Design Automation of Electronic Systems (TODAES)


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The Role of Reviewers in TODAES

The editors of TODAES are aware of the crucial role that expert and conscientious reviewers play in maintaining the quality of a journal. TODAES aims to do justice to this role, both in terms of the quality of communication between reviewers and the journal's editors and in terms of public acknowledgment of reviewers' contributions:

Communication Between Reviewers and Editors

  1. Each person who is invited to prepare a review for TODAES is selected for invitation by one of the journal's associate editors (in the case of a special issue, by one of the guest editors) on the basis of the invitee's known interests and expertise.
  2. If the reviews of a submission reveal significant disagreements among the reviewers, the associate editor moderates a discussion among the reviewers before recommending a decision.
  3. Reviewers have access to the decision letter, which includes all of the reviews as well as the comments of the associate editor.
  4. If at any time a reviewer has questions, suggestions, or concerns, he or she can directly communicate with the responsible associate editor and/or the editors-in-chief.

Acknowledgment of Reviewers on the TODAES Website

Reviewers will be acknowledged not only in the last issue of the journal each year (issue no. 4) but also on a page on the journal's website, so that all website visitors can see who has been contributing to the quality of the journal. These listings will be designed in a way that encourages readers and website visitors to peruse them.

Instructions and Hints for Reviewers

Instructions about the practical aspects of reviewing and suggestions about the content of a review will be found in the TODAES-specific guidance pages that are accessible from within manuscript management site.

The following general guideline can be used when writing a review.

  • It is best to write your review in an editor or word processor (partly to avoid the danger of losing work by inadvertently navigating away from this web page).
  • Please use only unformatted text (i.e., without italics or bolding) that can be pasted straightforwardly into the field, unless there is some strong reason to use formatted text (e.g., the need to include special characters or complex equations).
  • You can assume that the system will leave line breaks and blank space as they are when you paste the review into the system's form.
  • Feel free to express your evaluation of the submission in whatever way seems most natural and effective to you, making use of your expertise in the subject area and of your experience as a reviewer.
  • Your review should convey - to the associate editor and to the authors - what you think of the paper and (where applicable) how it needs to be improved if it is to be published in ACM TODAES.

You may find it useful to look through the following list of questions when writing a review.

  • Relevance and Nature of the Intended Contribution: What do the authors attempt to contribute with this submission? If the intended contribution were made successfully, would it represent a significant advance in research on design automation of electronic systems?
  • Success of the Research: Is the work technically sound (e.g., in terms of algorithms, study design, and data analysis)? Does the paper make a convincing case for the stated conclusions (e.g., in the form of empirical results, formal proofs, or theoretical arguments)? Overall, how significant are the advances that are actually made by this work for research?
  • Quality of the Presentation: Are there significant gaps in the discussion of relevant previous work? Do you see ways in which the clarity of the presentation (e.g., text, figures, and tables) should be improved?

Conflict-of-Interest Policy for Reviewers

When Does a Conflict of Interest Exist?

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

  • from an institution at which you have worked within the last 5 years
  • by a coauthor or research collaborator within the last 5 years
  • by an advisor or advisee of yours
  • by a family member
  • in which you have a non-trivial financial stake.

Membership in an author's Ph.D. committee should be viewed as similar to co-authorship, and the "5-year" criterion applies. Other circumstances may create a potential conflict, requiring careful thought on a case-to-case basis.

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:

  1. The EiC will submit the paper to an Associate Editor who has been specifically designated for this purpose and explicitly identified in the TODAES website. The designated Associate Editor must have agreed to accept this responsibility and should not be a collaborator of an EiC or from the same organization as an EiC.
  2. The Associate Editor designated in Step 1 (called "Alice" for concreteness) will not process the paper herself, but will hand it to another Associate Editor ("Bob") whose identity will not be disclosed to the EiCs.
  3. Bob will execute the normal function of an Associate Editor for the paper (see the description of the reviewing procedure), except that that he will also make the final decision, without consulting the EiCs. Bob will report the final decision to Alice, who will in turn convey it to the EiCs.

As an exception, if the EiC's paper is submitted for consideration for a special issue that is being managed by a Guest Editor, the Associate Editors will not be involved in the way described above. Instead, the Guest Editor will make the final decision. The identities of the reviewers of the EiC's submission will not be disclosed to the EiC.

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.

Reviewer Rights

ACM TODAES recognizes that reviewing is a service to the profession. The Rights and Responsibilities in ACM Publishing lists an extensive collection of rights that ACM provides its reviewers, underscoring ACM's commitment to those who play a critical role in ensuring quality in its publications. ACM TODAES guarantees all of those rights.   

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