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Manuscript Preparation


Editorial Guidelines


1. TODS will encourage submissions which have not been published or submitted in any form elsewhere, and submissions which may significantly contribute to opening up new and potentially important areas of research and development. TODS will do this by giving earliest possible publication dates for such submissions once they have been accepted. The Associate Editors, with recommendation from the reviewers, will determine submissions that fall into these categories and recommend them to the Editor-in-Chief, who will make the final determination.

2. TODS will foster closer fusion of theory and systems by strongly encouraging the authors of theory papers to indicate applications and implementation considerations/consequences, and the authors of systems papers to indicate the use of existing theoretical results and to point to possible theoretical research issues.

3. TODS will publish outstanding papers which are "major value-added extensions" of papers previously published in conferences; that is, TODS will not automatically reject papers that are major extensions to previously published conference papers. These papers will go through the normal review process.

4. TODS will make papers more easily readable by strongly encouraging authors to include examples where appropriate and to make greater efforts to target their presentation to a broader audience than specialists doing current research in the topical areas of the papers.

5. The TODS Editorial Board is committed to providing an editorial decision within five months, starting with papers submitted in January 2004. This turnaround time is defined to start with the day the paper was submitted electronically and extends to the day the decision was sent to the author. It is expected that the average turnaround time will be even shorter, so prospective authors can expect a fast review of their submission. TODS editors will also regard a submission to have been withdrawn if its required revision is not submitted within six months of the revision notification.

6. TODS papers cannot exceed 45 pages in TODS format, including figures, references, etc. but not including e-only appendices. TODS also discourages unnecessary digressions in shorter papers. This is to motivate the authors to bring out the essence of their papers more clearly, to make it easier for the reviewers and readers, and to allow TODS to publish more papers in any given issue.

7. In a similar vein, TODS encourages shorter submissions, including even very short (say, five page) submissions. The primary criterion for acceptance is improving on the state-of-the-art in some significant way.

8. TODS will adopt the ACM Computing Surveys' style of references; that is, references will be labeled by authors' names and years of publication, rather than by numbers.

9. The editor processing a paper normally assigns three reviewers to a paper. Reviewers provide advice to the editor to help him/her to reach an editorial decision on the paper; the editor's decision may differ from the consensus of the reviewers. If the editor can ascertain early that a submission is a clear-reject (through an early-arriving review, editor's own reading, etc.), the editor may stop the review process, without collecting all reviews.

10. TODS will publish occasional special issues to provide a timely boost to promising areas of research and development, or a timely consolidation of the results in other areas. Guest editors will be invited to organize such issues.

11. TODS also publishes focused surveys. These should be deep and will sometimes be quite narrow, but would make a contribution to our understanding of an important area or subarea of databases, broadly defined. More general surveys that are intended for a broad-based Computer Science audience or surveys that may influence other areas of computing research should continue to go to ACM Computing Surveys. Brief surveys on recent developments in database research are more appropriate for SIGMOD Record. TODS surveys should be educational to database audiences by presenting a relatively well-established body of database research. Surveys can summarize prior literature on a theoretical or systems research topic, or can explain approaches implemented in commercial systems. A survey of the former type summarizes a literature on a particular subject, presenting a new way of understanding how the papers in this literature fit together. A survey of the latter type summarizes the best industrial art, and can be acceptable even if it represents no new contribution over what has been used in industry for years, if the paper's content is not to be found in the published literature.


Types of Papers


The ACM Transactions on Database Systems publishes original archival papers in the area of databases and closely related disciplines. (See the Editorial Charter for further details.) Submitted papers are judged primarily on originality and relevance, but effective presentation is also critical. Contributions should conform to generally accepted practices for scientific papers with respect to organization and style.

TODS also publishes focused surveys. These should be deep and will sometimes be quite narrow, but would make a contribution to our understanding of an important area or subarea of databases, broadly defined. More general surveys that are intended for a broad-based Computer Science audience or surveys that may influence other areas of computing research should continue to go to ACM Computing Surveys. Brief surveys on recent developments in database research are more appropriate for SIGMOD Record. TODS surveys should be educational to database audience by presenting a relatively well-established body of database research.

