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ASSETS Policy on Program Committees

Program Committee Members

The Program Committee is responsible for objectively and thoroughly reviewing all submissions, and for submitting timely, informative reviews that provide authors with feedback about their submissions.

The Program Committee members should be recognized experts in the subject area of the event. As an objective criterion, all Program Committee members should possess a Ph.D. For recurring events, the committee should not have a fixed membership, bur rather be constituted each year to fit the changing needs of the conference.

Reviewing Submissions

Submissions should be reviewed by the Program Committee members themselves, rather than by their chosen delegates. Program Committee members are encouraged to seek advice from external reviewers if needed, but they are still responsible for having reviewed the submission themselves. Each submission should be reviewed by at least three Program Committee members.

Submissions from Organizing Committee Members

The General Chair and Program Chair may not submit a technical paper as either a sole or co-author. Similarly, Chairs of other conference activities (such as Posters and Demonstrations) may not submit a paper to their activity. All other members of conference committees may submit to all activities. Care must be taken that these submissions are reviewed at least as stringently as other submissions.

Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality of Submissions

ASSETS requires members of the Program Committee to adhere to the highest of ethical standards. These standards are outlined in the SIGACCESS Conflict of Interest policy. Program Committee chairs must ensure that these standards are not only met to the letter of the policy but also to the spirit of its intent. This means that even the appearance of a conflict of interest or breach of confidentiality in the selection process should be avoided.

A Program Committee member (including the chair of the committee) is considered to have a conflict of interest on a submission on which they are an author or that has an author in any of the categories identified by the SIGACCESS Conflict of Interest Policy.

Committee members must declare their conflicts to the program chair before any reviews of the submissions begin.

Committee members in conflict with an author will not be allowed to see the reviews of the submission, nor will the names of the reviewers be divulged. During any and all discussions of the submission (written or verbal), the member in conflict will be barred from participating in any way either actively or passively (e.g., by absenting themselves from the room in which the discussion is being held, not being a recipient of email, etc.).

In case the program chair is in conflict, the chair will assign an alternate chair for any submissions for which they have a conflict. This alternate chair should be a member of the Program Committee who does not have a conflict. For those submissions, the alternate chair will select the reviewers and will conduct the reviews and any discussion without revealing the identities of the reviewers to the Program Committee Chair.

Submissions themselves and discussions conducted by a Program Committee during the selection process are considered to be confidential.

This conflict of interest and confidentiality policy extends to any supplemental reviewers outside of the immediate Program Committee, if such reviewers are permitted by the procedures of the committee. The committee member seeking the supplemental review is responsible for ensuring the enforcement of the policy.

The Program Chair will make reasonable efforts to ensure that the manuscripts submitted are made available to and reviewed only by the Program Committee and supplemental reviewers acting on behalf of the Program Committee. Neither ASSETS nor ACM guarantee the confidentiality of the submitted manuscripts, and accept no liability in the event that the manuscripts are distributed beyond the reviewers.

Awards and Special Issues of Journals

By default, the PC Chair is the selection committee chair for awards and special issues of journals. The Chair, however, may transfer the job of selection committee chair over to someone selected by the SIGACCESS EC if they so choose. Transferring the job of selection chair should occur if the PC Chair is in conflict with papers under consideration. The selection committee chairs may appoint additional committee members if they so choose.

Exclusions to avoid conflict of interest:

  • Papers co-authored by members of the selection committee are not eligible.
  • Papers in conflict with the selection committee chair(s) are not eligible.

Calls for Submissions/Participation

Conferences should require full-length, original papers for review. The conference website for the Calls for papers should reference the ASSETS Program Committee Conflict of Interest Policy. It should also include explicit prohibitions against the submission of papers that have been previously published or are being submitted elsewhere.

All Calls should make authors aware of the ACM Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism. Authors must be asked to indicate their understanding and acceptance of the policy and procedures at the time of submission. This can normally be done as part of the electronic submission process, such as through a checkbox that must be checked in order for the submission to be recorded.

Policy approved by ASSETS Conference Steering Committee July 27, 2009.