The Ethics Committee of the IACR is responsible for providing recommendations to editors, program chairs, program-committee members, and reviewers concerning fairness and ethical aspects of all matters under the influence of the IACR, such as its operations, its events, and its publications.
The mission of the Ethics Committee is described in the "IACR Policy for the Ethics Committee", available at http://www.iacr.org/docs/
The Ethics committee has discussed only a handful of cases in 2013. In the interest of raising awareness for ethical matters among the researchers in cryptology, the Ethics Committee may occasionally inform the IACR members about its work. An account of one case follows.
A team of authors submitted a paper to a non-IACR conference in the field of cryptology and information security. After submitting the work, the authors developed their method further and discovered other ways to attack the problem. Before receiving an acceptance or rejection notification from the conference, the authors had written another paper on the second method and submitted this to a second conference, this one sponsored by the IACR. The second paper did not cite or mention the first paper.
Some reviewers in the overlap of the two program committees spotted a similarity of the works, and, in line with the IACR Policy on Irregular Submissions, they shared this information with the program chairs of the two venues. The program chair of the first conference then rejected the first paper declaring that it was a "potential double submission" and informed the program chair of the IACR conference about this. The authors then reached out to the IACR Ethics Committee and explained their case. They wanted to obtain a clarification that there was no double submission.
The Ethics Committee reviewed the situation and examined the submitted papers superficially. The committee then concluded that there was no obvious case of "parallel submissions" as described in the IACR Policy and that the second paper should enter the regular reviewing process of the IACR conference. The committee also remarked that it cannot make any statement towards the first conference because it is not an IACR venue. To the committee, it seemed that there was a misunderstanding because the existence and nature of technical links between the contributions of the two papers were not mentioned by the authors.
Last but not least, the committee recommended to the authors that, in the interest of being transparent in scientific work, authors should always cite existing known related work, even when a new contribution would not directly build on it. Furthermore, considering the delicate issues around double submissions, this point was particularly important with related work from the same authors.
IACR Ethics Committee (2013)
- Josh Benaloh
- Thomas Berson
- Christian Cachin (chair)