Tuesday, April 7, 2015

President's Message

April 2015

The AAEA Board has been busy preparing for the upcoming 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  We have an exciting slate of activities and speakers and the meeting will certainly provide an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas, the making of new friends, and reunions with old friends, colleagues, and classmates.

The Selected Presentations Committee fielded a very large number of submissions this year.  There were 1,294 abstracts submitted for consideration.  This is the highest abstract submissions total in recent history and our meeting space unfortunately placed some rather strict constraints on the number of selected presentations that could be put on the program.  The committee has done an excellent job in sorting through this large pool of submissions and has chosen 436 selected papers (a 33.7% acceptance rate) and 301 selected posters (a 23.2% acceptance rate) for presentation, which yielded a 56.9% total rate of acceptance.  Again, because of space constraints and the record number of submissions, this is considerably below the acceptance rate realized in recent years.

Although it is true in most aspects of our personal and professional lives, we must acclimate ourselves to dealing with rejection from our professional colleagues.  As I always stress to my students, who are prone to interpret a rejection as an editorial statement about the quality and value of their ideas, selected presentation rejections reflect many factors and should in no way be interpreted as conveying any specific message regarding the value of the proposed presentation or the research or pursuit of ideas underlying the proposal.  I myself am among the ranks of the rejected this year.  Space constraints as well as the need for a diverse and yet coherent program are factors that influence this process.  Likewise, in spite of our very best efforts, it is often difficult to evaluate the suitability of a proposal on the basis of a very brief abstract.  The more senior cohort of our association will remember the previous process which required submission of a completed paper for consideration.  I commend members of the Selected Presentations Committee for the care and wisdom that they put behind this critically important task and for the many hours of dedicated service that this effort requires.

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