How to Get Your Paper Rejected from STVR

Published in volume 24, issue 6, September 2014

This issue contains three deep and compelling papers on modeling software and generating tests. The first, An improved Pareto distribution for modelling the fault data of open source software, by Luan and Huang, presents a new model, based on the traditional Pareto distribution, that accurately describes the distribution of faults in open-source software. (Recommended by Min Xie.) The second, Extending model checkers for hybrid system verification: The case study of SPIN, by Gallardo and Panizo, studies an unusual type of system, hybrid systems. The authors have developed an extension to model checking that allows engineers to accurately model the behavior of this complex type of software. (Recommended by Paul Ammann.) The third, Search-based testing using constraint-based mutation, by Malburg and Fraser, addresses the key problem of test value generation. They propose and evaluate a hybrid form of test value generation that combines search-based techniques with constraint-based techniques. (Recommended by Mark Harman.)


This editorial is based on a talk I gave at the ICST PhD symposium in April 2014. I had fun giving the talk and hope you enjoy reading this summary.

First, I want to make it clear that I am highly qualified to give advice on getting papers rejected. I have had well over 100 papers rejected and may well be the most rejected software testing researcher of all time.

As examples, let me share some quotes from reviewers:

In this editorial, I assume that your goal is to get your paper rejected. My first concrete piece of advice is to be courteous to the reviewers. Reviewing is hard work so you should try to make it easy for the reviewers to reject your paper. Here's how.

The most effective strategy is the only one on this list I have not used—plagiarize! This not only gets the current paper rejected, but future papers. Merriam-Webster defines plagiarism as [1]: “To use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas.” To make this easier, I have collected a few specific types of plagiarism:

It is important to note that copying from your own paper is not plagiarism, so do not bother. This may, however, be a copyright violation. (Although I was once accused of plagiarizing from a paper that plagiarized one of my previous papers ...)

Some of my favorite strategies for getting papers rejected in list form:

I trust these suggestions will help you achieve your goal of maximizing the number of papers that get rejected. They have been working well for me, and I expect them to continue to do so for many years.

As editor-in-chief, however, I view my job as finding good papers to publish in STVR. So in my next editorial, I will suggest some strategies for getting your paper accepted.

[1] Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/, last access July 2014.

Jeff Offutt
23 July 2014