CACM Author Guidelines
Communications of the ACM (CACM) is the leading online and print magazine for computing and information technology professionals. CACM is widely recognized as a trusted and knowledgeable source of news, opinions, research, technology, and public-policy information for scientists and practitioners. For over 60 years, it has provided the highest-quality information written by and intended for computing professionals in industry and academia.
CACM welcomes submissions that address topics of relevance and professional value to CACM's very broad-based readership. Authors should strive to consider the diverse backgrounds of CACM readers. Please keep in mind that most readers are not experts in your discipline but are reading CACM to gain a broad perspective on computing practice and research. These Author Guidelines provide information on the mechanical aspects of submitting material. Please read this document carefully and complete the checklist at the bottom before submitting your article.
CACM is going web-first with a new website. Accepted articles will appear first on the website, and many will eventually appear in the print magazine. In addition, online articles can offer richer media options, such as attached videos and even links to running software.
CACM Editorial Structure
CACM consists of five primary editorial sections: News, Opinion, Practice, Research, and Research Highlights. In addition, it publishes Letters to the Editor and a section called Last Byte.
In order to ensure a high degree of rigor and quality, an editorial board led by the CACM Editor-in-Chief oversees the selection of content and provides editorial direction. The board operates as a single unit and in more focused teams aligned with the editorial missions. While the selection and editorial criteria vary by section, the board is responsible for maintaining a consistently high level of quality for all sections to ensure CACM addresses a broad spectrum of topics that appeal to an international readership of practitioners, researchers, and educators.
CACM welcomes unsolicited submissions for some of its editorial sections. Submissions should address topics of relevance and professional value and appeal to a broad segment of our readership. We seek articles with a broad perspective on computing practice and research appealing to a large segment of the ACM membership and computing community. Narrow articles or those requiring substantial subject-matter expertise belong in other, more specialized journals. The Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief review all submissions and reserve the right to accept or reject any submissions at their discretion.
Manuscripts should adhere to the appropriate guidelines:
News publishes brief updates and in-depth news articles (up to 2,000 words) on computing, information technology, and technology-related public policy topics and international news.
News employs full-time professional science and technology writers and a network of freelance writers to supply current news about computing and related topics for publication in online and print magazines. If you are a professional science or technology writer or have written a current news article on a topic you believe would interest the computing community, please send a brief email with your submission to News@cacm.acm.org.
The Opinion section presents commentary on issues of broad interest to the computing community. These issues may be nontechnical. Controversial issues are welcome and will be dealt with fairly. Authors are encouraged to submit carefully reasoned "Opinion" pieces in which facts or principled arguments substantiate their positions. Moreover, this section periodically hosts editorial debates in a Point/Counterpoint format that explores both sides of an issue. Opinion submissions should be under 1,800 words and limit the number of references to 10 or fewer. Please submit to http://cacm.acm.org/submissions.
Practice targets professionals in the technology industry with an emphasis on software. Articles published in this section frame and define technical problems and future challenges ahead while helping readers sharpen their thinking and ability to pursue innovative solutions. Practice does not focus on industry news or the latest solutions. Instead, articles explore disruptive technologies that are on the verge of breaking through. This section highlights problems that are likely to arise and poses questions that software developers should consider while dissecting industry issues that matter most, and examines the challenges faced by software architects, project leaders, IT managers, and corporate decision makers. Submissions to this section are by invitation.
Research articles present innovative ideas across the broad spectrum of computing—its open challenges, technical visions and perspectives, educational aspects, societal impact, significant applications and research results of importance and broad interest.
These submissions are peer-reviewed to ensure the highest quality. Their topics and presentations must reach a very diverse and technical audience. Articles in CACM should appeal to the general computing and information technology community.
A Research article should set the context, provide introductory references, define fundamental concepts, compare alternate approaches, and explain the significance or application of a particular technology or result through well-reasoned text and pertinent graphical material. The use of sidebars to illustrate significant points is encouraged.
