Information for Authors

Note: This information applies to PoPETs 2025 and later.

Submission Guidelines

Note: This information applies to PoPETs 2025 and later.

Papers not following these instructions risk being rejected without consideration of their merits!

All papers must be submitted using the submission server! See the current CFP for the correct link for the current volume and issue.

In general, submitted papers must be at most 12 pages, excluding bibliography and clearly-marked appendices, using this template (see LaTeX instructions for more information). However, PoPETs papers given a decision of Revise may revise their paper with 13 main-body pages, excluding bibliography and clearly-marked appendices. In either case, there is no page limit for references, acknowledgement, and clearly-marked appendices. PC members are not required to read the appendices, which should only be used to provide additional supporting information.

Unlike journals that publish extended versions of conference papers, PoPETs seeks to publish original, previously unpublished work. Submitted papers must not substantially overlap with papers that have been published or that are simultaneously submitted to a journal or a conference with proceedings. Authors of papers that have previously been submitted to PoPETs must skip at least one full issue before resubmitting to PoPETs. Papers that are rejected and later resubmitted, or are revised through our interactive revision process must include a document summarizing the changes (see the guidelines for this document). The paper should start with the title and an abstract. The introduction should give some background and summarize the contributions of the paper at a level appropriate for a non-specialist reader.

LaTeX Template Instructions

As specified above, you must use this template.

Example conforming main.tex and submission-template.pdf files are included in the template zip file.

Anonymization of Submissions

All submitted papers will be judged based on their quality and relevance through double-blind reviewing, where the identities of the authors are withheld from the reviewers. As an author, you are required to make a good-faith effort to preserve the anonymity of your submission, while at the same time allowing the reader to fully grasp the context of related past work, including your own. It is recognized that, at times, information regarding the identities of authors may become public outside the submission process (e.g., if a pre-print is published as a technical report or on a pre-print server). The PC will ignore this external information. Minimally, please take the following steps when preparing your submission:

Conflicts of Interest

Authors are asked to indicate conflicts of interest with PC members as part of the online submission process. We consider the following to be clear cases of a conflict:

  1. Sharing an institutional affiliation with an author at the time of submission
  2. The advisor or advisee of an author at any time in the past
  3. A co-author of the author within the past two years or a current collaborator

For other forms of conflict, authors must contact the chairs and explain the perceived conflict. If the chairs do not receive a rationale for the conflict, they will remove this conflict when making reviewing assignments.

Use of AI-based tools (e.g., ChatGPT, Copilot)

Papers that use AI-based tools such as ChatGPT or Copilot for writing or writing assistance are required to disclose their use in the acknowledgement section.

Ethics

Papers should follow the basic principles of ethical research. These principles include, but are not limited to, beneficence (maximizing the benefits to an individual or to society while minimizing harm to the individual), minimal risk (appropriateness of the risk versus benefit ratio), informed consent, respect for privacy, and limited deception. Consider especially the ethical implications of research involving human subjects, user data (e.g. network traffic, passwords, and social network data), and system vulnerabilities (e.g. cryptographic weaknesses, software exploits, and privacy attacks). See the Menlo Report for detailed guidelines on ethical research.

Authors are encouraged to include a subsection on Ethical Principles, and such a discussion may be required if deemed necessary during the review process. This section should include a justification of the ethics of the work and information about whether the work was submitted to an external ethics panel such as an IRB or the Tor Research Safety Board. Research that is deemed to not have met adequate ethical standards may be rejected on those grounds. Authors are encouraged to contact PC chairs before submitting to clarify any doubts.

Release of Code and Data

To encourage reproducibility, this year PETS will ask the authors to indicate at the time of submission whether the authors plan to release code and data upon acceptance of the paper. If ‘yes’, authors will have the opportunity to provide a link to the code or data at the time of submission. If ‘no’, authors will be asked to provide a brief explanation. A 'no' answer is not a ground for rejection as long as the authors provide a reasonable explanation. Note that this is distinct from the artifact review that takes place after a paper is accepted.

Claims of Benefits to Particular Populations

Authors should make clear whether their claims about benefits to a particular user population have been validated in some way (e.g. interviews, literature review, discussions with experts etc.). If authors can't offer such support or validation for their claims about that target community, this should be clearly acknowledged in a limitations section.

Security Proofs

Some papers require lengthy security proofs to support the technical validity of the contribution. These papers should indicate this in the body of the paper and include the proof in the appendix.

Revisions and Resubmissions - Summary of Changes

Note: This information applies to PoPETs 2025 and later.

