ACM Peer Review Policy

Policy Update Approved by the ACM Publications Board on November 30, 2023

Purpose and Scope

ACM's publications program is built on a foundation of high-quality peer review. The integrity of the publications program depends on maintaining an ethical and responsible peer-review process.

This policy defines the principles and practices for peer review in ACM Publications. It applies to all single or double anonymous peer-reviewed content in ACM Publications and sets minimum requirements for those involved in conducting peer review, including reviewers, editors, and program committees and those submitting work to be peer reviewed, including all named authors and contributors to a submitted work.

New models for peer review are emerging to address concerns around review quality, bias, diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, speed of decision making, reviewer recognition, and volunteer fatigue. ACM encourages individual ACM Publication venues to develop and experiment with new peer review models, including those that may conflict with various aspects of this Policy, such as the confidentiality requirements included below. Such experiments should be well-defined and must be proposed to the ACM Publications Board prior to implementation. Once approved, such experimental models must be clearly communicated to all stakeholders in the peer review process, and authors of previously submitted papers and reviewers already reviewing papers under the pre-existing peer review model must be given the opportunity to opt-out of such experiments for papers submitted prior to the implementation of the new experimental model. The results of such experiments will be reported back to the ACM Publications Board on an annual basis.

Principles of Peer Review

  1. Professional Responsibility and Recognition – reviewing is a professional responsibility which must be carried out with diligence and professional skill. The quality and integrity of the peer review process requires that the reviewer be a qualified expert in the subject matter of the submission, that reviewers carefully read submissions prior to completing their review, that the editor or decision maker shall read and consider the reviewers’ recommendations before making their decision, and that the reviewer communicates their review in writing to decision makers and that for papers sent out for external peer review, decision makers communicate their decisions to the author along with detailed and constructive written feedback and an explanation of the reasons for their decision. Reviewers may use generative AI or other third-party tools with the sole purpose of improving the quality and readability of reviewer reports for the author, provided any and all parts of the review that would potentially identify the submission, author identities, reviewer identity, or other confidential content is removed prior to uploading into third party tools.
    Authors have a particular responsibility in view of the benefit they receive from reviewing. Single and double anonymous ACM Publication venues are expected to acknowledge reviewers without revealing the specific submissions they have reviewed. ACM venues are encouraged to provide additional recognition to reviewers who provide consistent high-quality and timely reviews.
  2. Confidentiality of Submissions, Authors, and Reviews – For single and double anonymous publication venues, submissions may not be disclosed outside authorized reviewers; the identity of authors and the fact of their submission may not be disclosed outside those who have a bona fide need to know as part of the review process; and reviews may not be disclosed except by the authors receiving those reviews. This includes the uploading of confidential submissions, technical approaches described by authors in their submissions, or any information about the authors into any system managed by a third party, including LLMs, that does not promise to maintain the confidentiality of that information by reviewers, since the storage, indexing, learning, and utilization of such submissions may violate the author’s right to confidentiality.
  3. Confidentiality of Reviewers – For single and double anonymous ACM Publication venues, the identity of reviewers may not be disclosed to anyone who does not have a bona fide need to know as part of the review process before, during, or after the peer review process has completed. Authors of single and double anonymous ACM publication venues will make no attempt to identify or contact reviewers of their submissions. For ACM publication venues experimenting with zero anonymous or other approved peer review models, the model being implemented must be clearly communicated to all stakeholders in the peer review process in writing.
  4. Conflicts of Interest and Ethical Behavior – Reviewers, authors, and decision makers all agree to adhere to the highest ethical standards for peer review. ACM requires that the peer review process and related decisions be free of bias based on nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other demographic characteristics, personal or professional conflicts or competing interests (see ACM's Conflict of Interest Policy ) or any bias that would prevent the reviewer or decision maker from providing a fair and honest review and publication decision based on the quality, relevance, and/or importance of the submitted Work. Furthermore, when authors submit their Work to ACM Publication venues, there is an implicit agreement with ACM and the individual ACM Publication that any information contained within their submission will not be utilized during the peer review process for any purpose other than evaluating, making recommendations to the author, and making publication decisions on their submission.

The following Policies are referenced in the above Policy:

Submitting and Investigating Potential Policy Violations

Any actions that violate the above principles and policies shall result in penalties , as deemed appropriate by the ACM Publications Board and/or ACM Committee on Ethics + Plagiarism. Examples of such violations are provided in a separate Peer Review FAQ Policy.

Please find a list of frequently asked questions and answers to ACM’s updated Policy on Peer Review here.

Contact Information

Contact the ACM Director of Publications for any of the following:

  • Questions about the interpretation of this policy
  • Questions about the appeals process
  • Requests for deviations from, or extensions to, this policy
  • Reporting of potential violations of this policy

Mailing address:
ACM Director of Publications
Association for Computing Machinery
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019-7434
Email: [email protected]

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