Call for Industry Track Papers

Following on previous successful Industry Tracks at NAACL HLT and EMNLP, we are happy to announce the first Industry Track at ACL in 2023.

Direct submission: https://softconf.com/acl2023/industry/

Language technologies and their applications are an integral and critical part of our daily lives. The development of many of these technologies trace their roots to academic and industrial research laboratories where researchers invented a plethora of algorithms, benchmarked them against shared datasets and perfected the performance of these algorithms to provide plausible solutions to real-world applications. While a controlled laboratory setting is vital for a deeper scientific understanding of the problems underlying language technologies and the impact of algorithmic design choices on the performance of a technology, transitioning the technology to real-world industrial-strength applications raises a different and challenging set of technical issues.

We invite submissions describing innovations and implementations in all areas of speech and natural language processing technologies and systems that are relevant to real-word applications. The primary focus of this track is on papers that advance the understanding of, and demonstrate the effective handling of, practical issues related to the deployment of language processing technologies in non-trivial real-world systems. By “non-trivial real-world system” we mean an application that is deployed for real-world use, i.e., outside controlled environments such as laboratories, classrooms or experimental crowd-sourced setups, and that uses natural language processing (including speech technology), even if not state-of-the-art in terms of research. There is no requirement that the system be made by a for-profit company, but the users of the system are most likely outside the NLP research community.

Important Dates

All deadlines are 11:59PM UTC-12:00 (“anywhere on Earth”).

Anonymity period begins January 17, 2023
Paper submission deadline February 17, 2023
Notification of acceptance May 1, 2023
Camera-ready version of papers due May 22, 2023
Main conference, including industry track July 10-12, 2023

Topics of Interest

This track provides an opportunity to highlight the key insights and new research challenges that arise from real world implementations. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following (in alphabetical order):

  • Best practices and lessons learned
  • Continuous maintenance and improvement of deployed systems
  • Case studies from design to deployment
  • Design of application-relevant datasets
  • Ethics and bias in deployed NLP systems
  • Handling unexpected user behavior
  • Implementation at speed, scale, and low-cost
  • Negative results related to real-world applications
  • Novel previously unsolved NLP problems
  • Offline and online system evaluation methodologies
  • Online learning for deployed systems
  • System combination and hybridization
  • In addition, opinion/vision papers related to real-world applications are also welcome.

Submissions must clearly identify one of the following three areas they fall into:

  • Deployed: Must describe a system that solves a non-trivial real-world problem. The focus may include describing the problem related to actual use cases, its significance (against opportunity size, value proposition, and ideal end state), design/formulation of methods, tradeoff design decision for solutions, deployment challenges, and lessons learned.
  • Emerging: Must describe the development of a system that solves a non-trivial real-world problem (it need not be deployed or even close, but there needs to be evidence that this development is intended for real-world deployment). Papers that describe enabling infrastructure for large-scale deployment of natural language processing techniques also fall in this category.
  • Discovery: Must include results obtained from NLP applications in real world scenarios that result in actionable insights. These discoveries should reveal promising directions in their application areas, leading to further system or societal enhancements. For example, an actionable discovery from an analysis of call center transcripts may reveal that certain language choices negatively impact customer experience, leading to better training of service representatives and improved customer experience.

Evaluation Criteria

Submissions will be reviewed in a double-blind manner and assessed based on their novelty, technical quality, potential impact, and clarity. Submissions in the industry track should emphasize real-world implementations of natural language processing systems, the development of such systems, or provide insights based on real-world datasets with obvious industry impact. For papers that rely heavily on empirical evaluations, the experimental methods and results should be clear, well executed, and repeatable (though the data may be proprietary).

