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Submission Guidelines

Online Submissions

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Author Guidelines

Aims and Scope

TACL invites paper submissions in all areas of computational linguistics and natural language processing. Submissions must describe substantial, original, completed and unpublished work. Submissions will be judged on correctness, originality, technical strength, significance, and relevance to computational linguistics and natural language processing.

TACL has the goal of coverage of a broad range of topics. We invite papers in the following four broad categories: theoretical computational linguistics, empirical/data-driven approaches, resources/evaluation, and applications/tools.

Deadlines and Registration Requirements

The next submission deadline for TACL is the first (1st) of the next month in the calendar, by 11:59pm Honolulu time. (Note that our server shows Eastern time, not Honolulu Time, so this deadline translates to a timestamp of roughly 4:59am when it is on our server. Do not worry about being off by an hour for observance or non-observance of Daylight Savings Time.) We assign new submissions to action editors in once-a-month batches in order to be able to load-balance reviewing loads, so there is no advantage to submitting on, say, the 2nd of the month vs. the 28th of the month.

Submission requires being registered on the submission site; if you are not already registered, click here to do so.

Once you have registered, you will be able to log in to the system and click on New Submission" to submit your paper.

Submission Format

Anonymization requirements

As the reviewing will be double-blind (except that Action Editors know author identity and authors know action-editor identity), submissions must not include author names, affiliations, or identifying acknowledgments. Furthermore, self-references that reveal the author’s identity, e.g., “We previously showed (Smith, 1991) …”, must be avoided. Instead, rewrite such citations into a form like “Smith (1991) previously showed …”. To be clear: You should reference your prior work if it is relevant; but use the third person instead of the 1st person and in place of references like “(Anonymous) showed…”, since such anonymized references do not allow readers to examine relevant related work. There is an exception for what TACL considers to be non-archival prior versions; see below.

Authors’ names should also be removed from the “Document Properties” display that can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat’s “File->Properties” menu.

Moreover, the ACL has, as of October 2017, implemented an anonymity window: no non-anonymous preprint or workshop versions of submissions can have been or be posted by the authors(s) within the period starting a month before submission to TACL and ending when the paper is no longer under consideration by TACL.

If software or datasets will be released

To keep reviewing times down, we do not allow submission of supplementary material. (Furthermore, we disallow links to such supplementary material, anonymized or not, to avoid the possibility of tracking analytics compromising the anonymity of the reviewers.) However, the release of software or datasets is strongly encouraged. We ask that authors include in their submission some text that explains, in anonymous terms, whether the software or data will be released, and if so, in what fashion. The review forms will prompt the referees to take this into account.

Formatting requirements

Submissions must conform to the official TACL style requirements (revised August 2018), which are described in this pdf file:

Formatting Instructions for TACL Submissions (dated September 20, 2018, but the changes since August were only on the underlying LaTex, not in the rules themselves). That document begins with a list of common errors that have caused us to reject papers without review in the past. Consult the instructions carefully to avoid making the same mistakes.

As noted in that document, at publication time, authors must supply their LaTeX source. We thus strongly recommend the use of following style and template files.

tacl2018v2.sty
acl_natbib.bst
tacl2018v2-template.tex
tacl2018.bib

These files are also available on Overleaf.

Editorial Policies

Section Policies

  • Application and Tools
    • Open Submissions
    • Indexed
    • Peer Reviewed
  • Empirical and Data-Driven Methods
    • Open Submissions
    • Indexed
    • Peer Reviewed
  • Resource and Evaluation
    • Open Submissions
    • Indexed
    • Peer Reviewed
  • Theoretical Research
    • Open Submissions
    • Indexed
    • Peer Reviewed
  • Others
    • Open Submissions
    • Indexed
    • Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

Editorial Structure

TACL has a standing committee of action editors. Roughly speaking, an action editor corresponds to an area chair at a regular conference. Terms for action editors are two years in length, and are renewable. Each paper submission is assigned to an action editor, who then handles the entire reviewing process for the paper. The action editor makes the final acceptance decision on papers. Our expectation is that each action editor will handle at most 12 papers in a single calendar year.

In addition, TACL has a standing committee of reviewers. Having a standing committee of reviewers should significantly decrease time spent in recruiting reviewers for a particular paper; this can often be a significant bottleneck. Reviewers will have at most 1 paper to review at any one time. Reviews will be due 3 weeks after a reviewing request has been made.

