The Blue Diamond - July 2019


The Blue Diamond July 2019

Welcome to the July 2019 issue of ACM's Publications Newsletter, The Blue Diamond. The last few months at ACM have been extremely busy with a bunch of exciting highlights to share with you.

First and foremost, development efforts on the new ACM Digital Library (aptly named DL Next) continue, and we are inching closer and closer to the official launch. For those of you who have yet to check it out, please click or cut-and-paste into your browser. There's a dedicated "feedback" button accessible from every page on the site, so it's easy to share your comments and suggestions with the development team.

Second (and also an extremely big deal), ACM Headquarters in New York City has moved to our new offices at 1601 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10019 as of July 1, 2019. If you are sending anything to ACM HQ, please make a note of this new address.

This issue contains a number of articles highlighting several new and updated ACM Publications Policies, including ACM's updated Plagiarism Policy, a new Policy on Submission, Hosting, Access, and Ownership of Digital Artifacts, and a new ACM Policy on Coercion and Abuse in the ACM Publications Process. This issue also provides an update on Plan S that details some of the changes the architects of Plan S have recently made. If you are a researcher receiving funding from any of the Coalition S funders in Europe, you will want to read this update with links to the original source information from Coalition S.

We are also pleased to announce that several new scholarly journals were approved by the ACM Publications Board (detailed below); the new Impact Factors are in from Clarivate Analytics; and we'll provide an overview and some highlights from the recent ACM Publications Board meeting held in New York City on May 23-24, 2019. Enjoy—and, as always, please send comments and suggestions for articles you'd like to see in future issues.

Scott Delman
Director of Publications
Association for Computing Machinery
Email: [email protected]

Back to the top

Plan S—Open Access Mandate Update

As many European researchers are aware, in September 2018, a group of 11 European funding agencies released a radical new plan to accelerate the transition from traditional subscription-based publishing to a completely Open Access model. The fundamental principles of Plan S, as initially stated, are:

  • No scholarly publication should be locked behind a paywall;
  • Open Access should be immediate, i.e., without embargoes;
  • Full Open Access is implemented by the default use of a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY license as per the Berlin Declaration;
  • Funders commit to support Open Access publication fees at a reasonable level; and
  • Funders will not support publication in hybrid (or mirror/sister) journals unless they are part of a transformative arrangement with a clearly defined endpoint.

Over the past 10 years, ACM has been engaged in a variety of initiatives aimed at increasing access to ACM publications.

From the moment Plan S was announced, there were many in the research, library, and publishing communities who started to express concern over the lack of details presented in the Plan, the aggressive nature of the stated timeline, rigid approach to the transition, and general lack of consultation with stakeholders from these communities.

Here are a few practical things you need to know about Plan S, as originally announced, and the changes that were announced in May 2019:

  1. The original timeline was based on an effective date of January 1, 2020—less than 18 months from the time Plan S was announced. The effective date has now been moved back to January 1, 2021.
  2. Only scientists who receive research grants from the Coalition S funders and supporters are subject to the requirements of Plan S. According to a study conducted by Clarivate Analytics, the percentage of research papers published annually that would be impacted by this mandate is ~6% of the total papers currently indexed in the Web of Science. From the research ACM has done on articles authored by Coalition S funding recipients, Plan S funders represent less than 5% of the articles ACM publishes each year.
  3. Coalition S funders commit to support Open Access publication fees—typically called APCs—at a reasonable level. This does not necessarily mean new money is available to cover the cost of APCs, but it does mean that funding recipients may use their funding to cover the cost of APCs in publications that are considered "compliant."
  4. The original Plan S indicated that publications that were part of "transformative agreements" could be compliant, but there was little detail around what this meant. In the revised Plan, there is more detail around requirements for these agreements and a statement that such agreements will be supported until 2024 (essentially, this is the transition period being allowed by Plan S). It is worth noting that ACM has been working with various consortia in the US, Europe, and elsewhere on a framework for transitioning the traditional ACM Digital Library licensing (subscription) model to a Gold Open Access model utilizing an innovative "transformative agreement" model. More details will be announced later in 2019 as the first of these Agreements are executed; once these are in place, all ACM Publications will comply with the majority of Plan S requirements.

