Here, we offer some background leading
up to this proposal, summarize the plan,
and solicit your input. We are also pleased
to present two leading computer scientists—Kathryn S. McKinley and David S.
Rosenblum—who argue for and against
the proposal beginning on page 43.
This proposal has been driven by
strong input from the CS research
community where the prevailing feeling is, despite strong review processes
and selective acceptance, publishing
in conference proceedings puts CS
researchers at a disadvantage with respect to researchers in other scientific
disciplines, where journal publication
predominates, and is hence fundamentally detrimental to the CS field.
While some claim U.S.-based efforts
by the National Research Council and
the Computing Research Association
have helped make top-quality conference papers “count” as much or more
than peer-reviewed journal papers, others claim conference papers still have
second-class status. Indeed, funding
and merit systems in many countries do
not fully recognize conference papers.
Many believe the conference-centric
culture of CS puts researchers at a disadvantage when competing with researchers in other science disciplines for top
science awards and career progression.
The relationship between conferences and journals is complex. Many
computer scientists lament the inherent flaws and limitations of conference
publishing: hard deadlines, page limits, limited review and revision time,
and overloaded review committees.
Attending conferences comes at a cost,
What Is the Status Quo?
limiting access. And some of the initial
reasons CS publishing favored con-
ferences—the lack of CS journals, the
slow speed of journal publishing, and
the high cost of journal papers—have
mostly disappeared. Still, many in our
community argue that conferences are
where the most exciting research is
published; they seek to maintain the vi-
brant exchange that happens there. For
this reason, we charged a diverse task
force to explore whether the field would
be better served through new models of
ACM currently offers three ways to publish conference papers in journals.
Revision of the paper by adding at
least 25%–33% new content and submitting to a journal for review. Disadvantages include “citation splitting”
and lag time.
Journal-first publication where the
paper is reviewed by the journal and
published there, but the authors are invited to present at the conference. This
option is the basis of the successful
HiPEAC conference, whose papers are
submitted directly to ACM TACO, and
is increasingly common as an option in
several SIG-sponsored conferences.
Journal-integrated publication where
the conference integrates its committee
review process with a journal. Papers accepted by the conference-review process
are published in the journal and presented at the conference. Papers that need additional rounds of review are transferred
to the journal-review process. Papers
accepted through the journal-review
process can be presented at a later
conference. This model is used by SIGGRAPH in conjunction with ACM TOG.
New Proposal: A Proceedings-
Focused Journal Series
The committee proposes a fourth al-
ternative—a journal series specifically
created to publish the proceedings of
ACM’s highest quality conferences.
Tentatively called Proceedings of the
ACM, it would parallel ACM Transactions with a set of journals publishing high-quality research vetted by
research communities through conferences. A few key features and criteria:
˲ A series would cover several conferences related by SIG or theme (for
example, PACM Programming Languages
or PACM Distributed Systems).
˲ All included proceedings papers
would be reviewed for correctness,
accuracy, completeness, and impact
through a selective peer-review process. This process would require written reviews by a minimum number of
three qualified reviewers. Documented policies would ensure the integrity
of the review process.
˲ The review process must permit at
least one substantive revision by the
authors and review of that revision by
the reviewers to determine whether
their concerns are adequately met.
˲ Papers may not have artificial limits on length that would prevent full
disclosure of references, documentation of methods, and so on. Supplemental materials would be clearly labeled as to whether they underwent
˲ PACM series may invite submissions or second and subsequent revisions outside the conference timeline
and review cycle.
˲Inclusion of a conference proceeding in a PACM series is subject to
initial and periodic review by the series steering committee and the ACM
We want to hear from you! What do
you think? Please read the arguments
for and against this proposal on p. 43
and tell us what you think at https://
by Sept. 20 if possible!
Joseph A. Konstan ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and
Jack W. Davidson ( email@example.com) are co-chairs of
the ACM Publications Board.
Copyright held by authors.
Should Conferences Meet Journals
and Where? A Proposal for ‘PACM’
DOI: 10.1145/2811400 Joseph A. Konstan and Jack W. Davidson
For many months now, the ACM Publications
Board Conferences Committee has been
working on a proposal that brings together
conference and journal publishing.