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For Associate Editors

 

As an Associate Editor (AE), you are responsible for reading the submission, assigning reviewers, evaluating the reviews and making a recommendation for the acceptance or rejection of the paper. The details of these processes are described below. AEs are anonymous to the authors, and get to view and make decisions about unpublished manuscripts. Please read the Information for Reviewers as the same basic ethics and guidelines apply also to AEs.

Quality and efficiency in reviewing is essential to the success of TAP. To publish papers in a timely fashion we ask you to respond to all requests to assign reviewers and make recommendations as quickly as possible. Our standard invitation letter to reviewers asks them to return their reviews within Two Weeks. (Under certain circumstances it may be acceptable to agree a slightly longer timeframe with reviewers).

Desk Reject Policy

The Editors-in-Chief make the final accept/reject decision on all papers. Sometimes, the Editors-in-Chief reject papers without assigning AE's for the following reasons:

  • topic clearly out of scope / insufficient perceptual content
  • work clearly does not meet sufficient standards of novelty or quality
  • MS incomplete or incorrectly formatted

As an AE assigned to a paper, you can also recommend rejection without further review for any of the above reasons, writing a justification based on your assessment of the paper. The EICs will make the final decision based on your recommendation, and the authors have the right to appeal such decisions. Our aims in allowing AE's to make such recommendations is to increase quality and to reduce turnaround times and unnecessary work for reviewers. However, we ask you please not to abuse your anonymity as AE to reject papers for other reasons.

Assigning Reviewers

All AE activities take place through the Manuscript Central ACM TAP interface http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/tap.

  • To assign reviewers:
    • In your  'Editor Center', click on 'New Manuscripts: Manage Referees and Make Decisions
    • In your list of assigned manuscripts, click on 'View Details' to view the submission or assign reviewers
    • Under 'Associate Editor Actions,' click on 'Assign or Remove Referee'; the right hand portion of the screen will allow you to search for referees you would like to invite
    • If a suitable referee is found (AEs may also be assigned), click on his/her name, opening a new window with an 'Assign Referee' button; then the main screen will show the referee, which may now be invited by clicking the 'Invite Referee' button
    • If the referee is not in our database, you may add the referee to the database by clicking 'Add New Referee'; a new window will allow you to fill in the referee details
    • Finish by clicking on the 'Assign Referee' button, and then 'Invite Referee' on the main screen
  • To make a preliminary decision:
    • For each review, you will receive an email notification; when all the reviews are completed, you may make your preliminary recommendation that will be sent to the Editors-in-Chief for approval (this decision should take into consideration your own opinion of the resource as well as the general consensus of the refereeing committee)
    • Under "Editor Actions," click on "Make Decisions," and then "Post Decision"; select your decision from the drop down menu. There are four options:
      • Accept: please choose Accept only when the submission is perfect and there are no further suggestions for improvement
      • Minor Revision: use the Minor Revision option when you feel that the resource should be accepted after slight revisions
      • Major Revision: this option should be chosen when you feel that the paper has real potential, but a large component needs to be redone and the work then needs to through another review process
      • Reject: please use Reject when the resource does not meet the ACM TAP publication standards
    • Finally, please edit the email to the authors, entering your comments below the EIC text and saving; you may also post specific comments to the EICs using the comment box.
  • To handle a revised paper:
    • For a paper that has been resubmitted with "Minor Revisions", please verify that the authors have completed the necessary corrections and make your decision as above
    • For a paper that has been resubmitted with "Major Revisions", the original reviewers will be automatically selected, but you then need to go in and invite some or all of them to review the revised paper, and then proceed as above.
  • For further instructions:
    please refer to the ScholarOne tutorial for editors.
 

EIC Conflict of Interest Policy

ACM TAP follows the CONFLICT OF INTEREST policy below for papers submitted by the Editor in Chief. If one of the EICs has a conflict with a paper but is not himself an author, the other EIC will assign an associate editor who will then select reviewers, obtain the reviews, and make a decision about the paper, perhaps in consultation with other associate editors. If both EIC's have a conflict of interest with a paper, Associate Editor "NAME" will serve as Alternate Interim Chief Editor ("Alice" in the text below) for papers submitted by the EIC.

ACM conflict of interest policy for papers submitted by an EIC

The purpose of this policy is to address the conflict-of-interest (COI) that arises when an editor-in-chief (EIC) of an ACM journal is an author of a paper submitted to that journal. There are other COI issues that arise in handling papers for a journal. The scope of this policy is, however, strictly limited to the specific issue of EIC authored papers.

ACM has traditionally given its EICs considerable freedom in establishing policy for each journal. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work well for the diverse computing disciplines addressed by different ACM journals. This policy therefore establishes a minimum baseline that all ACM journals should follow. Each journal can, in addition, establish additional requirements, at discretion of the journal's EIC.

ACM does permit an EIC to be an author of a paper in the EIC's journal. Outright prohibition of EIC authorship is considered too severe for at least three reasons. First, it can unduly penalize the EIC's co-authors. In several computing disciplines the ACM Transactions is the premier, and sometimes the sole high quality, archival research publication. A strict prohibition will impact the EIC's co-authors especially if they are just starting their research careers. Second, it can prevent high-quality papers from appearing in ACM journals. ACM's stated mission is to be the publisher of choice. Good work should be evaluated on its merits and not on authorship. Third, it can be a disincentive for leading researchers to serve as EIC, especially insofar as this prohibition would affect co-authors particularly graduate students. Many ACM Conferences do not permit the Program Chair to submit papers to the Conference. The three arguments given above apply with some force to ACM Conferences also. However, the multi-year terms of EICs makes a more compelling case for journals than for conferences. 

The ACM policy for processing papers with the EIC as an author is as follows:

  1. The EIC will submit the paper to an Associate Editor who is specifically designated for this purpose and explicitly identified in the web pages for that journal. The designated Associate Editor must have agreed to accept this responsibility and should not be a collaborator of the EIC or from the same organization as the EIC.
  2. The Associate Editor designated in step 1 (say Alice) will not process the paper herself, but will hand it to another Associate Editor (say Bob) whose identity will not be disclosed to the EIC. Bob will obtain reviews and make all decisions regarding processing of the paper (such as reject, requires major revision and second review, conditional accept, accept, etc.) and will convey these decisions to the EIC by way of Alice. Alice will keep the identity of Bob anonymous from the EIC, and Bob will keep the identity of the reviewers anonymous from Alice.
  3. In case of guest edited special issues, such as based on papers invited from Conferences, the guest editor will make the final decision directly but will annonymize all reviewer information in corresponding with the authors, including the EIC.
  4. In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, existing standards of acceptability must be rigorously applied when considering papers (co-)authored by EICs. Papers which are marginal in any way should be rejected.

Each Journal, at discretion of its EIC, can impose additional requirements. In the extreme case, EIC authorship can be prohibited. In all cases the policy should be explicitly posted on the web page of the Journal. The EIC is required to inform the Publications Board Chair whenever the policy is modified, especially if modified to be less stringent than it was. When a new EIC is appointed additional requirements in place by the outgoing EIC can be changed by the incoming EIC as a condition of acceptance.

 
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