Editorial Assistance Pilot Scheme in NIME 2021
One of the initiatives that came out of last year’s diversity survey is providing assistance for NIME authors for whom English is not their first language. The NIME diversity team held a small workshop in mid-January where we discussed this as well as a number of ideas for improving accessibility, diversity, and inclusivity at NIME. While we’re drafting our notes and proposals on other ideas, one of the more immediately time sensitive is editorial proof-reading of submissions.
Last year’s NIME was predominately attended by native English speakers (~48% NIME 2020 general survey - though admittedly, being officially held in the UK likely adds to the native English bias) despite world-wide involvement in the conference. Written English assistance would hopefully help counter some of the disadvantages non-native English speakers encounter when competing against native speakers especially for early career academics where access to English-language expertise may be lower or otherwise self-funded. It might also be something suitable for improving involvement of neuro-divergent participants.
For NIME 2021 we have recruited volunteers who will provide feedback and guidance to authors of submissions that have been identified as candidates for this pilot scheme by the meta-reviewers. It must be noted that the feedback provided is intended to improve the quality of papers that have already been provisionally accepted and is assistance is limited to tackling communication issues (e.g. grammar, syntax, and academic style), and is NOT intended to assist in idea formulation or substantial content editing / restructuring that could give authors and unfair advantage over others.
In the long run, we are thinking of setting up a shepherding system that is incorporated into the reviewing process. Reviewers who think a paper may be worth accepting but needs significant editorial work for language reasons can provisionally accept, recommending it for language assistance. Papers successfully improved could then be accepted into the conference.
If you have any questions about this pilot scheme please contact the diversity team.

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