Penalties for Publication Violations

Updated by the ACM Publications Board on January 19, 2023

Introduction

Based on the findings of an investigation by the ACM Ethics and Plagiarism Committee into an allegation of Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, Misrepresentation, Falsification, Simultaneous Submission, Conflict of Interest and Coercion, peer review related violations, or other violations of ACM publications policy, one of the levels of penalty described below will be applied.

Decisions regarding violations of ACM Publications Policy are made by the ACM Publications Board or ACM Ethics and Plagiarism Committee, acting on behalf of and with the authority of the ACM Publications Board, working closely with the Director of Publications who shall communicate such decisions confidentially to the complainants and accused individuals.

Definitions and Consequences

Plagiarism
Taking another's work and including that work in a new work as one's own without proper attribution and citation of the original source or incorrectly attributing another's work. Plagiarism may be in the form of text, images, research artifacts or other intellectual property. See ACM Policy on Plagiarism, Misrepresentation, and Falsification for more information.

Redundant publication
Self-plagiarism or redundant publication of the author’s own work without citing the prior work.

Misrepresentation of Authors
When an author includes co-authors on a work that they did not contribute to or when co-authors are left off the work.

Data Falsification
A work that contains material that the one or more of the authors knows to be false or untrue when the Work was submitted for consideration of publication.

Conflict of Interest
A person’s objective judgment is — or is perceived by a reasonable observer to be — compromised by an existing undisclosed/unpermitted relationship, affiliation, or connection to a person whose work they must evaluate. See ACM Conflict of Interest Policy for a more detailed definition.

Coercion
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.

Penalties

Level I - Incidental violation

  • An incidental violation occurs when an action violates ACM policy through a correctable mistake or there is a demonstrable lack of intentional misconduct. This finding serves as an official warning for future consideration.
  • Published items in the ACM Digital Library will be updated with a corrigendum noting the reasons for change and addressing the issue. Unpublished items under consideration may be revised and resubmitted, or rejected without further consideration, as the Editor chooses. Any and all corrections shall be done in a manner consistent with the ACM Publications Policy on the Withdrawal, Correction, Retraction, and Removal of Works from ACM Publications and the ACM Digital Library.

Level II - Low-level violation

Level III - Moderate violation

  • A moderate violation occurs when an action violates ACM Policy in a way that a reasonable person would have known that the conduct was inappropriate.
  • Published items in the ACM Digital Library will be retracted. Unpublished items will be rejected without further review.
  • The violators will be banned from contributing to the same Publication or any related ACM Venue for a full calendar year. A related ACM Venue is defined as a Venue that serves the same research community, such as another conference sponsored by the same ACM Special Interest Group or an ACM journal on a similar topic. This one-year ban includes serving in a leadership role for a related ACM Venue (i.e.- journal editorial board, conference program committee, conference leadership, peer reviewer, etc.)
  • A letter explaining the violation, findings, and penalties will be sent to the Dean, chair, or supervisor of each party found in violation.

Level IV - Significant violation

  • A significant violation occurs when there is evidence that the misconduct was intentional or repeated. Refusal to cooperate with an investigation in which there is some evidence of intentional misconduct of a lesser violation can result in a finding of a significant violation.
  • Published items in the ACM Digital Library will be retracted. Unpublished items will be rejected without further review.
  • The violators will be banned from submission to any ACM Venue for the next two years. This ban includes submitting new papers to any ACM Venue (i.e.- journals, conferences, magazines, books, etc.) and includes serving in a leadership role for an ACM Venue (i.e.- journal editorial board, program committee, conference leadership, peer reviewer, etc.)
  • A letter explaining the violation, findings, and penalties will be sent to the Dean, chair, or supervisor of each party found in violation.

Level V - Severe violation

  • A severe violation occurs when there is evidence of egregious or repeated significant misconduct.
  • Published items in the ACM Digital Library will be retracted. Unpublished items will be rejected without further review.
  • The violators will be banned from contributing to any ACM Venue for the next five years. This ban includes submitting new papers to any ACM Venue (i.e.- journals, conferences, magazines, books, etc.) and includes serving in a leadership role for an ACM Venue (i.e.- journal editorial board, program committee, conference leadership, peer reviewer, etc.)
  • The case and evidence will be forwarded to the ACM Committee on Professional Ethics for consideration.
  • A letter explaining the violation, findings, and penalties will be sent to the Dean, chair, or supervisor of each party found in violation.

Combined Violations

Multiple violations may be combined into a single penalty level or may be assigned separately depending on the circumstances. If the penalties are assigned separately and the penalties include multiple bans on contribution, the bans may be designated as consecutive bans, if appropriate.

Special Circumstances

Penalty levels may be adjusted from the above if warranted by special circumstances.

Referral to ACM Committee on Professional Ethics
In the event the ACM Ethics & Plagiarism Committee finds that any publications related violation may also be a violation of ACM’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (ACM CODE), a case may also be referred to ACM’s Committee on Professional Ethics (ACM COPE).

Related ACM Policies

Violations of any of ACM's Publications Policies may result in one or more of the above penalties. For a listing of all current ACM Publications Policies, please see https://www.acm.org/publications/policies

Appealing Violation Decisions

See Appealing Policy Violation Decisions.

External Resources

ACM is an active member of the international Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). This COPE is a different organization than the ACM Committee on Professional Ethics (ACM COPE). The Committee on Publication Ethics provides guidance and standards of practice for publishers and the scientific community, as well as educational resources that will help ACM authors to follow acceptable publishing practice. Many of ACM's Publications Policies are informed by COPE Guidelines and Standards of Practice.

Contact ACM
The ACM Director of Publications should be contacted for any:

  • Questions about the interpretation of this policy
  • Questions about appeals of decisions
  • Requests for deviations from, or extensions to, this policy
  • Reporting of egregious behavior related to this policy, including purposeful evasion of the policy or false reporting

Mailing address:

ACM Director of Publications Association for Computing Machinery
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019-7434
Phone: +1-212-626-0659
Or via email: scott.delman@hq.acm.org

Please use the online form to report incidents related to the potential Violations of ACM Publications Policies.

 

Report a Potential Violation

If you believe one or more of ACM’s Publications Policies have been violated and you have credible evidence of such violation(s), you may report a potential violation as a claimant. Before you report a potential violation, please read ACM’s Publications Policies carefully.

Enforcement of ACM Policies

ACM has adopted several key policies that span across its many computing disciplines and research practices. To enforce these policies, ACM has developed procedures for adhering to and reporting violations and measures for addressing suspected cases of violation.