Some Insights on CHI 2021 Paper Lengths

  • August 21, 2020

CHI 2021 is eliminating the former strict page limit on full paper submissions. This is due to various reasons, but most importantly the new ACM Publication System (TAPS). TAPS creates more accessible documents and allows delivery of content in different formats on various devices. With less restrictions on page length and formatting we also introduce potential confusion and questions about appropriate page length. This is why we have created this blogpost to hopefully produce insights which can help authors, program committee, and reviewers in making appropriate decisions.


We are moving to a system where page-length is not absolutely determined. Authors should understand that the length of the paper should be commensurate with the contribution, while giving a rigorous, reproducible account of the research that has been carried out. These are, by necessity, subjective measures, but the one thing that should be clear is that we are NOT encouraging paper length to grow exponentially. 


  • Authors are encouraged with an ethos of making sure that contributions are thoughtfully edited, carefully structured, as concise as necessary, without redundancy and, above all, are carefully written.
  • Papers should have a primary focus and not try to tackle too many things at once. At the same time, papers should not be split into multiple, small micro-contributions that can’t exist independently.


CHI 2021 papers has 15 different topic areas (structured via subcommittees), and diverse topic areas also mean diverse types of presentation formats for different types of contributions (e.g., design work might require multiple images), thus ‘one paper size’ fits all is not appropriate. 


Some informal guidance:  A quick survey of word-length for papers has shown that what was previously referred to as full-length papers should have a maximum word-count of between 7000 and 9500 words. This is just a rough estimate, but can vary significantly from subcommittee to subcommittee. For example, design papers might have more figures, ethnographic studies may require more text for quotations and explanations. Shorter papers are encouraged! 


Reviewers will not be favorably disposed to papers that differ significantly from these maximum word counts and may impose higher requirements for acceptance into the conference.  As CHI2021 DOES NOT have an extensive revise and resubmit structure, a paper needs to be primarily judged on an AS IS basis. Therefore authors need to make the calculated decision to make sure that the paper is not rejected because it has been deemed to be too long based on its contribution or coverage. Structure, write and edit your paper carefully!


Steven Drucker and Pernille Bjørn

CHI 2021 Papers Chairs

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