Paper submission

Submission

Authors are invited to submit original, full-length (6 page) industry track papers that are not previously published, accepted to be published, or under consideration for publication in any other forum. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically, in PDF format and formatted using ACL 2023 formatting requirements. Please do not modify these style files, nor should you use templates designed for other conferences. Submissions that do not conform to the required styles, including paper size, margin width, and font size restrictions, will be rejected without review. Industry Track papers cannot exceed 6 pages in length; however, references do not count toward the 6-page limit, nor do the following optional sections: acknowledgements (only in the final version), ethical considerations, and appendices. Appendices may include, for example, pre-processing decisions, model parameters, feature templates, pseudocode, sample system inputs/outputs, information about user studies, additional errors analysis and other details that are necessary for the replication of the work described in the paper. In addition, authors may submit a separate file with supplementary materials such as software or data. Note that the 6-page paper needs to remain fully self-contained: appendices and supplementary material are completely optional, and reviewers are not even asked to review or download them.

The papers should be submitted through the ACL 2023 industry track online submission system in START.

Anonymization for Double-blind Review

Industry Track submissions and any supplementary materials must not include authors’ names and affiliations, or the acknowledgements section. Self-references that reveal the authors’ identities must be avoided. For example, instead of “We previously showed (Smith, 1991) …” or even “We previously showed (Anonymous, 1991) …” please use “Smith previously showed (Smith, 1991) …”. Authors should also be careful not to reveal their affiliation indirectly, for example through screenshots or trade names.

The submissions should avoid links to non-anonymized repositories: the code should be either submitted as supplementary material, or as a link to an anonymized repository (e.g., Anonymous GitHub or Anonym Share). Please avoid any links to storage services like Dropbox (which may track the reviewers downloading the resources).

Papers that do not conform to these requirements will be rejected without review.

Final Version

Accepted papers will be given one additional page of content (up to 7 pages; ethical considerations, acknowledgements and references do not count against this limit) so that reviewers’ comments can be taken into account. Previous presentations of the work (e.g., preprints on arXiv.org) should be indicated in a footnote that should be excluded from the review submission, but included in the final version of papers appearing in the ACL 2023 proceedings.

The final version should remove anonymization in text, citation, and figures. For example, the final version may include the name of the authors’ institutions, trade names, and screenshots of identifiable products.

In addition to the final version of the paper, all papers accepted to the Industry Track will be required to submit a presentation video.

Presentation Requirement for Accepted Papers

Industry track papers will be presented orally or as posters to be determined by the program committee. All accepted papers must be presented at the conference (either via online or onsite presence). All papers accepted to the Industry Track must be presented at the conference to appear in the proceedings, and at least one author must register for ACL 2023. The Industry Track paper sessions will run in parallel with the regular research paper sessions of the conference.

Presentation Mode

Accepted papers will be presented orally or as posters as determined by the program committee. The decisions as to which papers will be presented orally and which as poster presentations will be based on the nature rather than the quality of the work. There will be no distinction in the proceedings between papers presented orally and as posters.

Authorship

The author list for submissions should include all (and only) individuals who made substantial contributions to the work presented. Each author listed on a submission to ACL 2023 Industry Track will be notified of submissions and the final decision. No changes to the order or composition of authorship may be made to submissions to ACL 2023 Industry Track after the paper submission deadline.

Anonymity Period

The anonymity period for the ACL 2023 Industry Track is from January 17, 2023 to May 1, 2023. You may not make a non-anonymized version of your paper available online to the general community (for example, via a preprint server) during the anonymity period. You may not update the non-anonymized version during the anonymity period, and we ask you not to advertise it on social media or take other actions that would further compromise double-blind reviewing during the anonymity period.

Multiple Submission Policy

ACL 2023 will not consider any paper that is under review in a journal or another conference at the time of submission, and submitted papers must not be submitted elsewhere during the ACL 2023 review period. This policy covers all refereed and archival conferences and workshops (e.g., NeurIPS, ACL workshops), as well as ACL Rolling Reviews (ARR). In addition, we will not consider any paper that overlaps significantly in content or results with papers that will be (or have been) published elsewhere. Authors submitting more than one paper to ACL 2023 must ensure that their submissions do not overlap significantly (>25%) with each other in content or results.

