Refereeing of Reference Articles
Background and Rationale
ETAI reference articles were introduced by a call for contributions in
the area on Reasoning about Actions and Change on June 30, 1998. The
call for contributions stated the following:
It has been observed several times that articles in our area are bound
to repeat standard definitions, and that this has several
disadvantages: (1) it takes unnecessary effort for author and reader
alike, (2) it makes it more difficult to write short articles and
research notes, since then the proportion between standard stuff and
new contribution would go out of proportion. Possibly also, (3), maybe
it encourages trivial differences between articles in the same
tradition, which again makes reading more difficult.
One reason for this state of affairs is, supposedly, that traditional
journals prefer articles to be self-contained, since looking up
another article can be fairly cumbersome. In the electronic world, this
has changed: that other article may be available at the click of the
mouse. This new situation is particularly clear in electronic journals
such as the ETAI and the JAIR, but it will apply more and more
universally as the electronic editions of other journals become more
The Editorial Committee for the ETAI area of Reasoning about Actions
and Change therefore invites researchers in our area to contribute
reference articles that describe the basic definitions and rationale
for our main approaches in concise form. The role of these reference
articles ought only be to serve as references that replace the
customary introductory definitions; they are not supposed to present
new results or to be exhaustive presentations of an approach.
Besides for replacing introductory sections of forthcoming articles
(published in the ETAI or elsewhere), these reference articles will
also have other uses. In particular, they will serve as a natural basis
for next-level articles that compare alternative approaches wrt
expressiveness, range of applicability, etc.
Since the reference articles have another purpose than traditional ones,
they will also be reviewed and refereed according to non-standard criteria,
namely the following ones:
- Does the article represent a tradition or "approach" where there is
already a sufficient volume of work in the field?
- Does the article concisely specify the assumptions, motivations, and
notations used in that approach? Does it correctly capture the
assumptions, etc. that have been used and are being used?
- Would reading the present article enable one to skip the
introductory definitions section of many previously published
articles that used the approach?
- Is the article also concise in the sense that it does not contain a
lot of material that is unnecessary for the above criteria?
- Is the article pedagogical and sufficiently easy to read, but at the
same time precise and correct?
In addition, reference articles may contain citations or links to
other articles or reports with e.g. the following contents:
Such material is therefore not supposed to be included in the reference
articles themselves, except for brief passages that may be appropriate
in order to provide some context for the main aspects of the article.
- An account of the history of the approach and its relation to
- Additional about the motivations for the approach.
- Extensions of the approach and variants of the formalism
Latest update: 15.2.1999; Position code: C.etai.authors.ref-refart.