ACM Policy on Authorship, Peer Review, Readership, and Conference Publication

Authorship, Peer Review, Readership, and Conference Publication

Updated February 2022

Introduction

ACM recognizes that quality publishing is a team effort—not only must authors contribute, but so must editors, reviewers, and professional staff. Together the ACM Council, the Publications Board, the Special Interest Groups, Conference program chairs and committees, editors-in-chief, and editorial boards aim to provide the framework that allows all constituencies to participate fairly and effectively. As part of this effort, ACM provides this document, which summarizes the roles, rights, and responsibilities of readersauthorsreviewers, editors, conference program chairs, and conference committees. Although this statement focuses on these six core groups, the importance of the professional staff is implicit throughout the document. 

The following are fundamental principles of the ACM publications program:

  • The program exists to provide a service to the community
  • The content must be of high quality and meet ethical standards
  • The program must be financially sustainable
  • Surpluses from the program will fund many of the good works of ACM

This document pertains to journals, transactions, magazines, conference proceedings, books, SIG newsletters, and other content published by ACM referred to generically below as Publications. When particular rights and responsibilities are limited to some subset of ACM Publications, that subset will be specifically noted. Note that some exceptions to this policy can occur. These exceptions are generally found in ACM's professionally-managed magazines, news services with special timeliness needs, and SIG-managed conferences. Where SIG-managed conference policies explicitly detail rights or obligations of authors, reviewers, PC members, or Conference Committee members that differ from general ACM Publications Policy elsewhere in this document and in other ACM Publications policies, those rights and obligations will take precedence, provided such rights and obligations have been approved following consultation with the ACM Publications Board. Where SIG-managed conference policies are silent on various rights and obligations of authors, reviewers, PC members, or Conference Committee members, ACM Publications policy shall govern those SIG-managed conference publications. 

Readers

Readers consult articles in ACM publications because they value the reputation of these publications and find the information contained therein valuable and relevant.

Readers can expect ACM to

  • Distribute print periodicals according to the published schedule
  • Post articles in the Digital Library within three months of their delivery to ACM, independent of the scheduled print distribution date
  • Adhere to ethical standards in the peer-review process as performed by experts in the relevant fields
  • Ensure that articles are accurate and of high quality
  • Ensure that the electronic and printed version of an article match within the limits of the style guidelines of each format
  • Ensure that journals, transactions, and magazine articles are professionally copyedited
  • Ensure consistent formatting of articles in each publication
  • Make publications available at low cost to individual subscribers
  • Offer deeply discounted pricing to individuals in low-income and lower-income countries as defined by the World Bank List of Economies.
  • Ensure a high-quality, accessible publication platform with accurate and fast search and browsing capabilities, as well as the ability to download, share and print articles

And ACM expects readers to

  • Follow ACM Policy relating to copyright, licensing, sharing, and reuse of works published in the ACM Digital Library, including policy on the use robots and crawlers, which negatively impacts the ACM Digital Library's performance.
  • Respect the copyright or license of the work

Authors

Authors submit their work to ACM because they value its reputation and its cost-effective publication facilities as a place to report their ideas (usually research) to the computing community. Authors rightfully expect ACM to facilitate this goal through a smooth and timely process of review and production. In return, ACM expects that authors submit works that are ready for publication and that authors be responsive to reasonable requests during the publication process. There are four crucial components in creating a quality publication where the author has both roles, rights and responsibilities in their interactions with ACM: See authorship, author representations, reviewing of the submission, processing of an accepted work, and dissemination.

Authors should engage in the best in ethical practices regarding the content of their works. In particular, ACM expects authors to respect intellectual property rights of others in manuscripts submitted for publication by ACM. Additionally, authors should not republish any portion of their own work in a way that makes it appear as a completely new work. Finally, authors should expect ACM to seek redress for unethical use of their work in accordance with ACM plagiarism policy.

