A statement from the AoIR Executive Committee and 20/21 Conference Chairs

The AoIR Executive has become aware that a particular paper proposal that was accepted to this year’s conference has caused harm, and we acknowledge that our processes have failed to prevent this harm. 

AoIR embraces Diversity and Inclusion and we expect all members and conference participants to uphold our principles, in their scholarship and in their conference participation. We also have a long tradition of supporting graduate students and early career scholars, and we see this support as central to our mission as a professional academic association.   

Within AoIR we trust in the wisdom of our community, and ask reviewers of submissions to our conference to make decisions about the scholarly quality of the proposals based on the content as submitted. In all cases, we expect our membership to uphold scholarly and professional standards in their research and reviewing activities, in keeping with our Ethical Guidelines.  Sometimes this double-blind review process produces disagreements, and leads to the inclusion of work that others might have rejected. 

A paper proposal accepted for this year’s conference did not contain specific details about the particular events on which it reflected; like all submissions, it was reviewed in a standard double-blind peer-review process in which reviewers were unaware of the names of the submission’s authors, and accepted only on the basis of the details it did provide. As with all accepted proposals, the authors were then invited to submit a video presentation for inclusion in the conference program. They chose not to do so, nor did they produce a full-length paper expanding on their proposal.

In light of the global pandemic, the AoIR Executive Board had made the decision to publish all paper proposals accepted for AoIR 2020: Life in our conference proceedings archive, Selected Papers of Internet Research (SPIR), without requiring a corresponding video presentation. Our intention was to support our membership, and especially graduate students and early-career researchers, by acknowledging a successful outcome in our competitive reviewing process, without the additional burden of having to create a video presentation. This had the unfortunate and unintended consequence of allowing paper proposals to be published in the proceedings without ensuring that the corresponding space was made available for robust debate and discussion of the methods, conclusions, and arguments presented. These spaces are integral to our conferences. In future years, we will therefore return to publishing only those paper proposals in SPIR that are presented as full papers at our conferences. The AoIR Executive are currently determining what ongoing form the paper in question will have in SPIR.

After every conference, AoIR revisits its review process and makes changes meant to address the comments and concerns of its members. We anticipate that this process will again take place this year and invite member comments on the process in our post-conference survey. 

We condemn behavior that is meant to exclude or harass others, and would like to take this opportunity to reemphasize the weight and significance of our Statement of Diversity and Inclusivity to all of our membership.

Lynn Schofield Clark, President
Tama Leaver, Vice President
Axel Bruns, Past President
Kelly Quinn, Treasurer
Kat Tiidenberg, Secretary
Zoe Glatt, Grad Student Rep
Crystal Abdin, Open Seat
Fabio Giglietto, Open Seat
Erika Pearson, Open Seat
Kylie Jarrett, AoIR2020 Programming Chair
Adrienne Shaw, AoIR2021 Programming Chair