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Viability Review Process

* Purpose of Viability Reviews

The Publications Board continuously monitors all ACM publications and their charters to ensure that they are contributing to goals of the Publications Board Strategic Plan. As part of this monitoring, the Publications Board has instituted a Publication Viability Review process.

* Review Schedule

The Reviews are conducted on a semi-annual basis, in conjunction with the in-person meetings, with approximately 25% of the ACM publications reviewed at each meeting, so that a complete review of all publications is completed roughly every two years. In addition, special reviews may be undertaken whenever the Publications Board determines it is appropriate, such as for publications under probation or when an EiC requests such a review. The Board may also specifically exclude a publication from a review (e.g., tart-up, special review, change of EiC).

While the EiC provides input to the viability review, the actual review at the Board will be a closed discussion, with the EiC receiving a summary of the decision and its rationale.

* Input to the Viability Review

The review is based on the viability review form, a prose report from the EiC, quarterly reports submitted by the EiC, and a statement solicited from relevant SIG(s).

The Board, through the SIG Liaison, will solicit a statement from any/all relevant SIGs, regarding the SIG(s) perception of the particular publication. This request for input will be made no less than ninety days prior to the Review.

ACM Publications Staff will coordinate with the EiC in the preparation of the viability review form. ACM Staff will provide the needed statistical, financial, production, web, and subscription data. Until such time that the Manuscript Tracking System is in operation, the EiC will need to provide relevant data regarding the number of submissions, acceptance/rejection rates, status of manuscripts under review, and potential problems with backlogs. Eventually all data on this form can be collected by Staff. The viability review form will be completed before the EiC report is requested.

The EiC report describes the state of the publication relative to the Charter (which should be available on the publication's web site) and any variances thereof. The EiC report includes an overview of the field related to the publication, a notice of any "drifting" in the publication's coverage with respect to the field. The report summarizes changes made to the Editorial Board since the last viability review. The EiC can comment on or provide background information for any of the data on the viability review form. The report should mention any new publications starting up and/or any publications ceasing publication within the area of coverage of publication under review. It is expected that this report be only a few pages long except in special cases where more information is warranted. This report will be requested no less than thirty days prior to the Review.

The staff will provide a copy of the quarterly reports from the EiC since the last viability review and well as a copy of the Charter currently on the journal's web site.

All backup material will be made available to the Board at least one week prior to the Review.

ACM Publications Staff will coordinate with the EiC in the preparation of the viability review form. ACM Staff will provide the needed statistical, financial, production, web, and subscription data. Until such time that the prior to the in-person meeting, in a standard format that Staff will develop and to the EiC.

* Possible Outcomes of the Viability Review

The Publications Board will report to the ACM Council the results of all formal viability reviews held. Such results are in the form of motions passed by the Publications Board expressing its interpretation of the viability of the publication reviewed. These motions may contain commendations for exceptional efforts or expressions of support for initiatives which have been undertaken. They may also contain negative comments, which in the extreme may call for putting a publication under probation or terminating a publication.

The viability review could produce any (or several) of the following decisions:

  1. Publication is judged to be viable.
  2. Publication is placed under probation.
  3. Publication is to be terminated.
  4. The scope or charter of the publication is changed.
  5. The EiC is placed under probation.
  6. The process for replacing the EiC is initiated.
* The Value of Viability Reviews

While an occasional need may arise to use a viability review in the negative sense, this is not the primary purpose. Reviews are intended to help EiCs respond to the large demands on them to avoid problems which may become serious, and to recognize and acknowledge the very worthwhile efforts and results achieved. The Publications Board sees this process as a learning one for itself and for all the publications in its purview, and a positive step toward easier and more fruitful accomplishments for all concerned.