Formally Reviewed Articles
in the Communications in
Computer Algebra

by D. J. Jeffrey

September 1998

In accordance with the general publishing plan of the
ACM, which is described in [1], the [Communications in
Computer Algebra] publishes formally reviewed articles. The
ACM's definition of a formal review is:

a thorough review with emphasis on clarity, accessibility to the
general reader, and timeliness; persons serving as formal
reviewers are independent of the editors who request their advice.

ACM definitions of some other publishing terms have been reproduced in
Appendix A, for comparison. This article is an update to an earlier description of the
policies of the [Communications in Computer Algebra] regarding formally reviewed
articles [2].

Formally reviewed articles are published with the aim of presenting, in a timely fashion, reports on new developments in symbolic mathematical computation. Topics of interest to the [Communications in Computer Algebra] fall into three broad categories:

The categories are described in greater detail elsewhere [2], but ultimately the suitability of any particular topic for the [Communications in Computer Algebra] is decided by the editor and reviewers as part of the editing process.

Papers intended for formal review should be submitted to the editor, preferably by electronic mail, in the form of a source file written in LaTeX and using the acmconf.cls style macros. Usually, the length of a paper will be less than eight printed pages. A list of the current electronic addresses of the editors can be found on the cover of any issue of the [CCA]. Papers should be written in English, and authors are urged to make a strong attempt to remove spelling and grammatical errors that might confuse the reviewers.

The decision to accept or reject a paper is made by the editors, whose deliberations are assisted by consultations with one or more specialists in the subject area of the paper. Each reviewer will submit a written report to the editors. Reviewers will work independently of one another and their identities will be kept confidential.

If possible, authors will be notified of decisions by electronic mail. Authors will receive verbatim the non-confidential portion of each reviewer's report, containing comments of a constructive nature. Authors whose papers are accepted will be required to address any issues and suggestions, in an appropriate fashion.

Changes to the text, if any, must be documented and submitted in a written statement along with the revised manuscript. If an author decides that no change needs to be made in response to a particular comment from a reviewer, the reason for this action must be given in the statement.

Upon receipt of the statement and revised draft, the editors will decide whether the reviewers' concerns have been satisfactorily dealt with, or whether further revision is necessary. Another round of reviewing may be initiated.

A copy of this document and of the review form may be found under the homepage of the [Communications in Computer Algebra] on the World Wide Web. The editors reserve the right to make changes as needed.


  1. Peter J. Denning and Bernard Rows, ``The ACM Electronic Publishing Plan''
    Comm. ACM vol. 38 no. 4, p. 97, April 1995.
  2. A. Lobo, ``Formal review of articles in the Bulletin", SIGSAM Bulletin, vol. 30, no. 3, issue 117, pp 2--4, September 1996.

Appendix A.


The following definitions are taken from ACM Interim Copyright Policies, which may be found at or in~\cite{ACMEPP}. These definitions are themselves copyright by ACM as per the following notice:

Copyright 1995 \copyright\ by ACM, Inc. Permission to copy and
distribute this document is hereby granted provided that this
notice is retained on all copies, that copies are not altered,
and that ACM is credited when the material is used to form other
copyright policies.

Edited: a collection of works have been selected by an editor and possibly edited for style and length.

Reviewed: one or more experts have examined the work and have given assessments to an editor about clarity, soundness, novelty, prior publication, proper citations, and other criteria.

Refereed: a thorough review with emphasis on novelty and soundness. A journal refereeing process seeks to advise the editor whether to reject or provide specific guidance for revisions. A conference refereeing process seeks to advise the editor whether to accept or reject; a strict deadline is enforced. Persons serving as referees are independent of the editors who request their advice.

Review form: The reviewers are sent the following questions. They give numerical ratings for the first section as shown, and an overall rating in the second section. They are also asked to write a commentary justifying their ratings.

Judgement by Categories
(1 - Very Good; 2 - Good; 3 - Average; 4 - Below Average; 5 - Poor.)