Submitting and Investigating Claims

Submitting and Investigating Claims


Submitting a Claim

Any individual is entitled to make a formal claim that a violation of this policy has occurred. It is not necessary for a claimant to have any formal relationship (e.g., author, reviewer, program committee member) to the Work that is claimed to be in violation of ACM Publications Policy, nor is it required that the claimant be a member of ACM; however, it is necessary that the claim involves an ACM Work (as defined above).

Any individuals submitting a formal claim that a violation has occurred must:

  • identify themselves (i.e., anonymous reports are not considered),
  • indicate whether there is or is not a formal relationship to the Work (e.g., author of violated work, reviewer, or editor of violating Work),
  • provide a detailed written description of the claim, and
  • provide detailed evidence supporting the claim, including:
    • a citation to the original Work(s) (Work title, author, publication title, date of publication), if any;
    • a citation to the alleged violating Work;
    • indication of specific pages, sections, paragraphs, etc. in each work alleged as evidence of the violation

ACM encourages the submission of the following additional information to aid in its investigation:

  • copies of all Works involved in the alleged violation,
  • additional information regarding how to obtain involved Works that are unpublished (e.g., a technical report, an online posting),
  • any other information that would help ACM efficiently to investigate the claim

It is not sufficient for an individual simply to allege to ACM that a potential violation has occurred-ACM will not investigate potential violations without a complete claim being submitted.

The process for submitting claims depends on the type and status of the Work that is the subject of the claim, as follows:

  • For Works that have already been published in an ACM Publication (Conference Article, Journal Article, Book, etc.), submit a formal claim that a violation has occurred by sending an email to the ACM Director of Publications.
  • For unpublished Works that have been submitted to any non-conference related ACM Publications, submit a formal claim that a violation has occurred by sending an email to the ACM Director of Publications.
  • For unpublished Works that have been submitted to any ACM Conference, Workshop, or Symposium, submit a formal claim that a violation has occurred by sending an email to the Conference, Workshop, or Symposium's Program Committee Chair(s). The name and contact information for the Program Committee Chair(s) can be found on the Conference, Workshop, or Symposium's website.
  • All other cases should be referred to the ACM Director of Publications.

Please note that ACM (via the ACM Director of Publications, ACM Publications Board Ethics & Plagiarism Committee, or Conference, Workshop, or Symposia Program Committee Chair(s) or General Chair(s)) will only process claims related to Works submitted and under consideration by ACM Publications or for Works published by ACM. Claims of violations in non-ACM publications should be directed to their publishers. Complaints against ACM members related to items not published by ACM may be referred to ACM's Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) for possible investigation and action.

Investigating Claims

Provided the minimum information required has been provided in writing, ACM will investigate a claim of Publications Policy violations. ACM will take some or all of the steps outlined below based on the circumstances of each individual case. ACM reserves the right to close an active investigation if additional information is requested but not provided by the claimant.

Some or all of the investigation steps to be taken:

  • Upon receipt of a claim that this Policy has been violated, ACM will review the submitted claim and supporting documentation. If any additional documentation is needed ACM will request that documentation from the claimant, who shall provide that documentation to ACM before the formal investigation can proceed.
  • When ACM formally opens an investigation into a claim the Director of Publications will inform appropriate ACM Volunteers and Headquarters Staff. The Director will then coordinate the investigation with the assistance of ACM's Intellectual Property & Rights Manager.
  • For all submitted but not yet published Conference, Workshop, and Symposium Works, the Program Committee Chair(s) shall take the lead on the investigation and shall notify appropriate parties that a claim has been received and an investigation has been initiated. If the Program Committee Chair(s) are unwilling, unable, or conflicted with the claim, the Conference, Workshop, or Symposium General Chair(s) shall take the lead on the investigation and shall follow the same steps outlined here, as appropriate.
  • If appropriate, a comparison of the Works is conducted utilizing Crossref's Similarity Check software, provided by, and a report is generated that gives an initial indication of the amount of text overlap that exists between the Works. This initial scan may provide some indication of text-based plagiarism, but will not indicate whether more complex forms of plagiarism may have taken place.
  • A manual review of the materials will be conducted.
  • ACM will notify the accused that a claim has been submitted but will keep the identity of the claimant confidential as outlined by policy. ACM will provide as much supporting documentation as possible to the accused without breaching confidentiality.
  • The accused will be allowed to respond to the claim in a timely manner and provide supporting documentation. The accused's response will inform the next steps to be taken by ACM.
    • If the accused denies the details of the claim ACM will continue to investigate.
    • If the accused admits that the violation occurred and waives the right to appeal ACM's decision, then ACM will move to the penalty phase of the case.
  • A peer review of the claim by the ACM Publications Board Ethics & Plagiarism Committee including one or more subject-matter experts will occur to help ACM evaluate the validity of the claim.
  • Input will be solicited from the Editor-in-Chief (if a journal) or Program Chair (if conference proceedings) and referees of Works at issue.
  • Consulting with ACM legal counsel; and/or
  • Communicating with the individuals involved on both sides to update them on the status of the investigation and to inform both sides of decisions taken by ACM with respect to the claim(s).

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