The Blue Sky Ideas initiative is meant to stimulate new research ideas that are different from the current mainstream research and look at topics that are not anticipated by current applications. The initiative is meant to stimulate scientists to think about basic, open goal, curiosity driven science.
On the sponsor
To encourage participation, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Catalyst awards the best idea with travel grants. The CCC promotes this kind of submissions at several top scientific conferences in various areas of science. For instance, AAAI, ACM SIGSPATIAL, ACM SIGSOFT, ACM SIGPLAN, VLDB, …. and ISWC.
The ISWC approach
ISWC first included such a CCC sponsored initiative in 2011. After 7 years, we are reintroducing it in slightly modified format. We are calling for 4 page papers and there will be 2 sets of winners. The first set of winners will be designated by the PC based on a pre-defined set of evaluation criteria. These winners will receive the CCC awards and grants. The second set of winners will be established by the attendees of the conference through voting.
On the evaluation criteria
The submissions are relatively short considering the 4 page Springer format. In the limited space, the authors need to convince the PC that they are presenting a new problem, a new application domain or a new methodology that has the potential to create a new research (sub)domain and/or have a major impact on everyday life. The argumentation has to be critical and consistent. Obviously, basic, long term research can be risky. The authors should convincingly identify risks but also provide technical considerations of what needs to be done in the proposed area.