As I wrote in the inaugural issue of this newsletter in November 2018, there has been a steady progression towards Open Access publication for the past 20+ years across the wide range of scientific communities, and an enormous amount of progress has been made to do this transition in a sustainable way and to avoid causing significant harm to the global system of scholarly communication, on which millions of scientists rely worldwide to communicate their research through established high quality publication venues, such as peer-reviewed journals and conferences published by ACM. You can read more about some of these ACM initiatives here (

Much of the work we've been doing helps ACM authors to be compliant with many of the Open Access mandates that have been announced over the past decade, well before Plan S was announced. If you are an ACM author whose research is funded by any of the Coalition S funders or any public or private funder that has announced Open Access mandates, and you have questions about how your published work is impacted by these OA mandates, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] and I'll be happy to share what I know about ACM's policies, practices, and initiatives, and how these mandates may impact you.

Back to the top

DLNext Beta Site

ACM has launched a fully-functional beta site for the new ACM Digital Library. The beta site, called DL Next, is available alongside the existing ACM DL, and includes ACM's complete database of articles and related artifacts published during the past 70 years.

In addition to all of ACM's publications, the ACM DL aims to include fully integrated bibliographic data of all of the computing literature to serve as an extremely important discovery tool for the computing community.

The new ACM DL is based on Atypon's Literatum platform, which is one of the largest and most technologically advanced scholarly publication platforms in the world, hosting thousands of scholarly journals and publications for hundreds of publishers. We have been working in partnership with a dedicated team from Atypon to take advantage of the advanced platform and to develop new enhancements for it.

We have improved the search, speed and stability of the ACM DL. We also expanded the binders function, and you can now receive alerts based on saved searches. The clean, modern design of the new DL is responsive, providing an exceptional reading experience on a variety of devices.

The beta includes a number of features and pages, including enhanced search facets, citation exports, bibliometrics, clickable references, an "about" page with a real-time activity view, conference pages, SIG pages, a custom collection page, and others.

The new faceted search makes refining your discovery of articles easy and efficient, enabling the user to filter by subject, author, title, media format, content type, date, and a number of other useful facets. The new platform also includes better integration with Google Scholar and a growing list of other social media platforms.

We invite you to explore the beta version at on your desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Please use the feedback button to tell us what you think, or contact us via email at [email protected] or via Twitter @ACMDL.

Back to the top

Over the past few years, ACM has experienced a rise in the number copyright trolls contacting ACM in connection with copyrighted images appearing on ACM conference websites, so we thought it was important to let the community know that these copyright trolls do exist and are starting to target ACM with their predatory practices.

Copyright trolls are companies or individuals who either own the copyright to material or represent the copyright owner and threaten to file copyright infringement lawsuits against people using the images. These companies buy up copyrights just to file lawsuits against individuals or companies using the copyrighted material without permission, whether or not the infringement is intentional or an innocent mistake.

These companies use reverse-image search software that allows them to upload an image and see where that image is being used. If they own the copyright, they send a "cease and desist" letter demanding that the image be removed immediately and an exorbitant amount of money be paid to not bring a lawsuit. If these companies do not own the copyright, they then contact the copyright holder to see if the person using the image has obtained permission, and if permission had not been obtained they will send the person using the image a similar "cease and desist" letter.

ACM has been forced to compensate these trolls financially, because permission had not been requested or we could not provide proof that permission was requested and granted by the copyright holder.

ACM conference organizers need to be careful when using third-party images. When you are using images from a third party, you must carefully research who owns the copyright to the image and you must determine if permission is required for its use. The copyright holder of an image is the photographer, their agent or their employer, and they are the ones that can give you permission to use an image.

