I received an interesting email recently:
Did the submissions process for LISA change in recent years? I recall going to submit a talk a couple years ago and being really put off by the requirements for talks to be accompanied by a long paper, and be completely original and not previously presented elsewhere. Now it seems more in line with other industry conferences.
Yes, LISA is very different than it was years ago. If you haven't attended LISA in a while, you may not realize how different it is!
The conference used to be focused on papers with a few select "invited talks". A few years ago, the conference changed its focus to be great talks. LISA still accepts "original research" papers, but they're just one track in a much larger conference and have a separate review process. In fact, the conference now publishes both a Call for Participation and a separate Call for Research Papers and Posters.
If LISA is now "talk-centric", what kind of talks does it look for? Quoting from the Call for Participation, "We invite industry leaders to propose topics that demonstrate the present and future state of IT operations. [Talks should] inspire and motivate attendees to take actions that will positively impact their business operations." LISA looks for a diverse mix of speakers, not just gender diversity, but newcomers and experienced speakers alike. We have special help for first time speakers, including assistant with rehearsals and other forms of mentoring.
What about the papers that LISA does publish? The papers have different criteria than talks. They should "describe new techniques, tools, theories, and inventions, and present case histories that extend our understanding of system and network administration." Starting in 2014, the papers have been evaluated by a separate sub-committee of people with academic and research backgrounds. This has had an interesting side-effect: the overall quality of the papers has improved and become more research/forward-looking.
Because LISA mixes industry talks and research papers, attendees get to hear about new ideas along before they become mainstream. Researchers benefit by having the opportunity to network and get feedback from actual practitioners of system administration. This gives LISA a special something you don't find anywhere else.
Another thing that makes LISA better is the "open access" policy. Posters, papers, and presentations are available online at no charge. This gives your work wider visibility, opening up the potential to have greater impact on our industry. Not all conferences do this, not even all non-profit conferences do this.
Does that make you more interested in submitting a proposal?
We hope it does!
All proposal submissions are due by April 17, 2015.
- Tom Limoncelli and Matt Simmons
- (volunteer content-recruiters for LISA '15)
P.S. LISA has a new mission statement: LISA is the premier conference for IT operations, where systems engineers, operations professionals, and academic researchers share real-world knowledge about designing, building, and maintaining the critical systems of our interconnected world.