Author Representations

Authors submitting papers and articles for peer-review to ACM publications make the following representations:

  • That the work submitted is original, that the listed authors are the creators of the work, that each author is aware of the submission and that they are listed as an author, and that the paper is an honest representation of the underlying work.

  • That the work submitted is not currently under review at any other publication venue, and that it will not be submitted to another venue unless it has been rejected or withdrawn from this venue.

  • That the submitting authors have the rights and intent to publish the work in the venue to which it is submitted, if the work is accepted. For conference papers, this includes the expected ability and intent to have an author of the paper register for and attend the conference to present the paper, if required.

  • That any prior publications on which this work is based are documented appropriately in the manuscript and/or in a cover letter available to reviewers. This documentation includes providing an explanation of the incremental contribution of a journal paper that extends prior results published in a conference paper. (In cases of double-anonymous review, this information should be supplied to the editor or program chair only.)

In cases where an author feels a particular representation cannot be made but that submission is appropriate, the author should contact the editor or program chair prior to submission to discuss the situation in order to determine whether the submission will be permitted.

ACM journals, magazines, and conferences shall reference this Policy in Calls for Papers, Instructions for Authors, and other solicitations of submissions. The reference to this Policy should appear alongside other venue-specific policies. ACM journals, magazines, and conferences are also encouraged to incorporate acknowledgement of these representations into the paper submission process.

Criteria for Authorship

Anyone listed as Author on an ACM manuscript submission must meet all the following criteria:

  • they have made substantial intellectual contributions to some components of the original work described in the manuscript; and

  • they have participated in drafting and/or revision of the manuscript and

  • They are aware the manuscript has been submitted for publication; and

  • They agree to be held accountable for any issues relating to the correctness or integrity of the work

ACM requires that all published papers include the names, affiliations where research took place, and email address’ of all authors listed on the paper, as well as provide accurate contact information to ACM as required in the ACM rights contract. All ACM authors are also required to register and provide ACM with a valid ORCID prior to completion of the ACM eRights process. 

ACM does not allow anonymous authors, and any papers published in the ACM Digital Library without author names, affiliations, and email address’ may be retracted by ACM. ACM authors have published under actual pen names using “independent consultant” as the author's listed affiliation, but even under such circumstances ACM must be provided with accurate contact information for such authors using a pen name, so that ACM will be able to reach all authors of published papers.

Other contributors may be acknowledged at the end of the paper, before the bibliography, with explicitly described roles, preferably using the roles found in the CASRAI Contributor Roles Taxonomy at http://casrai.org/CRediT.

ACM's Commitment to Authors

Once a submission has been accepted, authors can expect ACM to publish the work in a timely and professional manner. Authors can expect to have approval of changes to the work. In addition, ACM will strive to not cause authors to perform unnecessary work. However, authors do have a responsibility to work with ACM to complete the publication process. Publication is only a part of the broader goal of disseminating ideas and results. Authors can expect ACM to contribute to this wider goal, and in particular to encourage dissemination in multiple forums.

Therefore, authors can expect ACM to

  • Follow the stated peer-review process for each publication
  • Protect the reputation of authors by seeking appropriate redress for the plagiarism of works they authored that were published under the ACM copyright or publishing license agreement options
  • Keep them informed on the status of their submission
  • Use impartial reviewers
  • Issue timely reviews and clear and specific feedback
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Seek author approval of the final publication proofs
  • Provide reasonable time to review publication proofs
  • Not introduce errors in the production process
  • Add no material without the corresponding authors’ approval
  • Be financially responsible for its own internal preparation costs or offer an Open Access author-pays option
  • Ensure publications metadata accuracy
  • Allow the posting of preprint versions of their work on their personal home page, on their institutional repository, and on noncommercial and legally mandated repositories, as outlined in ACM Author Rights
  • Allow metadata information, e.g., bibliographic, abstract, and keywords, for their individual work to be openly available
  • Allow authors the right to reuse their figures in their own subsequent publications for which they have granted ACM copyright or license
  • Provide statistics for each Publication on its average turn-around time and its current backlog of articles.