Finally, TODS welcomes submissions that review, critique, correct, or expand on a paper previously published in TODS. Such submissions will go through the standard formal review. Where appropriate, the author(s) of the original paper will be given an opportunity to respond, with their own submission. (As an example, in TODS Volume 8, Issue 4 (December 1983), William Kent responds to a paper by Aho, Beeri and Ullman. In that same issue, Ullman responds to Kent's technical correspondence.)


ACM Author Representations


Authors must comply with the ACM author representations policy, in addition to what is stated here.


Double-Blind Reviewing Policy
 

  1. TODS reaffirms the general ACM policy that "the quality of a refereed publication rests primarily on the impartial judgment of their volunteer reviewers."
  2. TODS will continue to strive to ensure fairness in reviewing, even if that involves more work for the TODS editorial board.
  3. Scientific studies have demonstrated opportunities for bias inherent in single-blind reviewing.
  4. It is TODS policy that every submission should be judged on its own merits. The identity and affiliation of the authors should not influence, either positively or negatively, the evaluation of submissions to TODS.
  5. In consideration of the above, TODS will utilize double-blind reviewing, in which the identities of the reviewer and author are not made known to each other
  6. TODS will continue to strive to make the submission process for authors as simple as possible.
  7. TODS will continue to strive to effect a comprehensive review of each submission.

Note that this policy is not dependent on absolute or even relative blinding efficacy. The central and unambiguous message is that every submission should be judged solely on its own merits. This message applies even when reviewers know exactly who the authors are.

See the DBR FAQ for answers to questions about the TODS double-blind review procedure.


Preparing Your Paper for Double-Blind Reviewing


TODS strives to ensure fairness in reviewing. It is TODS policy that every submission should be judged solely on its own merits. The identity and affiliation of the authors should not influence, either positively or negatively, the evaluation of submissions to TODS. For this reason, all submissions to TODS will undergo double-blind review, in which authors and reviewers are unaware of each other's identities.


Ensuring Anonymity

To ensure anonymity of authorship, authors must blind their manuscript by performing the following simple alterations.

  • Authors' names and affiliations must not appear on the title page or elsewhere in the paper.
  • Funding sources(s) must not be acknowledged on the title page or elsewhere in the paper.
  • All personal acknowledgments should be omitted. Research group members or other colleagues or collaborators must not be acknowledged anywhere in the paper. There should also be no acknowledgment section in the paper.
  • Source file naming must also be done with care. It is strongly suggested that the submitted file be named as todssubmission.pdf. Also, if your name is Jane Smith and you submit a PDF file generated from a .dvi file called Jane-Smith.dvi, one can infer your authorship by looking into the PDF file. Similarly, you should remove name and affiliation information from the "properties" of your document. Some forget this, since such properties are filled in silently when a document is created or copied. For example, Microsoft Word fills in your Name and Company that it maintains from the installation process. This information is sometimes transferred even when you convert to another form, such as PDF.

Despite the anonymity requirements, you should still include relevant prior published work of your own in the references---omitting them could potentially reveal your identity by negation. Prior published work is defined as any research paper that has been published and made available prior to submission to TODS (a) in the online or printed proceedings of a refereed conference or refereed workshop, (b) as a longer poster papers (4 pages or more) in such a conference or workshop, or (c) in an online or printed issue of a journal. However, you should not cite a published demonstration paper of your own even if it is in prior published work as defined above.

You must use care in referring to your prior published work. For example, if you are Jane Smith, the following text reveals the authorship of the submitted paper:

In our previous work [Doe 1997, Smith 1998], we presented two algorithms for .... We build on that work by ...



Bibliography

JOHN DOE and JANE SMITH, A Simple Algorithm for ..., Proceedings of ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data, pp. 1-10, 1997.



JANE SMITH, A More Complicated Algorithm for.., Proceedings of ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data, pp. 34-44, 1998.