Just because you find an image on several different websites does not mean the image is free to use. There are photographers who will upload their copyrighted images on websites that allow you to download the image for free for your personal use. If you are using that image for any other reason, permission is required. You must review the terms of use for every image and if the terms of use grant you permission, you must make a pdf copy of the terms so that you can show proof of permission. If you request permission and permission is granted you need to keep a copy of that permission and send a copy to ACM.

If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Ryan, ACM’s Intellectual Property & Rights Manager, at [email protected].

Back to the top

Updated Publications Plagiarism Policy

ACM updated its Policy on Plagiarism, Misrepresentation, and Falsification on May 24, 2019. Much of the work for this new policy was done by ACM's Ethics + Plagiarism Committee, chaired by Eugene Spafford of Purdue University, in consultation with members of the ACM Publications Board and representatives from the ACM SIG community.

Over the past 5 years, the number and types of ethics-related violation claims involving ACM Publications has been on a steady rise, and ACMs previous policy simply lacked some of the detail needed to address the kinds of cases we have been seeing.

One of the key changes was to broaden the definition of plagiarism to include both published and unpublished creative work, including published and unpublished articles, data, research proposals, computer code, or other forms of creative expression. Until the change, ACMs policy did not recognize some of these other forms of creative expression as sources of potential plagiarism, nor did the policy recognize "unpublished materials," such as pre-prints, as legitimate sources of plagiarism. We took a fairly "formal" approach towards plagiarism and only considered it a formal violation if the source being copied verbatim or otherwise was also a "published" work. So, there was a real need for us to broaden the definition itself. As ACM and other publishers have implemented more liberal self-archiving policies, one of the unintended consequences is that it is almost always possible to find an earlier, unpublished version of a published work, and this has almost certainly resulted in an increase in bad actors (violators) targeting these sources of scholarly articles.

We've also added some detail to the definition of "self-plagiarism" (or "redundant publication," as it is called in the policy), as well as additional kinds of publication-related ethics violations, such as Author Misrepresentation and Content Falsification. In addition to the updated definitions and broadened scope of the Policy, we have also provided more detail on how to submit a claim, the steps taken by ACM to investigate legitimate claims, and a well-defined set of penalties when violations have been verified by ACM.

Please read the updated Policy at

Back to the top

New Policy on Coercion in Publishing

By Eugene H. Spafford

ACM's Publications Board recently ratified a new policy on coercion in publishing As stated in this new policy, "Coercion and abuse in this context include any attempt related to an ACM publication, through the use of one's position, perceived position, influence, or role either to (a) intimidate, demean, or harm another, or to (b) take any action that unjustly or inappropriately disadvantages another or provides an advantage to oneself or another. These behaviors are sometimes referred to as bullying." Problems covered by this new policy usually occur when there is some power differential involved, such as between an editor and author, or a supervisor and author. That same differential is used to discourage the victim from reporting the abuse.

Although most ACM members are (we hope) never confronted with issues covered under this policy, instances that it covers do occur more often than most people realize. Examples include:

  • an instance where a student writes a paper, and a professor threatens some form of retribution if the student does not add the professor's name to the list of authors despite the professor being uninvolved with the writing of the paper;
  • an instance where a reviewer gives poor reviews to a submission and implies the review will be improved if the submission is revised to cite some of the reviewer's prior work;
  • an instance where a journal editor rejects a submission because of the institution where the authors work, or the country where they reside;
  • an instance where an author whose work has been rejected for cause by a conference or journal threatens to (or does) report some form of discrimination unless the decision is reversed;
  • an offer to provide a better review for a paper if the author will, in turn, do some favor for the reviewer; and
  • a funding entity threatens to revoke support unless a publication takes a particular editorial position.

Other examples are given in the policy, although it is impossible to generate an exhaustive list.

The new ACM policy is intended to make clear that any form of coercion, abuse, or bullying related to ACM publication violates principles set forth in the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. (Of course, bullying and abuse outside of publication are also violations of ethical, professional conduct! It may even be the case that such coercion or abuse is a violation of the law where it occurs.)

