Computing Surveys (CSUR)


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Author Guidelines

The ACM Computing Surveys publishes surveys of and tutorials on areas of computing research or practice. See the Editorial Charter for further details. Contributions should conform to generally accepted practices for scientific papers with respect to organization and style.

Types of Papers

Submissions must be of one of the following types:

  • Survey Paper
    • A paper that summarizes and organizes recent research results in a novel way that integrates and adds understanding to work in the field. A survey article assumes a general knowledge of the area; it emphasizes the classification of the existing literature, developing a perspective on the area, and evaluating trends.
  • Tutorial paper
    • A paper that organizes and introduces work in the field. A tutorial paper assumes its audience is inexpert; it emphasizes the basic concepts of the field and provides concrete examples that embody these concepts.

Paper Length

Papers should not normally exceed 35 pages, including references,  when formatted using the Surveys style. When justified, additional material may be published in an electronic supplement however you will need to go through the manuscript and indicate which pages will form your 35 pages for publication and which pages are for the electronic supplement. Both will be published simultaneously if your manuscript is accepted. Manuscripts of excessive length may be rejected without review.

ACM Policies

Prior Publication Policy

The papers appearing in ACM journals are normally original contributions that have not been published elsewhere. Widely disseminated conference proceedings and newsletters are a form of publication, although they are usually only semiarchival and often unrefereed. Publication, or republication, of a (perhaps revised) paper that has been widely disseminated is permitted only if the editor judges that (a) the revision contains significant amplification or clarification of the original material or (b) there is a significant additional benefit to be gained from journal publication. In either case, prior appearance should be noted on the title page of the paper.

Other Policies

Manuscript Preparation

Authors are required to prepare and submit their manuscripts electronically. This facilitates both a quicker editorial review process as well as faster and more accurate processing of accepted papers.

Computing Surveys permits electronic submissions for editorial review only in LaTeX, or MS Word format. Use of the ACM Journals/Transactions LaTeX style is encouraged to ensure proper formatting. It includes explicit support for ACM Computing Surveys. ACM also admits other formats for electronic submission of papers, including Microsoft Word.

To ensure proper indexing, classification, retrieval and dissemination, authors must include the following in the manuscript:

  • Descriptive title
  • Author names and affiliations
  • Abstract
  • Content indicators
  • Citations to relevant literature

Guidelines for the preparation of this material follow.

Descriptive Title

Select a title that accurately and clearly tells what the paper is about. Choose title terms as specific as content and emphasis of the paper permit. Avoid special symbols and formulas in titles unless essential to indicate content.

Author Names and Affiliations

Authors' names should be given without titles or degrees along with the name and address of the organization for which the work was carried out. A footnote on the first page should acknowledge funding sources and presentations, if any, of the material at technical meetings (give dates and sponsoring societies). The author's current address should be given in a footnote on the first page.


The abstract should be at most 100 words long and consist of short, direct sentences. It should state the objectives of the work, summarize the results, and give the principal conclusions. The title need not be repeated. Because abstracts are extracted and used separately, do not use the first person, do not display mathematics, and do not use citation reference numbers. Try to avoid starting with the words "This paper ..."

Content Indicators

Three types of content indicators must be assigned: (1) general terms, (2) subject descriptors, and (3) keywords and phrases. The first two items are selected from the 2012 ACM Computing Classification Scheme. Select as many of these as may be applicable.

The keywords and phrases are additional English language words that indicate the content of the submission. They should not be synonymous with those already in the classification system: they can be more specific than the subject descriptors, or they may not be covered by the existing system at all. The following guidelines may be helpful.

  • Use important terms from the title; include their synonyms, related words and words of higher or lower generic rank.
  • Use English nouns, or noun-noun and noun-adjective combinations; do not use hyphens unless the hyphenated parts are alwaystreated as a single unit.
  • Use specific terms whose meanings are generally accepted; do not use broad catchall terms (such as "computer", "automatic", "machine", "system", "discussion", "description"); do not use private terms or acronyms that may not be generally known.
  • Do not use negative terms stressing what your paper does not do.


Citations must follow the guidelines found within the ACM templates information.

Language Services

ACM has partnered with International Science Editing (ISE) to provide language editing services to ACM authors. ISE offers a comprehensive range of services for authors including standard and premium English language editing, as well as illustration and translation services, and also has significant international outreach, especially in China. Editing is available for both Word and LaTeX files. As an ACM author, you will receive a generous discount on ISE editing services.

To take advantage of this partnership, visit  (Editing services are at author expense and do not guarantee publication of a manuscript.)

Please note that formatting assistance is provided at no charge to authors by Aptara, as specified on the author style guide page:

Submission for Editorial Review

How to Submit

Regular papers should be submitted electronically to ACM Manuscript Central at: This site should also be used to look at the status of submitted papers.

