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ACM TODS in this Internet Age

(written by Richard T. Snodgrass, March 2003)

It is a cliché that the Internet has revolutionized many aspects of life in the past decade. Scientific publishing is but one of the many enterprises that have been impacted by the connectivity and high bandwidth afforded by the World Wide Web. Most scientific journals now have a web presence. That said, it is still remarkable the degree to which ACM in general and TODS in particular have embraced the unique capabilities of the web to aid in the propagation of knowledge.

Here I summarize the disparate and broad ways in which TODS utilizes the web, in all phases of publishing.

Journal information

The TODS web site provides on-line editorial guidelines, charter, and scope of the publication, as well as listing the editorial board, editorials, and links to these columns.

 
Manuscript submission

Manuscripts are submitted by filling out an on-line form. The Editor-in-Chief is immediately notified of this submission by email, enabling an Associate Editor to be located and assigned quickly, generally within a week.

A manuscript tracking system affords authors the status of their submission, turnaround statistics for all submissions, and the current backlog of accepted, to-be-published papers.

Manuscript reviewing

The tracking system provides access for reviewers to the paper assigned to them and allows them to enter their review on-line. It also maintains confidentiality in the review process via elaborate system controls. Referee rights and guidelines are provided on the TODSweb site.

 
Editorial oversight

The tracking system maintains information on each paper assigned to an Associate Editor, and notifies that editor by email whenever the paper changes status, such as when reviews have been received. This system provides an extensive set of reports to allow the Editor-in-Chief to assess the editorial process and quickly locate bottlenecks. This enables each submission to be efficiently and expeditiously handled.

 
Article dissemination

Once a paper is accepted, the author can access style files on the TODS web site, as well as information on how to prepare the final version. The electronic version of the paper is available from the web as soon as it is provided by the author, generally several months before the paper appears in print.

 
Article citation page

The citation page for each TODS article contains a wealth of information. Consider Timos Sellis' seminal paper on multiple-query optimization in the March 1988 issue.

 
Searching the Portal

The ACM Portal can be directly searched by anyone for terms in the title, author list, abstract, or review, by ISBN/ISSN, publisher, date, journal, type of publication, DOI, conference sponsor, conference location, classification, subject and/or keyword. Under an Agreement,Google now indexes the entire contents of the ACM Digital Library, and TODS articles in DBLP are linked to their ACM citation page.

 
Table of contents by email

ACM, Student and SIG members can request an email alert of the table of contents of new TODS issues.

As this list indicates, ACM in the last decade has augmented TODS with an extensive array of web-based facilities to aid the author, reviewer, Associate Editor, and especially, the reader. This effort has cost several million dollars and greatly benefits the scientific community.

(I thank Bernard Rous, Deputy Director and Electronic Publisher at ACM, for comments and corrections to this column. Bernie has expertly shepherded the ACM Digital Library and the Portal since their inception.)

 
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