If you have a conflict of interest with a submission, you should not be involved in the decision process for that submission in any capacity, as Reviewer, Associate Editor, or Editor-in-Chief.
If you are asked to participate in the reviewing of a submission and have a conflict of interest, please let the requester know and decline to participate. Most conflicts of interest can be recognized with common sense: Would an outsider who knew that you were involved in the reviewing process reasonably be concerned that you might be biased either for or against the submission because of your relationship to the authors or their research?
There is usually a conflict of interest if the submission concerns work
Conflict-of-Interest Policy for Associate Editors
Associate Editors may publish papers in TODAES. The Editors-in-Chief (EiC) will choose an Associate Editor with no conflict of interest to handle the paper. As usual, this Associate Editor will not be identified to the authors of the submission.
Conflict-of-Interest Policy for for a Submission by an Editor-in-Chief
(Note: ACM requires that a policy for this situation exist and be published on the journal's website.)
The purpose of this policy is to address the conflict of interest that arises when an Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of an ACM journal is an author of a paper submitted to that journal.
Reasons for Allowing Submissions by an Editor-in-Chief
ACM does permit an EiC to be an author of a paper in the EiC's journal. Outright prohibition of EiC authorship is considered too severe for at least three reasons: First, it can unduly penalize the EiC's coauthors. In several computing disciplines, the ACM Transactions is the premier - and sometimes the only - high-quality, archival venue for research publication. A strict prohibition would impact the EiC's coauthors, especially if they were just starting their research careers. Second, a general prohibition could prevent some high-quality papers from appearing in ACM journals. ACM's stated mission is to be the publisher of choice. Good work should be evaluated on its merits and not on the basis of authorship. Third, a prohibition could be a disincentive for leading researchers to serve as EiC, especially insofar as this prohibition would affect coauthors, in particular graduate students.
Many ACM conferences do not permit a program chair to submit papers. The three arguments given above apply with some force to ACM conferences as well; but because of the multiyear terms of EiCs, there is a more compelling case for journals than for conferences.
Details of the Policy
The procedure for processing a submission to TODAES with an EiC as an author is as follows:
In order to avoid the possible impression of biased processing, the (implicit or explicit) standards of acceptability must be applied especially rigorously and conservatively to any paper (co)authored by an EiC; if such a submission is marginal in any way, it should be rejected.