chair for the following year.
Track Chairs are invited and appointed by the Program Chair in consultation with the General Chair and the Chair of the TCRTS Executive Committee.
Brief Presentations / Work-in-Progress / Artifact Evaluation Chairs
The Brief Presentations, Work-in-Progress, and Artifact Evaluation Chairs are invited and appointed by the Program Chair in consultation with the General Chair and the Chair of the TCRTS Executive Committee.
The Program Committee (PC) is selected by the Program Chair and the Track Chairs.
PC members are permitted to serve for a maximum of two consecutive years on the PC, with exceptions permitted for well-founded reasons such as to improve participation of underrepresented minorities.
The objectives in choosing the composition of the PC are:
- to ensure that there is sufficient expertise in the relevant topic areas,
- to ensure that the PC has a suitably diverse demographic that reflects the entire community, and
- to ensure a degree of continuity.
PC members are expected to have a high level of expertise, to be active researchers with recent publications, and are chosen based on merit. PhD students are not selected as PC members.
Serving on the RTAS PC is both an honor and a significant time commitment. The Chair of the TCRTS Executive Committee keeps a record of PC members who have not fulfilled their role well in prior PCs, for example by providing poor quality or late reviews, or by being absent from the PC meeting without good cause or notification. This document acts as a guide or caution regarding subsequent appointments to the PC (note: the list is purely advisory, no-one is precluded).
Eligibility to Submit Papers
The Program Chair is not permitted to submit papers to any RTAS track. Track Chairs are permitted to submit papers only to other tracks (i.e., the tracks that they are not involved with).
All other members of the organizing team, including the General Chair, Publicity Chair, Local Organizers, PC members etc. are permitted to submit papers to any track. Brief Presentations/Work-in-Progress Chairs are not permitted to submit papers to their own sessions.
The Review Process
The RTAS review process is double blind, i.e., the reviewers are anonymous and author identities and affiliations are not made available to the reviewers. See the double-blind submission requirements and the double-blind policy FAQ for further details.
PC members bid for papers, indicating their reviewing preferences and any Conflicts of Interest (COIs), as defined in the submission instructions.
Authors of papers may optionally indicate PC members that they have a COI with that is outside of the normal scope of COIs. This information, including proper reasons for the additional COIs must be communicated directly to the Program Chair in writing prior to the submission deadline. These PC members will not normally be eligible to review the authors’ paper(s). Note the final decision on whether to make this restriction rests with the Program Chair.
Once the bids have been completed, the Track Chairs assign papers to PC members based on their preferences. Typically, the conference management system will provide an initial assignment, which is then refined by Track Chairs.
Each paper is reviewed by at least four PC members. There is a single round of review.
Once the initial reviews have been completed, PC members have the opportunity to look at the other reviews for papers they were allocated, and to discuss them online with the other reviewers. The reviews are then sent to the authors who have a short period of time to write a rebuttal. The purpose of the rebuttal is to answer questions that the reviewers may have raised and correct any specific misunderstandings in the reviews.
Prior to the PC meeting, the reviewers have the opportunity to read the rebuttal for each paper they reviewed and update their reviews and scores as appropriate. During the physical PC meeting, each paper that has at least one supporting reviewer is discussed. The discussion is initiated by one of the reviewers (appointed as the meta-reviewer for that paper by the Track Chair) who summarizes the work, and the main review comments. The other reviewers then articulate their views. The meta-reviewer provides a summary of the PC discussion as feedback to the authors from the PC meeting inside the online review system (or indicates that no such discussion took place). Papers that are shepherded will have clear points set out which must be addressed in the revision. If these points are not satisfactorily resolved, then the paper will not be accepted. The final decision rests with the Program Chair.
PC members with a COI with a paper will not review or see the reviews for that paper, and they will not be party to the discussions about it during the PC meeting.
The review process for any papers where the Track Chair / Program Chair has a COI are handled by an alternate chair (often someone who has previously chaired the conference). This ensures that the Track Chair / Program Chair has no knowledge of the identities of the reviewers. The alternate takes over the physical PC meeting for a brief time to cover the Chair’s COIs.
Note submitted papers undergo plagiarism checks and the authors’ names are checked against the IEEE prohibited authors list.
The PC selects papers for inclusion in the conference program based exclusively on merit and novelty.
Any other criteria, such as whether authors are affiliated with well-known companies, whether authors are members of an underrepresented minority, or whether authors are well-known members of the community, etc., play no role in the selection process.
The adoption of a double-blind peer reviewing process further serves to reduce the impact of any unconscious biases (see also the double-blind policy FAQ).
Outstanding Paper, Best Paper, and Best Student Paper Awards
As part of the review process, reviewers may nominate papers which they consider as being of outstanding quality. After the PC meeting, the Program Chair (or a Track Chair in the case of a Program Chair COI) is responsible for selecting a small sub-committee to consider which of the nominated papers will receive Outstanding Paper Awards. (Typically three to four papers receive such awards each year).
Papers that receive an Outstanding Paper Award form the shortlist for the Best Paper and Best Student Paper Awards (in exceptional cases, a wider set of papers may be examined for the latter award, e.g., if none of the Outstanding Papers was authored by a student author). The recipients of these awards are determined by the sub-committee on the basis of the final camera-ready versions of the papers.
To be eligible for the Best Student Paper Award, a paper must have as its first author a person who was a student at the time of the submission deadline.
Papers (co-)authored by a Track Chair are eligible without restrictions for all awards (Outstanding Paper, Best Paper, and Best Student Paper if the first author meets the above requirement). If a Track Chair’s paper is nominated by the PC for an Outstanding Paper Award, the Track Chair is barred from playing any role in the awards subcommittee due to the obvious conflict of interest.
Best Presentation Award
The Program Chair is responsible for selecting a small sub-committee who will attend all conference sessions and determine the recipient of the Best Presentation Award.
Venue Selection and Workshops
Since 2008, RTAS is part of CPSWEEK and hence the conference location is determined by the CPSWEEK steering committee.
RTAS does not have any associated workshops. Workshop proposals may be submitted to the CPSWEEK organizers.
This page is in large parts based on the RTSS’18 transparency page due to Rob Davis. RTSS and RTAS are both sponsored by the IEEE TCRTS and hence share many (but no all) policies.