Patentable subject matter can be a contentious issue, but bear in mind that bias and quality of scholarship tend to work against each other. Papers that let the facts and the data speak for themselves will fare better than papers that work from a foregone conclusion, both in our call for papers and in publication at large.
So why is an organization whose position is clearly stated in the name sponsoring an open contest?
As explained in an article by James Bessen, pro-softpatent scholarship has yet to find a serious effect in favor of software patents.
Generally, when held to academic rigor, the endorsements of software patents have been tepid, such as the title of Campbell-Kelly’s paper, Not all bad: An Historical Perspective on Software Patents (PDF), or Merges’s take on software patents that “Something good may come of it.” [Merges 2003, Economic Review, p 13]
So we offer this contest because we believe that an open, honest, careful debate will support our position on balance. We do not need to tip the scales, and judges will be instructed to make an effort not to. Again, the central judging criterion will be quality of scholarship; we have no interest in articles that allow bias to drive the results in either direction.