Database Systems (TODS)


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Policy on Survey Articles

Approved October 19, 2001

TODS has to date not published surveys. This policy allows certain kinds of surveys to be accepted for publication in TODS.

A quick search of the ACM DL yielded 91 articles with "Survey" in their title, most in Computing Surveys. However, surveys also appear in CACM, TODAES, TOG, JACM, TOMS and TOPLAS, but none (yet!) in TODS. (Another 50 or so papers had "Tutorial" in their title; I must admit I'm unclear as to what the difference is. Webster's defines "survey" as "to view or consider comprehensively" and "tutorial" as "a technical paper written to give practical information about a specific subject". Perhaps the key is "practical".) The IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE) and the Very Large Data Bases Journal (VLDBJ) both allow surveys. In addition, some surveys have appeared in SIGMOD Record, due to the efforts of the Associate Editor for surveys.

Surveys can be a valuable source of information for researchers and practitioners. About 10% of the papers in Michael Ley's list of most-cited database papers are from Computing Surveys (11 in that list). The most recent was in 1993.

TODS will now allow a limited number of 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. Such papers will be reviewed with different criteria (see below) than regular research submissions. The objective is to present useful material that is not appropriate for other venues and to increase interest in and readership of TODS, while retaining the scientific quality long associated with TODS.

More general surveys that are intended for a broad-based Computer Science audience (such as Goetz's survey on query evaluation) or surveys that may influence other areas of computing research should continue to go to 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.

It will be hard to attract good surveys; the Editorial Board will solicit such surveys, to augment those that are submitted.

Surveys are limited initially to no more than two per volume (year); that limit will be reevaluated after a year or two of experience (some have argued for a one-per-issue limit). This limit will be applied internally; there is no need to communicate that to the readership, because that might discourage submissions. Surveys are in addition to normal papers (our page budget allows this), so no papers would have to be rejected to make room for surveys. Surveys will appear in a special section on TODS, so as to not be confused with regular papers.

Surveys should designated as such when they are submitted and reviewed, should be on an area of relevance to TODS, should make a contribution in organizing in a novel and useful way previous results in that area and should not overlap with existing papers.

The editorial board member allocated a submission will initially determine whether the survey is potentially relevant to TODS, or should be referred to Computing Surveys or SIGMOD Record. Such a referral will be done only upon permission from the author. Additionally, it is hoped that the Editors of Computing Surveys and SIGMOD Record will refer surveys that are more appropriate for TODS.

Surveys will be refereed as with conventional submissions, but using a different review form, attached. Surveys are expected to be consistent with the high quality and depth associated with papers in TODS.



Transactions on Database Systems

Review Form for Survey Papers

Title of Paper:



Date Review Completed:

Confidential Notes to Editor:


Relevance to Databases (check one): very low _____ low _____ marginal _____ high _____ very high _____

Breadth (relative to the interests of TODS readers): very narrow ___ narrow ___ just right ___ broad ___ very broad ___

Readability and Organization: very poor ____ poor ____ marginal _____ good _____ very good _____

Length (relative to the useful contents of the paper): too long _____ too short _____ just right _____


Overall Recommendation:

reject _____ revise (major) _____ revise (minor) _____

conditional-accept _____ accept _____


Comments to the Author(s): ----

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