The solution is to reference your prior published work in the third person (just as you would any other piece of work that is related to the submitted paper). This allows you to set the context for the submitted paper, while at the same time preserving anonymity.

In previous work [Doe 1997, Smith 1998], algorithms were presented for ... We build on that work by ...



Bibliography

JOHN DOE and JANE SMITH, A Simple Algorithm for ..., Proceedings of ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data, pp. 1-10, 1997.
 

JANE SMITH, A More Complicated Algorithm for.., Proceedings of ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data, pp. 34-44, 1998.


Anonymous Citations

Referring to any work (including but not limited to your own work) that has been submitted elsewhere for review (and hence is as yet unpublished), or that has been accepted for publication at a referred conference, referred workshop, or a journal for which proceedings (printed or online) will be made available after the submission of your TODS manuscript, requires a different protocol to ensure consistency with double-blind reviewing. In the body of your TODS submission, you may refer to such work in the third person as follows.

The authors have also developed closely related techniques for query optimization [Anonymous], but...

In the above example, the reference in the bibliography would then read:

ANONYMOUS, details omitted due to double-blind reviewing.

Note that you should mention neither the authors nor the title or venue of publication while describing anonymous citations like that above. Be sure to place all anonymous citations after the list of your regular citations. Of course, this does not mean you are not responsible to provide the details of such anonymous citations. You should disclose (for use by the Editors only) full details of each such anonymous citation in your cover letter, which will not be made available to the reviewer. Furthermore, you may be asked to submit a copy of one of these papers corresponding to such citations. An editor will contact you during the review period if this becomes necessary.

Technical reports (or URLs for down-loadable versions) of your own work should not be referenced. Self-references should also be limited to only papers that are relevant and essential for the reviewing of the submitted paper.

Conflicts of Interest

As conflicts of interest between the author and reviewer are harder to detect in double-blind review, authors are required to submit a list of all such conflicts in their cover letter. To reduce the effort of preparing such a list, TODS adopts the definition of conflict of interest utilized by the US National Science Foundation.

Specifically, you should list all people who are potential reviewers and who have a relationship with one of the authors involving the following.

  • Known family relationship as spouse, child, sibling, or parent.
  • Business or professional partnership.
  • Past or present association as thesis advisor or thesis student.
  • Collaboration on a project or on a book, article, report, or paper within the last 48 months.
  • Co-editing of a journal, compendium, or conference proceedings within the last 24 months.
  • Other relationship, such as close personal friendship, that you think might tend to affect your judgment or be seen as doing so by a reasonable person familiar with the relationship.

Please list these people under the appropriate categories.

Well-Known or Unique Systems

Papers on well-known or unique systems may be more difficult to blind. All that is required is that blatant statements that could identify one of the authors be ambiguated.

A common approach is to state that the developers of the system (which might well have been the authors of the submitted paper) made the system available to the authors of the submitted paper (which is strictly a true statement). For software, the developers might have shared the source code with the authors; for a hardware system, the developers might have made the system available for use by the authors. It might even be useful to explicitly mention that the developers provided guidance on the internals of the system.

There is no expectation that manuscripts be extensively rewritten to attempt to mask the identity of the authors.

Anonymity in Revisions

All comments to the reviewers and all manuscript revisions except for a possible final revision after the paper has been accepted (should the paper be accepted) should also follow the guidelines above.

Summary

It is the responsibility of authors to do their very best to follow the specific steps listed here to preserve anonymity. Papers that do not follow the guidelines here are subject to immediate rejection.

The steps can be summarized quickly.

  1. Anonymize the title page.
  2. Remove mention of funding sources and personal acknowledgments.
  3. Anonymize references found in running prose that cite your papers.
  4. Anonymize citations of submitted work in the bibliography.
  5. Ambiguate statements on well-known or unique systems that identify an author.
  6. Name your files with care and ensure document properties are also anonymized.

Authors need only take these six steps to adequately blind their papers.