A document summarizing changes is required for all revisions and resubmissions, regardless of the decision received. A resubmission is any paper with content substantially shared by a previous submission to PoPETs that received any reviews, and this includes a revision receiving a Revise decision to be reviewed by a Revision Editor. There is no specific template for the summary of changes, and so you should feel free to draft it in a way that presents your revisions and responses to review points in a clear and concise manner. The document must be a PDF.

Suggestions on what to include in your summary:

  1. Include a paragraph or two summarizing the main changes you have made in the revision and how they address the main concerns raised by the reviewers.
  2. Respond point-by-point to the issues mentioned in the meta-review. Be clear and explicit in explaining the concerns of the meta-review and how you have addressed them. Also, please point to the sections of the paper where the changes can be found.
  3. Mention whether and how you have addressed the other issues raised in the individual reviews (and not included in the meta-review)
  4. If there are points in the reviews (and especially the meta-review) that you disagree with, and thus have not addressed, make sure you make a convincing case providing your reasons.
  5. Provide information on any other changes you have made to the paper (and not raised in the reviews).
  6. Refrain from listing very minor changes (e.g., typos). It’s assumed that you have corrected them.
  7. You can also attach a latex diff, if that helps understanding how you have updated your paper (though this is not useful if you have done very heavy editing all over the place).

You are advised to put some effort into writing a summary that makes it easy for reviewers to understand how the new version compares to the old one, how you have addressed reviewer comments, and how the paper has been improved. Expect reviewers to read your summary of changes before they read the new version of the paper, and so you should see it as an opportunity to present the improvements you’ve made during revision. The summary of changes should be anonymized in the same way as the submission.

Copyright and Licensing

Note: This information applies to PoPETs 2025 and later.

Copyright

Papers will be self-published on the PETS/PoPETs website under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Authors retain copyright of their work.

License Agreement

Authors of accepted papers must sign the license agreement. This allows us to distribute your work under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. One co-author needs to sign and send this on behalf of all of the authors.

Note: If some, but not all, of the authors are employees of the U.S. federal government, the form must be signed by one of the authors who is not an employee of the U.S. federal government.

Camera-ready Instructions for Accepted Papers

Note: This information applies to PoPETs 2025 and later.

Author responsibilities

Authors are responsible for submitting a zip file that compiles correctly in our environment and follows all of the guidelines on this page. We strongly encourage you to use the Docker image we provide to test your source before submitting your camera-ready zip file. Instructions for using the Docker image are included in README.md in the image zip file. You can use the image on Linux and MacOS, and on Windows with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Note that it is not sufficient for your source to compile in Overleaf, where errors are ignored!

Dealing with submissions that don't compile in our environment or that otherwise do not comply with the guidelines stated here slows down our publishing process and delays the entire issue.

Authors should watch for emails from the publication chairs following the camera-ready deadline and respond promptly. If you do not respond to the publication chairs, or if you fail to to provide an error-free zip file that follows the guidelines stated here on time your paper will be pushed to the next issue (or, if necessary, the next volume) of PoPETs.

What to submit for the camera-ready version

Email the following files to publication24@petsymposium.org:

An archive of your source (zip). This must contain all your source files so we can build your pdf. Our compiled version is the one that we will publish. We will insert the correct page numbers and DOI.

A completed and signed license agreement (details here)

Funding Source Acknowledgements

All papers must include an acknowledgment section that lists, for all authors, the names of the bodies that funded the research. If no funding supported the research, the section should include the sentence, "This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.".

metadata.json

The data provided in this file creates the metadata used for indexing your paper. Note: The json file should be included in the final zip file you submit. Please do not submit it separately.

Artifact Submission

Authors of accepted papers will receive an invitation to submit a corresponding artifact. The deadline for artifact submission is about 3 weeks after the notification of paper acceptance. Artifact reviews are released about 3 weeks after submission. The anticipated finalization of artifacts is before the author notification date for the following issue.

See the artifacts page for more info.

Paper Formatting

You are strongly encouraged to use our Docker image to test your source. This will help you confirm that your source is free from compilation errors. You are also responsible for following all of the other guidelines on this page. More info

PDF fonts

Embedding fonts in figures and graphs

The following script embeds and subsets fonts for figures and graphs. (We provided as-is, without support or warranty.)

Create a script called embedfont with the following contents:
# Usage: ./embedfont file.pdf
# Outputs file.pdf_embed. Make sure it looks good before overwriting original file.pdf
#
gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -q -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -dSAFER -dPDFX \
-dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -sOutputFile=$1_embed -f $1 \
-c quit