Author's Commitment to ACM

Just as ACM makes a commitment to provide a professional and responsible publication experience for authors, the publication process is a complex collaboration between ACM staff, volunteer editors, program committees, reviewers, and authors that rely heavily on each collaborator to contribute to the process in a timely and efficient manner. Nowhere is this more important than with the role that authors play in the publication process, since this process begins with the author's submission, depends heavily on the author throughout the submission and peer review process, requires the author to be responsible and conscientious in their response to requests during peer review, and ultimately requires the author to prepare their accepted work using templates and guidelines provided by ACM in order to publish their accepted work in the ACM Digital Library. 

As a result, ACM expects authors to

  • Follow publication requirements and respond to related questions
  • Conference authors must agree to, and adhere to, policy stipulated in writing by the conference
  • Acknowledge ACM's contribution and not publish the same material in other venues except as permitted by ACM Author Rights and Publishing Policy.
  • Obtain appropriate permission for the reuse of content copyrighted by others as allowed by ACM Permissions Policy
  • When reusing portions of their own previously published work in a new manuscript, explicitly state within the text of the manuscript which portions were published elsewhere, and provide references
  • Acknowledge others who contribute to the work as appropriate
  • Follow Publication submission requirements, e.g., topic areas, page limits, accurate citations, originality, cleared rights, designated contact, acknowledging contributions to work appropriately
  • Register and provide ACM with a valid ORCID prior to completion of the ACM eRights process
  • Ensure formatting of submitted and accepted articles as per publication requirements and in a timely manner
  • Respond appropriately and in a timely manner to reviews
  • Respond positively to requests to act as referee for other papers
  • Submit their work to only one publication at a time as outlined by the ACM Prior Publication and Simultaneous Submissions Policy
  • Speak with one voice even if there are multiple authors
  • Ensure that whenever the authors or their employers provide a link to a personal copy, there is a link to the ACM definitive version with a DOI pointer
  • Ensure that all versions copyrighted or licensed by ACM bear the appropriate rights notice.

Reviewers

ACM recognizes that the quality of a refereed publication rests primarily on the impartial judgment of their volunteer reviewers. When an author makes a submission, a confidential review process is initiated. The aim of the review process is to make an appropriate and timely decision on whether a submission should be published. Such decisions are based on proper review by well-qualified and impartial reviewers in accordance with standards of high-quality peer review. 

The form of reviewing for most ACM journals and transactions, as well as for some magazines, is single-anonymous peer review. Editors and administrators of ACM publications must keep the identities of all reviewers of particular manuscripts hidden from authors, other reviewers, and the public. To facilitate this, reviewers access and perform their review of the text via a manuscript submission system, and their identities are kept confidential. Identities of reviewers may be divulged to members of a publication's Editorial Board or to ACM staff as needed to solicit expert advice in special circumstances, such as with investigations into alleged violations of publications policies or ethical misconduct. In such cases, the identity of a reviewer may also be made known to other reviewers of the same manuscript, provided that the consent of all affected reviewers is obtained. Reviewers must also maintain the confidentiality of reviewer identities, as well as the reviews themselves, that are communicated to them at any time. An exception to this confidentiality is made in the case of review of conference submissions by a program committee. It is permissible to make reviews and the identity of reviewers visible to the entire program committee, provided that all committee members and solicited reviewers are notified in advance of this practice. (A further exception occurs when a program committee member is also an author. Names of reviewers can never be disclosed to the author). It is against ACM publications policy for authors to make any attempt to determine their reviewer's identities, and will not engage in any speculation regarding this.

This policy does not prevent the simple listing of all reviewers of a particular volume or proceedings without reference to particular manuscripts for the purpose of acknowledgment, or the appearance of reviewer names in a composite database for use by the editors.