Reviewing Procedure

There is a deadline on the 1st of each month for paper submission. More precise information about deadline timings are given in the Author Guidelines.

At the beginning of each month's round,

  • The editors-in-chief assign each paper to an action editor, taking expertise and load-balancing issues into account [timeline: 7 days]
  • The action editor picks three reviewers for the paper. [timeline: 7 days]
  • There is a 3 week deadline for reviewing of the paper. This is expected to be a strict deadline, similar to conference reviewing deadlines.
  • On receiving the three reviews, the action editor makes 1 of 4 decisions for the paper: (a) Acceptance for publication as is, with encouragement to make minor revisions. (b) Acceptance for publication subject to specified revisions within two months. (c) Rejection with encouragement to revise and resubmit within 3-6 months. (d) Rejection with no possibility of resubmission within a moratorium period of one year. [timeline: 7 days]
  • Where necessary, the resubmission of a paper under option (b) above goes back to the same 3 reviewers for second round review. In this case second round reviews again have a 3-week deadline. Under option (c), the paper may or may not be reviewed by the same reviewers or action editor.

We unfortunately cannot guarantee that the timeline guidance given in the items above will be met for every submission.

Post-acceptance procedures and timelines can be found at the post-acceptance instructions page.

Anonymity Policies

Paper submissions must be anonymized. Reviewing will be double blind (reviewers will not know the identity of authors, and authors will not know the identity of the reviewers).

Action editors are non-anonymous: both the reviewers of a paper, and the authors of the paper, will know the identity of the action editor handling the paper.

Publication Frequency

TACL has one volume per year. Individual papers are published as soon as they are ready.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

TACL imposes neither author processing charges or nor submission charges. (Hence, the waiver policy is that submission to and publication in TACL are already free for all authors.)

Find out more about open access here.

Code of Ethics

Authors are required to honor the ethical code set out in the ACM Code of Ethics, which has been adopted by ACL as a whole. Language processing is applied to numerous tasks with real-life applications and considerable potential for societal impact, both good and bad. As researchers we are responsible for clearly articulating the impact of our research, use of data and potential applications of our work, as well as the limitations of the work when deployed in real-world scenarios.

We ask that all authors read the ethics code linked to above, and ensure that their work conforms to it. Where a paper may raise ethical issues, we ask that you include in the paper an explicit discussion of these issues, which will be taken into account in the review process. We reserve the right to reject papers on ethical grounds, where the authors are judged to have operated counter to the code of ethics, or have inadequately addressed legitimate ethical concerns with their work or have not clearly articulated limitations of the proposed approach, task or dataset.

Note on Survey Papers

There is no special category for survey papers at TACL, hence such papers must meet the same bar of originality, significance, technical strength and relevance to computational linguistics and NLP as regular submissions. They must also keep to the same length limit as regular submissions, hence survey topics must be suitably circumscribed to allow for appropriate coverage within the 10-page limit. To meet the bar of originality and significance, surveys should be such that even experts in the domain covered will say “I learned something interesting from this paper." They should thus not simply be a descriptive enumeration of the contents of papers, but draw broad themes and (importantly) provide new insights on the topic. These insights should be major contributions of the submission.

Resubmission Policy for ACL, AACL, EACL, NAACL, EMNLP Conference Submissions

Papers or revised versions of papers that have been rejected from or reviewed by [*] the ACL, AACL, EACL, NAACL, or EMNLP conferences will not be eligible for submission to TACL for a 9-month period beginning at the submission deadline for the conference in question. (For example, the ACL 2012 submission deadline was January 15th, 2012; papers rejected from ACL 2012 were not eligible for submission to TACL until October 15th, 2012 --- i.e., the November 2012 round.).

Please see our August 24th, 2017 announcement for reasons why even substantial revisions to a conference version do not qualify for an exception to this rule.

[*] The phrase "rejected from or reviewed by" refers to the questions similar to: "If we saw our reviews during the author response period of conference X and decided to withdraw our paper, can we still submit it to TACL?" In other words, TACL considers papers that were reviewed by a conference and not accepted, such as papers that were withdrawn during an author response period before an official decision was received, to have been rejected from the conference.

