Future of Publishing Group

The FCA’s Future of Publishing group focuses on creating an archive of computer science research for the future that supports reproducibility, open data, rigor in reviewing, and open access


Computing science, broadly defined, can look back to a tremendously successful publication history, in which the ACM has played a central role. In just a few decades, the broad, vibrant field has amassed a major body of knowledge, as represented by a large, usually high-quality, and usually well-vetted literature. It stands to reason that, for computing to continue thrive, the publication process must continue to serve the computing community as well (or better!) as it has in the past.

Furthermore, computing technology has revolutionized how virtually all other fields of science publish. As such, our field bears a particular responsibility to look after how scientific results are published, and to both drive innovation in this sector and to raise standards by setting positive examples.

Unfortunately, there are mounting signs that the traditional publishing, quality-assurance, and author-reward models are increasingly straining to scale and adapt to modern realities. In particular, there is growing concern amongst the current and coming generation of researchers around many practices related to publishing, reviewing, and career advancement. The future of pay-walled archives is unclear, and the practice of producing archival publications is not sustainable in its current form.  Change is needed to reflect best practice in reproducibility, open data, accessibility, rigour in reviewing, and open access to create an archive of computing science research for the future.

Goal 1:  Develop an evidence based understanding of current best practices in publishing across computing science.

Recent examples of reflection on peer review, which demonstrated significant variation in accept/reject decisions made by program committees (NIPS), and initiatives such as ACM Artefact Review and SIGCHI RepliCHI Award, show a desire from the research community to improve research and publication practice.  This working group will collate an evidence base from the computing science community, bringing together currently disparate efforts in this area.  Our on-going survey of practice will be publicised through a blog aimed at computing science researchers and practitioners.

Goal 2:  Re-imagine a publishing and dissemination culture that exemplifies the values of open access, open data, and rigour.

Values in publication are changing, with more support than ever for open access, open data, transparency, and accessibility.  Often, these values are also mandated by funding bodies that spend public money.  We will develop concepts for a modern approach to knowledge sharing that could support new reviewing processes, enable multimedia archives and resources, incentivise reproducibility and open practices based on empirical evidence.

Goal 3:  Advocate for change in publishing practice based on empirical evidence and ethical values.

This working group will develop channels to put these concepts into practice.  We will disseminate our results to SIG leaders and through the Publications Board to enact change in how publishing practice occurs throughout ACM.



Mirja Kühlewind

Wouter Koolen

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