Reviewers can expect ACM to

  • Maintain their anonymity in accordance with the ACM policy on reviewer anonymity
  • Ask them if they are willing to review before the submission is sent to them. The time frame for the review will accompany its request.
  • Provide guidelines, in accordance with stated journal policy, on what constitutes a reviewing conflict of interest
  • Request only reviews of submissions for which the editor feels they have expertise and request only a limited number of reviews over the course of a year
  • Recognize the right to decline an invitation to review
  • Give a reasonable length of time for a review, where the particular length of time depends on the publication
  • Not routinely ask them to make up for delays introduced by other participants in the reviewing cycle
  • Only ask them to provide reviews for submissions that satisfy either stated publications requirements (e.g., page count restrictions) or which are appropriate for the publication
  • Acknowledge their efforts in the publication process, while maintaining confidentiality of the submissions they reviewed
  • If requested, inform them of the editorial decisions for the submission, including the author-visible portion of reviews
  • Inform them who will see their review
  • Recognize that reviewers own the copyright for their reviews.

And ACM expects reviewers to

  • Make known to the requesting editor any possible conflicts of interest
  • Review the submission by the agreed-upon deadline
  • Understand the charter, peer review standards, and procedures of the publication
  • Read the entire submission carefully, prepare the review with care, apply professional judgment, use appropriate language in a review, and fill out provided review forms in full
  • Adequately document in their review the reasons behind their recommendations
  • Review subsequent revisions of a submission that they initially reviewed, should the editor feel that is appropriate
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the existence and status of submissions of which the reviewer becomes aware
  • Not use results from submitted works in their works, research or grant proposals, unless and until that material appears in other publicly available formats, such as a technical report or as a published work
  • Not distribute a submission to anyone unless approved by the editor handling the submission
  • Maintain the anonymity of the other reviewers, should they become known to that reviewer.

Conference Publication

ACM recognizes that editing a publication is a major task performed by volunteers, and for some ACM Publications, by professional staff. ACM seeks to provide editors and conference program chairs and program committees with the support they need to effectively complete their tasks. In return, editors and conference program chairs and program committees must be conscientious in managing the review process.

Editors and program chairs and committees can expect ACM to

  • Provide the clear and effective support of the publisher
  • Provide an administrative and software infrastructure that supports tracking submissions and administration of publications
  • Provide the training, documentation, and support needed to use the manuscript tracking systems provided by ACM effectively
  • Work with appropriate vendors to implement the confidentiality requirements stated in this document in any manuscript tracking system provided to editors and program committees by ACM
  • Have clearly written policies and a commitment to investigate alleged violations of such policies, and to hold violators of such policies accountable for their violations
  • Listen and respond in a timely manner when help or information is requested
  • Recognize that editors and program chairs are responsible for editorial decision making and the quality of the content
  • Recognize that the editor-in-chief or program chair has final rights with regard to content
  • Recognize that the editor-in-chief or program chair appoints the editorial board and program committee members
  • Recognize that an editor or program chair can propose changes to the publication's charter and process for publications
  • Specify the term of appointment for an editor or program chair of a publication. ACM journal editors-in-chief are appointed to one three-year term and may be reappointed for a second term.
  • Have effective appointment and reappointment processes for publications
  • Provide transition support and editor or program chair orientation for publications.