Papers For Which a Preprint Version Was Posted Outside The Anonymity Window

Preprint servers such as arXiv.org and (tracks of) ACL-related workshops that have not been declared to be archival are not considered archival for purposes of submission to TACL. However, authors must state in the “Comments to the Editor” field:

  • the name of the workshop or preprint server
  • the title of the non-archival version
  • URL for it
  • date it was made available.

The submitted version should be suitably anonymized and not contain references to the prior or upcoming non-archival version. Reviewers will be told: “The author(s) have notified the editors that there exists a non-archival previous version of this paper with significantly overlapping text. The editors have approved submission under these circumstances, but to preserve the spirit of blind review, the current submission does not reference the non-archival version. It is a good idea to read the paper and draft an initial review before you carry out any online searches that risk discovering authorship. If you do become aware of the authors' identity, and/or come across a paper with significant text overlap with this submission, please let me know.” Questions about whether a venue other than those listed above can be considered non-archival must be cleared with the editors-in-chief in advance of submission.

As stated in the "Anonymization requirements" section above, TACL disallows authors from posting non-anonymous preprints during the anonymity window (the period starting one month before TACL submission and ending when the submission is no longer under consideration by TACL.) Anonymous preprint versions --- openreview.net is one server that provides this option --- are permissable during the anonymity period.

Dual/Multiple Submission Policy

TACL does not allow dual submissions: no material in any paper submitted to TACL may be under review (or published) at another journal, conference, or archival workshop venue at any time while it is under consideration by TACL (i.e., starting from the time the submission is uploaded to the TACL server).

Revision and Resubmission Policy for TACL Submissions

  • If the original version received a decision of type (b) (conditional acceptance) or type (c) (rejection with encouragement to revise resubmit), then the resubmission should consist of a single pdf that "bundles" three files together: (1) An anonymized cover letter describing what the original submission number(s) were, who the original action editor(s) were, and how the authors addressed the changes requested; (2) an anonymized version of the original decision letter, together with the original reviews, and (3) the revision itself. Here is a latex skeleton that can help in creating this single pdf bundle: resubmission-pkg.v1,1.tex .
  • In the case where the original decision was of type (b) (acceptance subject to specific changes), send an email to editors-in-chief@transacl.org with subject line "reactivate TACL <number>" where <number> is the original submission number. In the text, please mention the name and number of the submission, the name of the action editor who gave the (b) decision, and the name of the handling editor-in-chief. Attach the pdf bundle to the email (do not upload it onto the system). The Editors-in-Chief will then manually reactivate the old submission, which will set up some important bookkeeping mechanisms.
  • In the case where the original decision was of type (c) (rejection with encouragement to revise and resubmit), submit the bundled pdf under a new number. Also, fill in the “Comments to the Editor” field as follows. Begin the comment with the words "(C) RESUBMISSION:", and then list the original submission number, and the name of the original action editor(s).
  • Papers rejected from TACL will not be eligible for resubmission to TACL for a 12 month period, unless significant revisions are made (to the point where the paper is basically a new paper) or in the case of an explicit decision of rejection with encouragement to resubmit within 3-6 months (i.e., type (c)).

Presentation of Accepted TACL Papers at Conferences

TACL has an acceptance deadline for presentation at the AACL, ACL, NAACL, EACL and EMNLP main conferences. A paper must receive a decision of type (a): “fully” (i.e., not conditionally) accepted for publication by the given acceptance deadline for it to be eligible to appear at the next ACL/AACL/NAACL/EACL/EMNLP main conference. As of ACL 2019 onwards, in addition, TACL also has a final-version completion and approval deadline to complete the steps given at https://transacl.org/ojs/index.php/tacl/author/instructions/proof. This policy is to help conference organizers manage TACL papers at their conferences; authors that do not comply with the final-version completion/approval deadline may have their conference presentation revoked. Exact deadlines, when set, will be posted on the main TACL webpage; a typical TACL acceptance deadline is a few weeks before the conference notification deadline.

To be clear: conditional acceptance — "acceptance subject to revisions to be completed within two months", a type (b) decision — does not make a paper eligible for the conference presentation, since a next round of changes needs to be approved.