Common sense can go a long way toward preserving anonymity without diminishing the quality or impact of a paper. The goal is to preserve anonymity to a reasonable degree while still allowing the reader to fully grasp the context (related past work, including your own) of the submitted paper and while making it relatively easy for the author to follow the required steps. If you desire specific guidance, please contact the Editor-in-Chief.

More information can be found in the DBR FAQ.

Prior Publication Policy

The technical contributions appearing in ACM journals are normally original papers that have not been published elsewhere, as specified in ACM's Plagiarism Policy.

A submission based on one or more papers that appeared elsewhere must have major value-added extensions over what appeared previously. For conference papers, there is little scientific merit in simply sending the submitted version to a journal after the paper has been accepted for the conference. The scientific community gains little from this.

Widely disseminated refereed conference proceedings, in addition to journal papers, are considered publications, but technical reports and CORR articles (neither of which are peer reviewed) are not. All overlapping papers appearing in workshop proceedings and newsletters should be brought to the editor's attention; they may be considered publications if they are peer reviewed and widely disseminated.

Novelty Requirement

A submitted manuscript that is based on one or more previous publications by one or more of the authors should have at least 30% new material. The new material should be content material: For example, it should not just be straightforward proofs or performance figures that do not offer substantial, new insights. The submitted manuscript affords an opportunity to present additional results, for example by considering new alternatives or by delving into some of the issues listed in the previous publication(s) as future work. At the same time, it is not required that the submitted manuscript contain all of the material from the published paper(s). To the contrary: only enough material need be included from the published paper to set the context and render the new material comprehensible.

Disclosure Requirement

ACM's Self-Plagiarism Policy is quite specific.

"Manuscripts submitted to ACM Journals and Transactions based on the author's own previously copyrighted work (e.g., appearing in a conference proceedings) must be disclosed at the time of submission and an explicit reference to the prior publication must be included in the submitted manuscript."

This requirement concerns any paper by any author of the TODS submission that overlaps significantly with the TODS submission and: (a) is in submission, (b) has been accepted for publication, or (c) has been published at the time of submission. An overlap is significant when it exceeds a page of the TODS submission or when the overlap concerns content material in the TODS submission, regardless of length.

  1. Papers in categories (b) and (c) should be referenced by the TODS submission and discussed in the related work section of the submission at a level of detail similar to the level of detail used in the coverage of related work by other authors. It should be clear to readers how the manuscript differs from this prior work and what the manuscript contributes over this prior work. Papers that enter into the categories (b) and (c) during the handling of the TODS submission should be afforded the same coverage in the first revision where this is possible.
  2. At the time of submission and in writing separate from the submitted manuscript, the corresponding author must inform the handling editor about all papers in categories (a)-(c). In addition, the corresponding author should promptly inform the editor about any papers that enter into categories (a)-(c) during the handling of the submission.
  3. Should the submission be accepted for TODS, it is good form to notify the editor handling papers in category (a), for the other venues, of the overlap.

Note that the novelty requirement applies to papers in categories (a)-(c).

How does this interact with the TODS Policy on Double-Blind Reviewing? The disclosure requirement still applies, but references in the bibliography should be cited anonymously. As an example, if the TODS submission is an extension of a previously-published conference paper, which is common and entirely appropriate, the contributions beyond that conference paper should be discussed in the related work section, referencing the conference paper as an anonymous citation.


Submission for Editorial Review


Preparing Your Manuscript

For instructions on preparing your manuscript using LaTeX or Word, please go to the following page for further instructions.

http://www.acm.org/publications/authors/submissions

When using LaTeX, use "acmsmall" in \documentclass to get the format used by TODS.

How to Submit

To submit a paper, please use the file upload submission process. PDF or postscript are the preferred formats.

Before submitting their manuscript, authors should examine the Prior Publication Policy to ensure that their manuscript adheres to both the novelty and disclosure requirements and the section on Preparing Your Paper for Double-Blind Reviewing to ensure that their manuscript has been properly blinded.