And ACM expects editors and program chairs and committees to

  • Inform the publisher in a timely manner of the status of all submissions
  • Understand and follow through on author rights, reviewer rights, and reader rights, and in particular to provide clear, timely, and impartial feedback
  • Clearly and accurately communicate ACM Publications policies to PC members, peer reviewers, and authors in instructions to PC members and peer reviewers, instructions for authors, and in Call for Papers, including any obligations that may differ from general ACM Publications Policy. 
  • Ask for assistance when needed
  • Be an advocate for their publication and to represent the ACM well
  • Manage the review process in a timely and appropriate manner
  • Ensure that PC members and peer reviewers do not violate confidential peer review obligations, such as conducting bulk-downloads of submissions, unless explicitly permitted in writing by the SIG-managed conference as part of a formal PC bidding process conducted by the conference
  • Responsibly cover all sides of important issues and not use the publication as a forum to further their own views and opinions
  • Recognize that the editor-in-chief or program chair has ultimate responsibility for editorial decision making and the quality of the content
  • Maintain a complete, confidential, and accurate archive of submission and peer review data, including a record of submissions, editorial decisions, copies of complete reviews and review reports, and editorial decision recommendations for a minimum of 5 years from the date of Publication
  • Use volunteers effectively and fairly
  • Cooperate with the publisher on its goals of supporting the membership of the ACM and the computing profession in general
  • Implement with quality and appropriateness the charter of the publication
  • Engage in the training and study necessary to appropriately use, and to correctly configure, the manuscript tracking systems provided by ACM.

Inappropriate Content

ACM recognizes the critical role of the Editors-in-Chief and Program Committee Chairs as the content decision makers for their respective publications. This editorial freedom—and responsibility—is all-encompassing, and on occasion may involve ruling on editorial content (be it text, imagery, video, audio, etc.) that may violate the standards of our community.

Definition

While acknowledging the subjective nature of what constitutes indecency, or obscenity, or bad taste, ACM regards inappropriate content as material—images, video, audio, or text—that would present explicit/exploitive, obscene or degrading text, pictures, and/or illustrations related to sex, drugs, or alcohol.

ACM recognizes that these matters are often subjective in nature, and that the use of possibly inappropriate material should be judged both in the context of the Work itself, as well as the potential for such material to be considered inappropriate on a standalone basis. It may well be that the use of a particular instance of content is entirely appropriate when judged in the context of the Work in which it is presented, just as the opposite may be true.

Decision Making

Editors-in-Chief and Program Chairs are responsible for making editorial decisions regarding the inclusion or exclusion of content that may be deemed inappropriate. However, in instances where such content is approved for publication by Editors-in-Chief or Program Chairs, but which ACM Publications Staff believe fits the above definition for “inappropriate content,” ACM Publications Staff may ask Editors-in-Chief or Program Chairs to reconsider their initial decision. In such instances, Editors-in-Chief and Program Chairs should request advice and support from any or all of the following:

  • Reviewers. Typically, the first to view content submitted for consideration, reviewers should be encouraged to flag or call attention to content that may be considered offensive or disrespectful.
  • Authors. Editors and Program Chairs should reach out to authors of questionable material directly. Questions to ask:
    • Why is the material necessary to the paper?
    • How does this material help you prove the argument in your paper?
    • Are there other images, text, video you can use instead?
    • Perhaps provide suggestions for authors to tell the story in a manner that will be appreciated by all or clearly defining editorial guidelines.
  • Editorial Board Members / Advisory Board Members /Program Committee Members. Seek advice from a resource where different voices/perspectives prevail.

Actions and Appeal

In cases where the Editors-in-Chief or Program Chairs fail to respond to ACM Publications Staff or make a decision to publish the content without changes or modifications, ACM staff may appeal such decisions. Likewise, in cases where the Editors-in-Chief or Program Chairs decide to remove such content from an author’s Work without author consent, ACM authors may appeal such decisions.

Appeals shall be made directly to the ACM Publications Board, which shall be the final authority on such decisions. The ACM Publications Board may delegate this authority to a committee or to the Publications Board Chairs, either on a standing or case-by-case basis.

Mailing address:
ACM Director of Publications
Association for Computing Machinery
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019-7434
Phone: +1-212-626-0659
Or via email:
scott.delman@hq.acm.org

Report a Potential Violation

If you believe one or more of ACM’s Publications Policies have been violated and you have credible evidence of such violation(s), you may report a potential violation as a claimant. Before you report a potential violation, please read ACM’s Publications Policies carefully.