Submissions of identical or closely related work to multiple ACL 2023 tracks (e.g., to research track and industry track) will be treated as duplicate submissions. Such submissions violating the multiple submission policy will be rejected without review. The authors should also include the papers that their paper overlaps or extends in the references section as follows: Anonymous Authors, “Title of the paper”, Under submission at ACL 2023 (TRACK NAME).

Ethics Policy

Authors are required to honor the ethical code set out in the ACL Code of Ethics. The consideration of the ethical impact of our research, use of data, and potential applications of our work has always been an important consideration, and as artificial intelligence is becoming more mainstream, these issues are increasingly pertinent. We ask that all authors read the code, and ensure that their work is conformant to this code. Where a paper may raise ethical issues, we ask that you include in the paper an explicit discussion of these issues, which will be taken into account in the review process. We reserve the right to reject papers on ethical grounds, where the authors are judged to have operated counter to the code of ethics, or have inadequately addressed legitimate ethical concerns with their work.

Authors will be allowed extra space after the 6th page for an optional broader impact statement or other discussion of ethics. The ACL review form will include a section addressing these issues and papers flagged for ethical concerns by reviewers or Senior Area Chairs will be further reviewed by an ethics committee. Note that an ethical considerations section is not required, but papers working with sensitive data or on sensitive tasks that do not discuss these issues will not be accepted. Conversely, the mere inclusion of an ethical considerations section does not guarantee acceptance. In addition to acceptance or rejection, papers may receive a conditional acceptance recommendation. Camera-ready versions of papers designated as conditional accept will be re-reviewed by the ethics committee to determine whether the concerns have been adequately addressed. Please read the Ethics FAQ for more guidance on some problems to look out for and key concerns to consider relative to the code of ethics.

Industry Track Chairs

Contact: acl-2023-industry-track-pcs@googlegroups.com

  • Beata Beigman Klebanov, Educational Testing Service (USA)
  • Sunayana Sitaram, Microsoft Research (India)
  • Jason Williams, Apple (USA)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the industry track only for participants from industry?

No, the industry track welcomes participants from the entire ACL community. Researchers working on real-world applications that match the industry track call for papers are invited to submit papers. Everyone is welcome to attend industry track sessions.

What do you mean by real-world applications?

We are looking for applications that are deployed (or expected to be deployed) for real-world use, i.e., outside controlled environments such as laboratories or experimental crowd-sourced setups.

Can students also submit papers to industry track?

Yes! If your work matches the industry track call for papers, consider submitting a paper to the industry track.

Will the papers in the industry track be published in the proceedings?

Yes, industry track papers will be published as a separate volume of the proceedings. For example, see the EMNLP 2022 proceedings.

I work in industry. Can I still submit my paper to the research track?

Absolutely. The industry track offers a forum to submit papers describing aspects of real-world applications that may differ in focus from the research track reviewing criteria.

How do I decide whether to submit to the research track or the industry track?

Papers describing key lessons learned and challenges pertaining to real-world deployment of NLP and speech technologies are best suited for industry track. Authors are advised to review the call for papers for both tracks and submit to the track that best matches your work. The list of topics and reviewing criteria may be helpful. You can also reach out to the track chairs if you need help deciding.

When should I submit to the Industry Track vs. the NLP Applications Track in the Research Track?

The NLP Applications area of the Research Track is a potential alternative venue to publish applied NLP research. Consider the following questions when deciding where to submit: (1) Does the paper include experiments only on proprietary data? If so, the Industry Track might be a better fit. (2) Is the main contribution of the paper related to a deployment aspect of the application, such as considerations of speed, robustness, usability, or some problem that was discovered during deployment that your results begin to address but more research effort would be required to solve more comprehensively? If so, the Industry Track might be a better fit. (3) Does the paper report new state-of-the-art on a task that is likely to be feasible and interesting outside of your specific setting? If so, the NLP Applications Track might be a better fit. (4) Is your system evaluated only on usability subjects? If so, the NLP Applications Track might be a better fit.