Required Cover Letter

The submission should include a cover letter that is separate from the manuscript. Include in the cover letter the following information.

This cover letter can be short.

Note that the following should not be included in the cover letter.

  • Novelty requirement: A discussion of new material in this manuscript over previously-published papers should be discussed in the related work section of the submission. It should be clear to readers how the manuscript differs from this prior work and what the manuscript contributes over this prior work.
  • Disclosure requirement: Papers that overlap significantly with the submission and are in submission or have been accepted for publication should be referenced by the TODS submission and discussed in the related work section of the submission at a level of detail similar to the level of detail used in the coverage of related work by other authors.

The cover letter will be seen by the Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editor, but not by the reviewers.

Manuscript Format


To ensure proper indexing, classification, retrieval and dissemination, authors must include the following in the manuscript.

  • Descriptive title
  • Abstract
  • Content indicators - An important aspect of preparing your paper for publication by ACM Press is to provide the proper indexing and retrieval information from the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS). This is beneficial to you because accurate categorization provides the reader with quick content reference, facilitating the search for related literature, as well as searches for your work in ACM's Digital Library and on other online resources.

    Please read the HOW TO CLASSIFY WORKS USING ACM'S COMPUTING CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM for instructions on how to classify your document using the 2012 ACM Computing Classification System and insert the index terms into your LaTeX or Microsoft Word source file.

  • Citations to relevant literature

Language Services

ACM has partnered with American Journal Experts (AJE) to provide language editing (and translation) services to ACM authors. AJE has helped thousands of researchers around the world to present their research in polished English suitable for publication in journals such as those published by ACM. Editing is available for both Word and LaTeX files.

To take advantage of this partnership, visit http://www.aje.com/c/acm15. Using the link will give you a 15% discount off all AJE services. (Editing services are at author expense and do not guarantee publication of a paper.)

Please note that formatting assistance is provided at no charge to authors by Aptara, as specified on the author style guide pages: http://www.acm.org/publications/submissions/.

Interaction with the Editors

Authors should keep editors informed of changes of address. Papers will be refereed in the manner customary with scientific journals before being accepted for publication. It you have any questions, please contact the Editor-in-Chief, and always inform editors in your submission letters of any possible conflicts. Correspondence on editorial matters should be addressed to one of the editors. Correspondence regarding accepted papers should be sent to the following address.

       Managing Editor
       TODS
       ACM
       1515 Broadway
       New York, NY 10036

Review Process

Submitted papers are evaluated by anonymous referees for originality, relevance, and presentation. (Please see the TODS referee guidelines for more details.) The author will be notified of the name of an Associate Editor who will be responsible for the processing of the manuscript, and should address correspondence to that Associate Editor.

Appeals

If an author has concerns about how their paper was handled, that author should first bring those concerns to the Associate Editor who handled the processing of the paper. In almost all cases, any misunderstanding will be able to be resolved then. If the concern is not addressed, the author can ask the Associate Editor to turn over processing of the paper to the Editor-in-Chief. This is the Associate Editor's decision. Should the Associate Editor decide not to turn over the processing of the paper, the editorial decision will stand. Otherwise, the Editor-in-Chief will reexamine the materials, and make the final editorial decision.

If the concerns are still not adequately addressed, then the author can appeal to the Chair of the ACM Publications Board, in accordance with ACM policy.


Procedures for Accepted Papers


How to Prepare Final Version

Once a manuscript is accepted, a final version must be submitted to the Editor who processed the paper for transmission to ACM for publication. Although this may be done on paper, electronic submission is highly encouraged. ACM provides for a wide variety of formats for such electronic submissions. Please refer to ACM's Guidelines for Submitting Accepted Articles for details. If the final manuscript is submitted in a format other than LaTeX, then a printed copy of the manuscript must also be sent to the Editor who processed the paper. The final version of the paper can be no longer than 45 pages in ACM format. Additional material can be placed in an electronic appendix, for which there is no a priori length restriction.

The Editor who processed the paper will send to ACM a cover letter notifying ACM of the paper's acceptance and all milestone dates regarding the processing of the paper.