These articles have a length limit. Authors should use an ACM conference proceedings templates (Word or LaTeX). Formatted this way, manuscripts should not exceed eight pages, including tables, graphics, and figures (these elements are strongly encouraged to improve readability). References are not included in the eight pages, however they are limited to 40 and should be ordered alphabetically by the author's last name and first initial. The text must cite all listed references.
Please submit at http://cacm.acm.org/submissions. Submissions to this section require the following:
The Research section encompasses the former "Review Article" section, which discussed new developments of broad significance to the computing field and highlighted unresolved questions and future directions. Articles on these topics are welcome in both the Opinion and Research sections. Authors are encouraged to compare these alternatives and select the one best suited to their aims.
Research Highlights provides readers with outstanding research articles selected from a broad spectrum of computing-research conference publications. Articles are first nominated by Editorial Board Members or Approved Nominating Organizations and are then subject to final selection by the CACM Editorial Board. The Editorial Board invites authors to submit their articles, which must be rewritten and expanded in scope to be appropriate for the broad CACM readership.
It is important to note that publication in CACM, a computing-technology and science magazine, does not conflict with publication in archival journals. Articles in archival journals are typically expanded versions of conference publications. At the same time, CACM can publish a different, shorter, and higher-level version of an article for a larger audience.
Research Highlights articles should consist of no more than eight pages formatted with the CACM Research Highlights Template (a link to which is sent to authors upon invitation) and contain at most 25 references.
Each Research Highlights article is preceded by a one-page (700-800 word) Technical Perspective. This summary essays provide readers with an overview of the underlying motivation, the important ideas of the featured Research Highlight, and its scientific and practical significance. The Editorial Board invites noted experts in the field to write these Perspectives.
Letters to the Editor can comment on articles published in the print or online CACM. Submitted letters should not exceed 500 words and include the contributor's name, email address, and postal address. Due to limited space, CACM cannot publish all submitted letters. Preference will be given to responses that start new discussions, adds significant new points to prior discussions, or are highly time sensitive. Send letters to email@example.com.
Last Byte consists of lighter-fare such as Q&As, futurist articles dealing with computing, and mathematical puzzles for those who like a good challenge. If you have an idea for a one-time or regularly appearing Last Byte contribution that might be appropriate for the computing community, please email message LastByte@cacm.acm.org.
The preferred file type for submitted manuscripts is Word or LaTeX, but PDF is also acceptable. The ACM templates do not produce camera-ready copy but are required so we can judge the length of submissions. All accepted material is heavily edited and copyedited before appearing.
All files should reflect the following guidelines:
Upon acceptance, CACM editors provide authors with further information about final electronic submissions. When an article is scheduled for publication, CACM contacts the lead author.
When scheduled, CACM editors edit the article for substance and presentation. All articles are copyedited to conform to The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press), as well as CACM's house style.
Authors should provide concise captions for all accompanying figures and tables.
Articles published in the print CACM magazine will run in a two-column or three-column format. Therefore, authors ensure that any programming code or equations included in the manuscript have correct line breaks, indentations, and punctuation. Code over 35 characters wide will be pulled from text and reset as a figure, in which case a figure caption is necessary.
Supporting Online Material
Informational resources for online-only presentation of articles are welcome in every CACM editorial section. These materials may include but are not limited to additional tables; figures; URLs for online references; video files; audio files; a list of print references; presentations; and other related materials and links. Information regarding submission of this material is available upon article acceptance.
Articles submitted simultaneously to other magazines or journals will be declined outright and not reconsidered. Authors should review the ACM Information for Authors before submitting material to CACM: https://www.acm.org/publications/authors/information-for-authors. In particular, it is essential also to understand ACM Rights and Responsibilities for Authors: https://authors.acm.org/author-resources/author-rights.
Only people who contributed significantly to an article's content should be listed in the byline as "authors." Other contributors can be noted in a brief acknowledgement. For more details on what qualifies as authorship, please see ACM's Policy on Authorship: https://www.acm.org/publications/policies/new-acm-policy-on-authorship.
Before submitting your article, please ensure that it meets the following guidelines:
If the answer to any of these questions is no, please revise before submitting. Editors' and reviewers' time is valuable and better spent suggesting improvements than rejecting articles.