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 AEs are anonymous to the authors, and get to view and make decisions about unpublished manuscripts.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).
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.