May 14th–16th
Paris, France


Submitting your talk or workshop

Are the talk submissions for breakouts, or the main conference?

The main conference. OpenVis Conf is run more like an academic conference: The entire program is constructed based on talk proposals from you, our audience. The Program Committee that makes the content decisions is composed of academics, data journalists, and practitioners. We review each proposal for its perceived value to the audience and coherence of the program. The final program is constructed by the co-chairs, balancing topics and talk type (design vs. technical, for instance). The conference is single-track (no parallel sessions).

What topics are you looking for talks about?

In general, we are interested in topics of interest to data visualization creators. This means interesting and/or widely used (open source) tools and libraries, workflows, design principles, and design processes. Each year we try to gauge the current "hot" topics of interest in the field, and we ask for input. We’ve listed a few topics on our call, but we also collaboratively assembled a spreadsheet of topics you and we would like to see submitted. You might find that list useful.

How should I frame my talk?

The goal of OpenVis Conf is to offer insight into the inner workings of creating data visualization. That means that we’re more focused on the educational side of things: the "how" of data visualization. We also like introductory talks that will educate the audience about a toolset or sub-domain of interest (like geospatial datavis or color theory).

How long is the average proposal?

The best proposals are at least a paragraph or two long. It's a pitch: a single sentence won't give us enough to judge the talk content or what you intend to illustrate and teach the audience.

How technical/specific should I be?

The best talk proposals mix some focus with educational breadth; for example: instead of “design tips for good visualizations,” we chose last year’s “color” (Rob Simmon) or “wee things” (Lena Groeger) or “the design of nothing” (Andy Kirk). In the tools and code realm, last year we chose an overview comparison talk on javascript frameworks and in our first year we chose a deep dive into a single problem space, for example “hacking the d3 force layout” (Jim Vallandingham).

In terms of code, we've learned that people don't all benefit from an entire talk consisting of only code demos. Some of us love it, but some think it's boring or hard to follow. Mixing it up with tips, architecture patterns, output examples, and links to futher programming resources makes a good, balanced technical proposal.

If your topic is something that's really focused on how to do something with code or with a new library, consider submitting a workshop. Workshops are meant to be hands-on tutorials.

Reviewing the talks from last year is a great way to see what makes the final program.

Are there certain kinds of talks you don’t want to see?

We can definitively say that we haven’t accepted talks in the past few years that were marketing-focused or that didn’t contribute to the openness aspect of building data visualization on the web. We also rarely accept portfolio and single project talks, unless you can present lessons learned and process takeaways that are broadly applicable. We strive to improve and educate our community with every talk, so keep that in mind when submitting your proposal.

What should I say in the comments to the committee?

While that section is left intentionally vague, there are a few pieces of information you can provide us with that will go a long way:

  1. Any links to work that you reference (code, live version of your work we can try out, slides, videos etc.) help us a lot. The more we can get to know your work, the easier it is for us to make a decision.
  2. Links to any talks you've given previously, in case we haven't seen you speak.
  3. Any other information about you and your work in general.

Can I get feedback before I submit?

Even the best practitioners in any field experience impostor syndrome, and we all deal with it with our own work. We want to encourage you to submit even if you’re not sure you have something to offer. You can definitely email any of the program committee or the official conference email ( to get feedback on your draft.

I was asked to submit: Does that mean I'm speaking at the conference?

No, we still review every submission as a committee. Every year we try to get new people to submit, or find people to submit on topics we think will be of interest to the audience; but the final program is still subject to committee review. Although this process takes longer and is more work, we think it produces a more varied and interesting program. The final result is not just any single individual's idea of what's interesting right now, but is a group and community process.

I've submitted several times and not gotten in. Should I try again?

We think yes, please! Every year the topic mix is different. We rely on suggestions from the past conference survey, comments on the spreadsheet, and email and twitter input when we choose the program topics each year. You can also get feedback on a draft proposal, if you want help (see above).

Can I submit more than one proposal?

Yes. Feel free.

When will I hear about the status of my submission?

With the call closing mid-January, we will take a week or two to choose and notify the speakers, and then make announcements. You can expect to hear by mid-February at the latest, although this is subject to committee availability and may change.

I can't afford the trip. Should I still submit?

Accepted speakers have their travel and hotel paid for.

I bought a ticket and then got accepted as a speaker.

We will reimburse your registration and pay for your flight/train and hotel.

If my workshop is accepted, do I get free travel?

At the moment, we're only granting workshop-givers a free registration to the conference. We may revisit for individual cases depending on workshop popularity and sponsorship involvement.

Do you read the comments on the post-conference survey?

We read and chart all of them. Your comments are really important for us when we plan the program for the next year, from your feedback on talks to requests for topics to cover next year.

Are you thinking about diversity?

All the time. We promise you that our committee and conference staff want to create a conference that represents the full spectrum of diversity in our community. We do a lot of outreach and have a lot of conversations with folks about how to achieve that. OpenVis Conf also has a Code of Conduct that our attendees, organizers and staff uphold. We welcome your thoughts and support. We also welcome sponsorship for Diversity Scholarships to bring attendees who would otherwise be unable to attend and will increase our audience diversity.

How Can I Support Openvis?

If you want to support our efforts, sponsoring OpenVis Conf is a great way to help us put together the best program we can, and is a great way to get involved if you have a group of people from your company who all want to attend. From speaker travel and accommodations to activities for our attendees, every dollar or euro you give us will go towards providing the greatest conference experience at the lowest ticket cost we can offer. Our goal is to break even while maintaining a quality experience for all. Email for more information.

If you can't support financially, we rely on your support in suggesting speakers and topics you would like to hear, in proposing workshops, in advertising the conference on social media and in your workplace. And buying tickets. We can only survive as long as the data vis community is engaged!