Although ACM can't force all people to behave ethically, it is possible to take some actions in response to bad behavior related to our publications. The new policy sets forth a procedure to report instances of coercive or abusive behavior related to ACM publication. Any such reports will be investigated--respecting due process and confidentiality while doing so--to determine if there is a clear instance of inappropriate behavior. A range of possible penalties and corrective actions are described in the policy, ranging from letters of reprimand to bans on participating in ACM publications.

We are aware that, in many cases, the prospect of actions by ACM may not be enough to dissuade abusers. However, the Publications Board and staff also consider acts of coercion and abuse to be decidedly improper and of grave concern. By clearly stating this, and stating a policy for investigation and response, we intend to help educate about the problem and prevent future instances. We should all be supporting our colleagues in the fair presentation and evaluation of useful content, and this new policy makes that aspirational goal more explicit.

Back to the top

Policy on Submission, Hosting, Access, and Ownership of Digital Artifacts

The ACM Publications Board ratified a new Policy on Submission, Hosting, Access, and Ownership of Digital Artifacts on June 19, 2019. This policy replaced and built upon an older policy called the ACM Interim Video Policy, which focused entirely on how videos of presentations at ACM conferences should be handled from a rights and logistical perspective. As ACM has continued to make significant progress related to reproducibility of scientific research results following the initial creation of the ACM Reproducibility Task Force and related series of workshops (see, there has been a steady increase in the need for access to artifacts and experiments associated with scholarly publications in computer science and engineering. One of the tangible results of those initial activities was the creation of the ACM Badges (see, which are increasingly becoming ubiquitous throughout the computer science community and inside the ACM DL. All of this has led to an increased need to establish a new policy that governs how ACM authors, reviewers, editors, and ACM itself interact with these research artifacts.

The new policy defines what ACM considers "Artifacts" and how they can be submitted, evaluated, and published inside and outside the ACM Digital Library. The policy also makes a clear distinction between artifacts that serve as supplementary material in relation to articles published in the ACM DL and when and how artifacts are treated as "Primary Objects" in the DL. The policy covers topics such as submission, publication, rights & permissions, hosting, and access to artifacts.

It is important to note that the new policy will be treated as a living document that will likely be updated on a more frequent basis than other more established ACM Publications Policies. The new policy can be found at Please don't hesitate to reach out to ACM with any questions you may have about the new Policy.

Sanjiva Prasad Named New EIC of ACM Books

Sanjiva takes over as Editor-in-Chief of ACM Books from Tamer Özsu of the University of Waterloo. Tamer served two complete terms as the Founding EIC of the series and the entire ACM community is indebted to Tamer for the amazing job he did launching the new Series for ACM and the entire Computing Community. Over 25 books have been published in the Series during Tamer's tenure as EIC with an additional 25 books currently under development.

Read an ACM interview with Sanjiva Prasad.

Back to the top

ACM Announces New Transactions on Evolutionary Learning

The ACM Publications Board has approved the development and launch of a new journal titled ACM Transactions on Evolutionary Learning and Optimization. TELO will publish high-quality original papers in all areas of evolutionary computation and related areas such as population-based methods, Bayesian optimization, and swarm intelligence. Papers making solid contributions to theory, method and applications are welcome. Relevant domains include continuous, combinatorial or multi-objective optimization. Applications of interest include but are not limited to logistics, scheduling, healthcare, games, robotics, software engineering, and feature selection. TELO is particularly interested in papers at the intersection of optimization and machine learning, such as the use of evolutionary optimization for tuning and configuring machine learning algorithms, machine learning to support and configure evolutionary optimization, and hybrids of evolutionary algorithms with other optimization and machine learning techniques. The new journal plans to publish its first issue in 2020. Information about submissions and other aspects of the journal can be found on the journal's new website at

New submissions or questions can be sent to: [email protected].

