December 2023

VP OCEANS Report (December 2023)

Venugopalan Pallayil, Vice President for OCEANS (VPO)

A year has passed since I took over as IEEE OES VP for OCEANS. In my first article I talked about ‘changing OCEANS’ and I shall touch upon some of the changes either being planned or have been implemented. I will share a short summary on the past two OCEANS, mainly on the technical aspects of the conference, and some concerns that we as ocean research community have to address when participating and presenting in our conferences. I shall close this report with an update on the forthcoming conference.

As some of you are aware, the Ocean Steering Committee (OSC) has setup an Adhoc Budget Committee to discuss and consider how the participation levels in OCEANS can be improved and promoted for a wider acceptance among our researchers in the field of marine science, engineering and technology. The Adhoc budget committee has just made its recommendations to the OSC. Once accepted by OSC, the recommendations will be shared with the AdCom for their feedback. Some key questions that the budget committee is considering are the following:

  1. Can we reach out to a larger section of ocean researchers and increase the participation level to 5000 delegates?
  2. Does it help if we focus on limited locations for hosting OCEANS and rotate them among those locations? If so, what criteria is to be used in picking those locations?
  3. Periodicity of OCEANS; continue with two OCEANS per year?
  4. Timing of the conference; are the current conference timings for North America (NA) and the Rest of the World (RoW) the best?
  5. Clarity on the roles and responsibilities of OCEANS administration to improve our workings.
  6. Hiring a single PCO for OCEANS RoW to ease operational and contract related delays?

OSC had taken a big step to disband RECON and JOAB and replace them with the Joint Conference Committee (JCC) and a Conference Manager (CM). Though the JCC was established some time back, unexpected resignation of one of the Co-Chairs and also delays in finding a suitable volunteer for replacement took time. This has now been fixed. We have Dr. Atmanand, a long standing AdCom member, who has agreed to serve on JCC. I am confident that his past experiences as General Co-Chairs of UT 2015 and OCEANS 2022 Chennai would help our mission to make OCEANS operations smooth and successful. He also has amassed a wealth of experience as a top administrator during his tenure as Director of National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai.

We also had hired a CM for OCEANS under IEEE a few months back and due to operational constraints, we had to move the position to MTS and subsequently terminated the current position. A new CM will soon be hired and work with JCC for OCEANS conference operations. Until such time, the OSC and the Adhoc budget committee will continue to support the LOCs.

Another aspect I, as VP OCEANS, have been looking at has been the paper acceptance rate for OCEANS. Conferences have been often rated based on their paper acceptance rate, though it is not necessarily the only good indicator. More than the acceptance rate itself, OCEANS often see a large variation of it across conferences, which needs addressing. The acceptance rate for some of the past, and recently concluded, OCEANS conferences is listed in the following table.

OCEANS No of Received papers Accepted Number Rate of Acceptance (%)
Kobe 2018 990 689 ~70
Charleston 2018 705 660 ~94
Marseille 2019 838 672 ~80
Seattle 2019 636 487 ~76
Singapore 2020 797 586 ~74
Gulf Coast 2020 336 318 ~95
Porto/San Diego (hybrid) 733 639 ~87
Chennai 2022 664 603 ~91
Hampton Roads 2022 590 568 ~94
Limerick 2023 576 434 ~75
Gulf Coast 2023 325 199 ~62
Singapore 2024 525 390 ~75



  1. The numbers in the table are assumed to be total regular papers and SPC submissions. Posters are not included (need to ascertain).
  2. For Singapore 2024, the numbers are estimated as the process of acceptance is in progress.
  3. The table also needs to be updated with accepted, but not registered/presented, to get a better picture. Some accepted may not have registered.
  4. Singapore 2020 numbers are when the conference was planned for in-person. Only 50% of the accepted papers opted for virtual.
  5. Porto/San Diego was a hybrid conference.

We have developed strong criteria for accepting papers, however, it appears that the same is not being followed fully. A committee is being set up to look into various factors that were being followed by the different TPC chairs and the acceptance criteria and advise VPO on improving quality of the papers and bringing uniformity to the acceptance rate.

Two OCEANS have been completed since I took over as VP for OCEANS. Much of the groundwork for the two OCEANS had been done by my predecessor. Nevertheless, one of the most time-consuming tasks was the contract review and approval. The two conferences have been largely successful, both technically and financially. Below table shows a summary of some of the technical aspects of the conference.

Limerick Gulf Coast
Total number of registrations 681 1536
Papers presented/published 428 199
Student Poster Competition Participation 14 22
General Poster 28 23
Virtual Presentation 30
Exhibitors 43 121
Patrons 3 28


I would like to bring to our OCEANS participants the need for sticking to the code of conduct at our conferences. Recently there has been an instance of misbehavior reported. OCEANS provide a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for interacting and networking with our fellow scientists and engineers. But we have to set limits to the level of interaction as required by the societies code of conduct. Be prewarned that misbehavior of any kind at OCEANS will not be tolerated and, as needed, will be reported to relevant authorities for further actions. It could also shut the door to OCEANS for those who have been implicated. It has also come to our notice that some authors resorting to ‘wicked ways’ to get their papers presented at the conference when the presenting author is not able to attend. The Societies have decided that such papers will not be submitted to IEEE Xplore database, as it violates the pre-conditions set for acceptance.

Preparations for OCEANS 2024 Singapore are in full swing. The abstract review process is in progress. Plenary and Keynote speakers are being invited. We have two related events prior to OCEANS. One of the events is the Singapore AUV Challenge (student competition) and the other is a Summer School (first of its kind) being organized under the OES leadership. The details of these events have been covered elsewhere in this Newsletter. We also have a parallel event happening during the OCEANS 2024 Singapore Conference. Just a few blocks away from our conference, there will be another event, Singapore Maritime Week, an annual conference organized by the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore. All in all, it is a travel worth planning for and spend a couple of weeks exploring Singapore and participating in these exciting events. A unique opportunity not to be missed. The LOC of OCEANS 2024 look forward to your in-person participation at the conference.

If you have comments and suggestions on OCEANS related matters, please feel to write to me at

Happy 2024 to all the OES colleagues and readers of this Newsletter.