VB2017 Call for Papers: frequently asked questions

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   Mar 10, 2017

The call for papers for VB2017, the 27th Virus Bulletin International Conference, which takes place 4 to 6 October in Madrid, Spain, is currently open.

We've had some excellent presentations at recent VB conferences, and we are never short of high-quality submissions to fill the schedule. Nevertheless, we're always on the look out for new speakers and new content. To help anyone who's unfamiliar with the VB conference, we have prepared a list of answers to some frequently asked questions about the event, and about how to submit a paper.


Should I submit an abstract for VB2017?



If I submit, will my paper get accepted?

Not necessarily. We tend to get four times as many submissions as we need. Your abstract thus not only needs to be good, it actually needs to be better than three-quarters of the other abstracts.


Do you have any tips on how to increase my chances?

Write a good, clear abstract. Make it clear what you will be speaking about and why the subject is relevant to the audience. This is especially important if your abstract covers a subject for which we're likely to receive many submissions, such as a malware analysis: what makes this particular malware worth writing about?

Show that you understand the wider context. Not every paper needs to cover brand new research, but don't pretend you're the first person to find something that has been happening for five years.

Show that you understand the audience you will be speaking to. They are all people who live and breathe security; you don't need to tell them that ransomware is a problem or that malware does, in fact, exist for Macs.

Finally, make sure it is self-contained. The selection committee doesn't have the time to follow links or check references.


I've never given a presentation before, is that a problem?

No! We like first-time speakers as much as very experienced ones and are more than happy to help first-timers prepare for their talk. In fact, that is the main reason why we ask this question on the submission form.


Am I expected to do anything else?

Yes, you will need to send us a full, written paper by 12 June. The papers (which will be published in the VB2017 Conference Proceedings and, later, on the Virus Bulletin website) are an essential part of the conference, as they provide a detailed back-up of the material presented at the event — in many cases, the written papers will be able to provide information in greater depth than is possible in a 30-minute presentation, and many speakers find it useful to refer the audience to their paper in order to save time going over details in the presentation.

We will edit your paper for style, grammar and consistency, and we will send you an edited version of the paper for approval prior to its publication. We are also happy to help those less experienced in writing papers.


VB conference proceedings 

Do you record videos of the talks?

We do, and we publish most of them on our YouTube channel. In fact, these are a great way to get a feeling for what is usually presented at the conference. However, we won't publish the video of your presentation unless you give us permission to do so.


How long do I get to speak for?

Speaking slots are 30 minutes, which includes time for questions. This is why it is good to keep in mind there is an accompanying paper to which everyone in the audience will have access in the Conference Proceedings: you can refer to this to make your talk more condensed and thus more entertaining for the audience.


I don't even like anti-virus. Should I submit?

Sure! We may once have been "the anti-virus conference", but we haven't been so focused in many, many years. We like to hear voices from all sides of the security community, as does the audience, only a minority of whom work in anti-virus.


My paper doesn't fit into any of the six categories listed on the call for papers, is that a problem?

No, not at all. The categories are designed to help us with the selection process and to ensure that the final programme will cover a broad range of topics. We understand that not all papers fit easily into one of the six categories. If yours doesn't, just choose the one that seems the most appropriate. We will adjust the stream if necessary (and, indeed, we reserve the right to reassign papers to different streams).


Who selects the papers?

Papers are shortlisted by a committee consisting of the members of VB's advisory board together with a number of other industry members who have regularly attended the conference in recent years. The final decision on which papers are selected lies with Virus Bulletin.


Can I submit a paper with someone else?

Sure! We encourage collaboration both between colleagues within the same organisation and between those from different organisations — in fact, in the past we've had some great joint presentations from researchers working at competitor companies.


What if I discover something really exciting after the submission deadline has passed?

The deadline is strict. However, as in previous years, we will reserve a small section of the programme for 'last-minute papers' dealing with up-to-the-minute topics. A separate call for papers for these speaking slots will open in the summer.




My marketing department would love it if I got to speak at VB.

They should: it's a great way to let your peers know about the research done within your organisation. If your papers gets accepted, by all means use a branded slide deck and wear your company sweater on stage. And feel free to do some marketing around the talk; we are happy to help with that. But ultimately, this is an event for sharing research and ideas, not for promoting your company. Giving the impression that your talk may include some marketing (sometimes even mentioning the company name in the abstract) is likely to significantly reduce the chances of it being accepted.


But my marketing department really want my company to be extra visible around the event.

Well, we do have some sponsorship slots available at Platinum, Gold and Silver levels, as well as some other custom packages. The Platinum sponsorship level even includes a speaking slot, which can be filled any way you like. Contact Allison Sketchley ([email protected]) for more details if you are interested in any type of sponsorship.


So how do I submit?

Here is the direct link to the submission form.


When is the deadline for submissions?

The deadline is 19 March 2017.


When will I find out if I my abstract has been accepted?

We expect to contact everyone around two weeks after the close of the Call for Papers. We expect the programme to be published in the first or second week of April.


Thanks for all this information, but I have a question you didn't answer.

No problem. Please email [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you out.





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