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Submission Closed
The submission deadline for this track has passed. No further submissions are accepted.

CFP: Essays

Chair: Richard P. Gabriel, Dream Songs, Inc.,

Important Dates
    Submission deadline (hard)
  • March 18, 2006
  • May 12, 2006
  • Electronic submission of proposals is required through the OOPSLA submission system.


An essay is a rigorously peer-reviewed reflection on technology, its relation to human endeavors, or its philosophical, sociological, psychological, historical, or anthropological underpinnings. An essay can be an exploration of technology, its impacts, or the circumstances of its creation; it can present a personal view of what is, explore a terrain, or lead the reader in an act of discovery; it can be a philosophical digression or a deep analysis.

What makes for a successful essay? At its best, an essay is a clear and compelling piece of writing that enacts or reveals the process of understanding or exploring a topic important to the OOPSLA community. It may or may not have a conclusion, but it must provide some insight or argument. A successful essay shows a keen mind coming to grips with a tough or intriguing problem; as Virginia Woolf wrote, "it explains much and tells much." [from the preface of "Memoirs of a Working Woman's Guild"].

It should meet all these criteria:
  1. Significance: Motivate why the essay is important.
  2. Clarity: Write well.
  3. Argument: Make a compelling case.
  4. Art/Craft: Make it well; raise our ambition level.

Submission Process

Electronic submission of proposals is required through the OOPSLA submission system.

People submitting essays should read "Guide to Successful OOPSLA Submissions," available from

All essays must be submitted electronically in PDF format (or PostScript, if you do not have access to PDF-producing programs, but this is not recommended). PDF files must be created allowing printing, and must be able to be readily printed using a modestly configured color laser printer. Final camera-ready copy must be formatted to conform to ACM Proceedings requirements: Nine point font on ten point baseline, two columns per page, each column 3.33 inches wide by 9 inches tall, with a column gutter of 0.33 inches, etc. We strongly encourage you to use this layout for initial submission as well. See the ACM Proceedings Guidelines. You can save preparation time by using one of the templates from that page. Note that Microsoft Word documents must be converted to PDF before being submitted.

Essays must be no longer than 10,000 words (counting each figure and table as 150 words, and also counting appendices and references) or 20 pages when formatted under the ACM format above.

Each essay will be afforded a 45-minute speaking slot in a special session, and allocated about 20 pages in the OOPSLA Proceedings.

Policy on Multiple Submissions: If an essay is submitted both to OOPSLA and to another venue, the essay may be immediately rejected from OOPSLA and the other venue notified unless it satisfies all three of these conditions:

  1. The submission cites the other essay;
  2. the submission contains substantial material worthy of publication that the other essay does not; and
  3. the overlapping material is primarily background material.

For more information

For additional information, clarification, or questions, please contact the track chair.

Selection Committee

Brian Marick, Exampler Consulting, USA
Guy L. Steele Jr., Sun Microsystems, USA
Ian Randall Wilson, Hollyridge Press, USA
Philip Wadler, University of Edinburgh, UK
Richard P. Gabriel (chair), Sun Microsystems Laboratories, USA

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