Back to the top

ACM Announces New Transactions on Quantum Computing

The ACM Publications Board has approved the development and launch of a new journal titled ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing. TQC will publish high-impact, original research papers and select surveys on topics in quantum computing and quantum information science. The journal targets the quantum computer science community with a focus on the theory and practice of quantum computing, including, but not limited to, models of quantum computing, quantum algorithms and complexity, quantum computing architecture, principles and methods of fault-tolerant quantum computation, design automation for quantum computing, issues surrounding compilers for quantum hardware and NISQ implementation, quantum programming languages and systems, distributed quantum computing, quantum networking, quantum security and privacy, and applications (e.g. in machine learning and AI) of quantum computing. The new journal plans to publish its first issue in late 2020. Information about submissions and other aspects of the journal can be found on the journal's new website at

New submissions or questions can be sent to: [email protected].

Back to the top

Publications Board May 23 - 24 Meeting Highlights

The ACM Publications Board meets monthly by phone and in person three times annually to discuss and make decisions on a wide variety of ACM Publications-related issues and proposals. The most recent in-person meeting of the Board took place on May 23-24 in New York City.

These meetings typically start out with a brief update from ACM's Chief Executive Officer, Vicki Hanson, on the "State of ACM," and this meeting was no exception. Vicki talked to the Board about some of the ACM Executive Committee's priorities, including social responsibility and relevance, appealing to practitioners and the next generation of computer scientists and practitioners, and ACM's various diversity and inclusion initiatives.

ACM Director of Publications Scott Delman then gave an overview of ACM Publications activities, including what is now 53 journals, 5 new journals approved by the Publications Board and under development, and 6 new journal proposals under consideration, including a new potential journal on Gaming.

Delman also gave an update on ACM's efforts to transition ACM's Publications program from the current subscription model to a sustainable Open Access model. Over the past 6 years, ACM has continued to experiment with new and innovative tools, services, and models for Open Access (see ). This has resulted an ever-increasing number of articles being published in front of the ACM Digital Library paywall and being made publicly accessible and open access to the world. In particular, ACM has been working closely with a group of top-tier research institutions to develop a new "institutional" model for Open Access that appears to be extremely promising, which would result in hundreds of additional ACM-published articles being made Open Access each year going forward. Over the coming months, ACM should have more to announce to the community that will move us further along this path towards great access of ACM's published works.

ACM invited IEEE's Managing Director for Publications, Michael Forster, to spend an hour updating the Board on a variety of IEEE initiatives. The focus of this conversation was on lessons learned from launching IEEE Access (IEEE's large-scale Open Access journal) and the cancellation of a number of IEEE magazines.

The Board received an update on the development of a new Publications Policy on Name Changes in ACM Publications and in the ACM Digital Library. The development of this potential new policy has been a collaborative effort between members of the ACM Publications Board, various SIGs, and stakeholder members of the community. It is expected that this new draft Policy will be presented to the ACM Publications Board early this fall for consideration.

A task force has been established to investigate the topic of Peer Review in Scholarly Publication, which has become an increasing challenge for scholarly journals and conferences. The taskforce is being chaired by Nenad Medvidovic of the University of Southern California and will focus on the root causes of the challenge, its scope, and possible solutions to ease the burden that many ACM journals and conference program committees are experiencing in identifying and attracting qualified peer reviewers to provide high-quality reviews for ACM Publications.

The Board received an update on ACM's development of its new XML-based production system, aptly named TAPS (The ACM Production System). After some early-stage issues with the new system, later-stage development has been extremely positive and ACM Headquarters is working closely with many of the large- to mid-sized ACM conferences to ramp up usage of the system by ACM authors. ACM Publications Board member and faculty member at the University of Glasgow in Scotland Julie Williamson recently filmed a nice video providing information about the use of the new ACM TAPS System. View the video on the TAPS webpage,

Lastly, ACM will be launching a new website at over the next few months with lots of relevant information for ACM authors. Until the new site is launched, the current site (using the same URL) will still be operating with limited content, so please keep this in mind if you click on the link now).

I hope you've enjoyed this issue and please don't hesitate to send feedback and requests for articles you'd like to see covered in future issues.


Scott Delman
Director of Publications
Association for Computing Machinery
Email: [email protected]

Back to the top

Association for Computing Machinery
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10019

Copyright © 2019, ACM, Inc. All rights reserved