Onward! 2016
Sun 30 October - Fri 4 November 2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands
co-located with SPLASH 2016

Onward! Essays is looking for clear and compelling pieces of writing about topics important to the software community.

An essay can be an exploration of a topic, its impact, 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. It can describe a personal journey, perhaps that by which the author reached an understanding of such a topic. The subject area should be interpreted broadly and can include the relationship of software to human endeavors, or its philosophical, sociological, psychological, historical, or anthropological underpinnings.

Onward! Essays is reaching out not only to experienced academics but also to graduate students for constructive criticism of current software development technology and practices, and for the presentation of ideas that could change the realm of software development. Practitioners who are dissatisfied with the state of our art are also encouraged to share insights about how to reform software development, perhaps by presenting detailed examples of a new approach, demonstrating concrete benefits and potential risks.

Onward! Essays is not looking for research-as-usual papers with rigorous validation (such as theorems or experiments). Onward! Essays accepts less rigorous methods of validation; however, regardless of its form or topic, the essay must have “meat”. It must must offer some insight or convincing argument; the reader should be left — perhaps after some reflection — in no doubt what the claimed insight or argument is. The use of worked-out examples to support new ideas is strongly encouraged.

Accepted Papers

DOI Pre-print File Attached

Preliminary Call for Submissions

Selection Process

Onward! Essays submissions are peer-reviewed in a light double-blind manner (please see Instructions for Authors). Accepted essays will appear in the Onward! Proceedings in the ACM Digital Library. Onward! Essays will follow a two-phase review process. The first reviewing phase assesses the essay and results in the selection of a subset of submissions that are either accepted as-is or deemed potentially acceptable. All other submissions will be rejected in this phase.

Authors of potentially accepted essays will be requested to improve specific aspects of their work. The second submission should reflect the revision requests sent to the authors. To that end, the second submission must be accompanied by a cover letter mapping each revision request to specific parts of the submission. The second and final reviewing phase assesses how the concrete revision requests have been acted upon by the authors, and improve the original submission. Revisions that do not address the reviewers’ requests or significantly lessen the contributions of the work may lead to a rejection.

More Information

For additional information, clarification, or answers to questions please contact the Program Chair.


Wed 2 Nov (GMT+02:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna change

13:30 - 15:10: Onward! Essays - Onward! Essays I at Zürich 2
onward2016-essays13:30 - 14:20
DOI Pre-print File Attached
onward2016-essays14:20 - 15:10
James NobleVictoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Andrew BlackPortland State University, Kim BrucePomona College, Michael HomerVictoria University of Wellington, Mark MillerGoogle Inc.

Fri 4 Nov (GMT+02:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna change

13:30 - 15:10: Onward! Essays - Onward! Essays II at Matterhorn 2
onward2016-essays13:30 - 14:20
Daniel IngallsSAP Palo Alto Research Center, Tim FelgentreffHasso-Plattner-Institute, Potsdam, Robert HirschfeldHPI, Robert KrahnCDG Labs, Jens LinckeHasso Plattner Institute, Marko RöderHARC / Y Combinator Research, Antero TaivalsaariNokia Technologies, Tommi MikkonenTampere University of Technology
onward2016-essays14:20 - 15:10
Richard P. GabrielDream Songs, Inc. & IBM Research

Because Onward! Essays encourages submissions that describe early-stage ideas with limited validation, it is expected that subsequent versions will be published reporting on the fleshed-out ideas with full validations. Onward! essays must therefore conform to both ACM Policy on Prior Publication and Simultaneous Submissions and the SIGPLAN Re-publication Policy. Submissions are double-blind (i.e. authors and reviewers are anonymous).

For fairness reasons, all submitted papers should conform to the formatting instructions. Submissions that violate these instructions may be rejected without review, at the discretion of the Program Chair.

Submission Site

Please take a moment to read the instructions below before using the submission site. Note that camera ready versions will be collected by Conference Publishing Consulting.

Concurrent Submissions

Papers must describe unpublished work that is not currently submitted for publication elsewhere as described by SIGPLAN’s Republication Policy. Submitters should also be aware of ACM’s Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism.

Policy on Double Blind Review

Onward! Essays will be light double-blind for the first time this year. This means that authors will not know who reviewed their papers, and reviewers will not know who authored the papers they review. The aim of double-blind is to treat all papers with minimal bias. Authors must take the following actions to prepare their papers for double-blind reviewing:

Remove identifying information (names, institutions, etc) from the author block of the first page of the paper. To the extent possible, when authors cite their own work, they should refer to it in the third person. To the extent possible, authors should remove any other potentially identifying information, such as acknowledgements. After submitting their review, reviewers will be able to see author identities. When the paper is accepted for publication, the camera-ready copy must not be blinded.

See OOPSLA’s FAQ on double-blind reviewing for more information. Please contact the PC chair if you have any questions.

Policy on Authorship Changes

Any addition of authors after initial submission of a paper must be cleared with the PC chair. Authors are very strongly advised to list all authors prior to initial submission as the addition of authors may create new conflicts with the PC. In all cases, the PC chair must be provided with a rationale. The PC chair has the authority to reject any requested change.


Submissions should use the ACM SIGPLAN Conference Format, 10 point font.. All submissions should be in PDF format. If you use LaTeX or Word, please use the provided ACM SIGPLAN Templates provided here. Otherwise, follow the author instructions.

Note that by default the SIGPLAN Conference Format templates produce papers in 9 point font. If you are formatting your paper using LaTeX, you will need to set the 10pt option in the \documentclass command. If you are formatting your paper using Word, you may wish to use the provided Word template that supports this font size. Please include page numbers in your submission. Setting the preprint option in the LaTeX \documentclass command generates page numbers. Please also ensure that your submission is legible when printed on a black and white printer. In particular, please check that colors remain distinct and font sizes are legible.

Page Limit

To ensure that papers stay focused on their core contributions, the main part of the paper (excluding bibliographic references) should be no longer than 13 pages. There is no page limit for bibliographic references and appendices, and, therefore, for the overall submission. However, reviewers are not obligated to read the appendices, so the main part of the paper should be self contained. If the paper is accepted, the final submission will be limited to 20 pages, including appendices.

Publication (Digital Library Early Access Warning)

AUTHORS TAKE NOTE: The official publication date is the date the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library. This date may be up to two weeks prior to the first day of the conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work.