We do not have submission deadlines for appearance at the various conferences: that is, we will not guarantee that if a paper is submitted to TACL by a certain date, it can be presented at relevant conference if accepted. This is an important difference from regular conference paper submissions, where there is a submission deadline.

The editors-in-chief will contact eligible authors asking these authors about their intent for each conference the authors are eligible for. Presentation of a TACL paper at a conference is optional: Authors may decide to wait for a later conference, and there is no obligation to present a TACL paper at any of the potential conferences at all.

The conference chairs make the final choice as to whether the presentation of an accepted TACL paper will be oral or poster format, and this decision is not guaranteed to be made before TACL authors have to decide on a given conference.

Final-Version Format

Authors whose papers have been accepted (received a decision of (a)) can find the instructions for preparing final versions at https://transacl.org/ojs/index.php/tacl/author/instructions/proof.

Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. You have carefully reviewed the full submission instructions, including the tacl2018v2-submission-formatting-instructions.pdf document, and verified that your file is compliant.
Please pay particular attention to the first section in the formatting instructions, as it lists common rules violations for which papers have been rejected without review in the past.
  2. The paper is ready to be reviewed --- this is not a "stub" or "test" submission.
The submitted PDF files cannot be overwritten with a re-submission, and there is no way for authors to delete a submission; deletion must be done manually by the editors-in-chief. Therefore, please only upload your paper when it is ready to be reviewed.
  3. The submission has not been previously published, nor is the material in it under for review by another journal or conference.
    Further, no material in it will be submitted for review at another conference or journal while under review by TACL.
  4. No preprint or declared-archival workshop version of the paper has been posted within the one-month window before submission to TACL, and none will be posted by any author of the paper while the paper is under consideration by TACL.
  5. The submission is not a version of a paper that was reviewed by the ACL, AACL, EACL, withdrawn before receiving a decision but nonetheless received reviews are thus not TACL-eligible during the 9-month window.
  6. If there is a preprint or workshop version already publicly available (this is only allowed if it was made available more than a month before submission to TACL), you will declare this in the comments to the editors (listing the place where the preprint is hosted, the URL, the title of the preprint, and the date the preprint was made available).
  7. If you are resubmitting a (c)-decision paper (rejection with encouragement to resubmit), the submission contains the three parts requested in a single pdf file. You've removed author names from the included decision letter.
    You'll also fill in the “Comments to the Editor” field as follows. Begin the comment with the words "(C) RESUBMISSION:", and then list the original submission number and the name of the original action editor(s).
  8. If the paper is a resubmission of a type (b) paper (acceptance subject-to/conditional-on specified changes), don't submit it under a new number and don't upload it to the system! Instead, make sure you've created a pdf file concatenating the three requested files together. Then, send an email to editors-in-chief@transacl.org with subject line "reactivate TACL <number>" where <number> is the original submission number. In the text, please mention the name and number of the submission, the name of the action editor who gave the (b) decision, and the name of the handling editor-in-chief. Attach the pdf bundle to the email. Ensure that author names have been removed from the included original decision letter.
  9. The submission has not been rejected by TACL (that is, received a decision of category "(d)") in the past 12 months.
  10. The submission does not contain any instances of research fabrication or plagiarism --- the use of the ideas or language of others without attribution.
    Note that rephrasing the language or wording of others without acknowledgment of the original source is still plagiarism, that is, plagiarism extends beyond word-for-word copying.
    TACL actively checks for plagiarism. By uploading your submission, you consent to having your paper submitted for software-based textual overlap checks with submissions submitted (whether accepted or rejected) to *ACL conferences and workshops.
    Also note that a determination of plagiarism or research fabrication may result in TACL contacting the author's or authors' institution(s), funding agencies, and potential victims, as outlined by flowchart guidance given by the Committee on Publication Ethics, https://publicationethics.org/. As per COPE guidelines, clear evidence of violation, either through misconduct or honest error, may result in rejection of a submission or retraction of a published article.
  11. Please provide 5-10 key words related to your paper; you can enter them in the Author's Comments section (optional).

Copyright for TACL papers is held by the Association for Computational Linguistics, and articles are distributed under Creative Commons License CC-BY. However, for TACL papers published in volumes 1 or 2 or in volume 3 up to and including page 403, the original published pdfs may not include a note about licensing or may mention Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 instead.

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