ask a scatterbrain: too few papers for my asa session

A reader writes:

I agreed to organize a Regular Session for Denver. Disappointingly, there are only three papers submitted, and one of those was transferred in from a Section.

  1. Is there a norm of recruiting submissions to one’s session? If so, I wish I had known. And more importantly:
  2. Now what? I am considering accepting the three papers, almost without regard for their quality or their relationship to each other.

12 thoughts on “ask a scatterbrain: too few papers for my asa session”

  1. If the papers are not good enough to create a session you want your name on send them on to some roundtables and inform the asa folks they have a slot they can redistribute to an organizer who has one slot and ten good papers.

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  2. If you had known your area would not get a lot of submissions, you could have (should have) recruited. Now your choices are to do a session with what you have or cancel the session and redistribute to roundtables, per DTD’s argument. If, say, two of the papers are really good, this seems unfair to the two.

    This raises the broader issue of the inefficiency in the definitions of session topics relative to the goal of producing a high correlation between paper topic and the probability of acceptance.

    Last year I did an analysis of submissions & sessions by areas that revealed the huge discrepancies between areas. I wrote to ASA for permission to put it on Scatterplot — never got a response to my email. Maybe I should just post it anyway. It was REALLY informative.

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    1. OW, is there a compelling reason not to post it? I’m with Tina. I’d love to see the data, but I’d hate to see you end up in an awkward situation over posting.

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      1. Today the reason is no time; i won’t be able to do it until next week some time. The reason for not posting without permission last year is that I got the data from a colleague who was on council, and the colleague wasn’t sure how public the information was and thought I should ask permission of the author of the underlying report before publishing an analysis of it.

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    2. I would just post it. ASA knows how to reach us if they have a problem with it.

      (That said, if you sent an e-mail to Sally and didn’t get a response, though, that surprises me. She’s good about responding to e-mails.)

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  3. The system is incredibly inefficient.

    If it was me and there was a possibility that other potentially relevant papers were going to be relegated to roundtables, I’d contact the organizer of the roundtables and the other sessions in my area to see if they have anything of quality that might fit my session. I’d then contact the ASA about getting access to those even if the author didn’t originally select my session as an option. Of course, that might be completely impossible. It wouldn’t surprise me given my one experience organizing a session.

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  4. In line with jessica’s suggestion: when I organized sessions, I was contacted by a colleague to see if I had any “extra” papers that would fit with her under-subscribed session’s topic. I didn’t, as it turns out, and I don’t know how the ASA would have felt about us requesting to swap a paper (even with permission of the author) into a different session than the one to which it was submitted. But, this may be one late-date solution to the OPs problem, particularly if one or more of the three papers are strong.

    I think it would be useful for the ASA to release data on session acceptance rates (although perhaps aggregated to a level that wouldn’t embarrass the authors of 100% acceptance sessions). I don’t think most ASA novices appreciate the extent to which their odds of acceptance vary across section sessions, between section sessions and regular sessions on the same topic, and across different regular session topics.

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