If you do not have an account at ACM Manuscript Central, you will need to create an account before you can log in and submit to Computing Surveys. Address any questions to the Computing Surveys administrator at

Review Process

Papers are assigned to an associate editor who selects referees and oversees the refereeing process. After the refereeing process is complete, the associate editor either rejects the paper or makes a recommendation for acceptance to the Editor-in-Chief, who makes the final decision on acceptance.

As an author you have the option to identify preferred or non-preferred reviewers. Please keep the following conflict of interest guidelines in selecting these reviewers; they are based on the National Science Foundation guidelines. You have a potential conflict of interest if any of the authors has one of the following relationships with a reviewer:

  • Known family relationship as spouse, child, sibling, or parent.
  • Business or professional partnership.
  • Past or present association as thesis advisor or thesis student.
  • Collaboration on a project or on a book, article, report, or paper within the last 48 months.
  • Co-editing of a journal, compendium, or conference proceedings within the last 24 months.
  • Other relationship, such as close personal friendship, that you think might tend to affect the reviewer's judgment or be seen as doing so by a reasonable person familiar with the relationship.

Procedures for Accepted Papers

Transmitting Accepted Papers

Once a manuscript is accepted, the final source files must be submitted electronically through the manuscript submission site. Please refer to ACM's Guidelines for Submitting Accepted Articles.

Supplemental Online-only Material

Provide a brief description of your supplementary online-only material (i.e., text and multimedia material) to be published in the Digital Library. A short “readme.txt” file will appear in the DL along with your supplementary material describing its content and whatever requirements there are for using it.

Rights and Use Agreement

Authors retain liberal rights to material published by the ACM. ACM has introduced a new publishing license agreement, an updated copyright transfer agreement, and a new author-pays option which allows for perpetual open access through the ACM Digital Library. Further details can be found in at and below in the Author Rights section.

Submittal of an algorithm for consideration for publication in ACM Computing Surveys implies that unrestricted use of the algorithm within a computer is permissible.

If you have material owned by a third party, you must secure permission for its use before publication can proceed. If this is the case, please carefully read the third-party material guidelines and:

  1. Obtain written permissions from the copyright holders.
  2. Add the appropriate attributions to the figure captions in your paper (giving credit to the copyright holder).
  3. Include the source of the third-party material in the references.

Author Rights

Working with the computing community, ACM leadership has responded to calls to make scholarly articles more openly accessible, to enable authors to exercise greater control of their published works, and to comply with the increasing demands placed on authors by funding agencies. 

ACM authors now have three ways to manage their publication rights with ACM:

  1. A license granting ACM non-exclusive permission to publish—by choosing to pay for perpetual open access from the ACM Digital Library, authors may opt to self-manage all rights to their work. 
  2. A new Publishing License Agreement granting ACM exclusive publication rights—in choosing this license authors grant ACM the right to serve as the exclusive publisher of their work and to manage ongoing rights and permissions associated with the work, including the right to defend it against improper use by third parties. This exclusive license is roughly the equivalent of ACM’s traditional Copyright Transfer Agreement except that the author continues to hold copyright. 
  3. ACM's traditional Copyright Transfer Agreement—for authors comfortable with the existing agreement.

Learn more by visiting the Author Rights webpage.


ACM has implemented changes to to allow for more free access to the content of ACM journals and Special Interest Group conference proceedings in the ACM Digital Library and other online venues:

  • SIGs may choose to enable open access to the most current proceedings volume of their sponsored conferences from the conference or SIG site.
  • SIGs may make conference proceedings freely available via the ACM DL platform for up to two weeks before the event, and for a total of one month.

These options will facilitate access to proceedings content by conference attendees. They will also enable the community at large to learn about the latest developments as they are presented at the conferences.

Authors can post an Author-Izer link enabling free downloads of the Definitive Version of the work permanently maintained in the ACM Digital Library.

ACM Computing Classification System (CCS)

An important aspect of preparing your paper for publication by ACM Press is to provide the proper indexing and retrieval information from the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS). This is beneficial to you because accurate categorization provides the reader with quick content reference, facilitating the search for related literature, as well as searches for your work in ACM's Digital Library and on other online resources.


ACM is transitioning to the new authoring templates found at:  The new TeX template consolidates all eight individual ACM journal and proceedings templates.  The templates are updated to the latest software versions, were developed to enable accessibility features, and they use a new font set. Please note: Separate Word for Windows and Word for Mac consolidated templates are also available.

We will continue to accept manuscripts using the previous template format through Spring 2017. 

The new TeX template requires that a call be made within the source document  for “\documentclass” so that an article is formatted according to the specifications to the publication. Detailed instructions can be found in section 2.2 of the User and Implementation Guide (


For further assistance

  • Questions regarding editorial review process should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief.
  • Questions regarding the post-acceptance production process should be addressed to the Assistant Editor, Stacey Schick.
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