Loss Functions, Axioms, and Peer Review

Main Article Content

Ritesh Noothigattu
Nihar Shah
Ariel Procaccia


It is common to see a handful of reviewers reject a highly novel paper, because they view, say, extensive experiments as far more important than novelty, whereas the community as a whole would have embraced the paper. More generally, the disparate mapping of criteria scores to final recommendations by different reviewers is a major source of inconsistency in peer review. In this paper we present a framework inspired by empirical risk minimization (ERM) for learning the community's aggregate mapping. The key challenge that arises is the specification of a loss function for ERM. We consider the class of L(p,q) loss functions, which is a matrix-extension of the standard class of Lp losses on vectors; here the choice of the loss function amounts to choosing the hyperparameters p and q. To deal with the absence of ground truth in our problem, we instead draw on computational social choice to identify desirable values of the hyperparameters p and q. Specifically, we characterize p=q=1 as the only choice of these hyperparameters that satisfies three natural axiomatic properties. Finally, we implement and apply our approach to reviews from IJCAI 2017.

Article Details