Authors whose papers are accepted sign a form which transfers copyright to the ACM. This form will be sent by the Editor-in-Chief along with notification of acceptance. The completed form should be returned as indicated on the form. Authors retain liberal rights to material published by the ACM. The following is the standard copyright notice used by ACM journals:

  • Copyright (c) 200x by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or direct commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept, ACM Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or permissions@acm.org.

Further details can be found at ACM Copyright Policy.

Submittal of an algorithm for consideration for publication in Transactions on Database Systems implies that unrestricted use of the algorithm within a computer is permissible.

ACM Author-Izer Service

The ACM Author-Izer Service extends the ACM's support for self-archiving by enabling authors to generate and post links in their own bibliographies that they maintain on either their personal home page or institutional repository.

These links will allow visitors to your personal bibliography pages download the definitive version of the articles for free from the ACM DL. These downloads will be recorded as part of your DL usage statistics.

A summary description of the service and instructions for its use are available.

The Service can be applied to all the articles you have ever published with ACM.

Supplemental Online-only Material

Please provide a brief description of your supplementary online-only material (i.e., text and multimedia material) to be published in the Digital Library. A short readme.txt file will appear in the DL along with your supplementary material describing its content and whatever requirements there are for using it.

Author Rights

Working with the computing community, ACM leadership has responded to calls to make scholarly articles more openly accessible, to enable authors to exercise greater control of their published works, and to comply with the increasing demands placed on authors by funding agencies. 

ACM authors now have three ways to manage their publication rights with ACM:

  1. A license granting ACM non-exclusive permission to publish—by choosing to pay for perpetual open access from the ACM Digital Library, authors may opt to self-manage all rights to their work. 
  2. A new Publishing License Agreement granting ACM exclusive publication rights—in choosing this license authors grant ACM the right to serve as the exclusive publisher of their work and to manage ongoing rights and permissions associated with the work, including the right to defend it against improper use by third parties. This exclusive license is roughly the equivalent of ACM’s traditional Copyright Transfer Agreement except that the author continues to hold copyright. 
  3. ACM's traditional Copyright Transfer Agreement—for authors comfortable with the existing agreement.

Learn more by visiting the Information for Authors webpage.

Author-izer

ACM is also implementing changes to to allow for more free access to the content of ACM journals and Special Interest Group conference proceedings in the ACM Digital Library and other online venues:

  • SIGs may choose to enable open access to the most current proceedings volume of their sponsored conferences from the conference or SIG site.
  • SIGs may make conference proceedings freely available via the ACM DL platform for up to two weeks before the event, and for a total of one month.

These options will facilitate access to proceedings content by conference attendees. They will also enable the community at large to learn about the latest developments as they are presented at the conferences.

Authors can post an Author-Izer link enabling free downloads of the Definitive Version of the work permanently maintained in the ACM Digital Library.

ACM Computing Classification System (CCS)

An important aspect of preparing your paper for publication by ACM Press is to provide the proper indexing and retrieval information from the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS). This is beneficial to you because accurate categorization provides the reader with quick content reference, facilitating the search for related literature, as well as searches for your work in ACM's Digital Library and on other online resources.

Language Service

ACM has partnered with American Journal Experts (AJE) to provide language editing (and translation) services to ACM authors. AJE has helped thousands of researchers around the world to present their research in polished English suitable for publication in journals such as those published by ACM. Editing is available for both Word and LaTeX files.

To take advantage of this partnership, visit http://www.aje.com/c/acm15. When using this link, you will get a 15% discount for all AJE services. (Editing services are at author expense and do not guarantee publication of a paper.)

Templates

Authoring templates can be found at http://www.acm.org/publications/authors/submissions. When using LaTeX, use "acmsmall" in \documentclass to get the format used by TODS.

For further assistance

  • Questions regarding editorial review process should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief.
  • Questions regarding the post-acceptance production process should be addressed to the Publisher, Laura A. Lander.
 
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