PLDI and PACMPL - have your say!

Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages (PACMPL) is a new, open-access journal that will archive the results of major programming language conferences sponsored by SIGPLAN and ACM. So far, ICFP, OOPSLA, and POPL have signed on. There is, to my surprise, a raging debate as to whether PLDI should do so. The issues are blogged here, and there is a survey here.

As Editor-in-Chief of PACMPL, I may be prejudiced, but it seems to me the case for PLDI to join is a no-brainer.  Programming languages are unusual in a heavy reliance on conferences over journals. In many universities and to many national funding bodies, journal publications are the only ones that count. Other fields within computing are sorting this out by moving to journals; we should too. Journals cover a wide range of different publications, and our better conferences sit toward the high-quality end of this range. ICFP, OOPSLA, and POPL were all enthusiastic to join; is PLDI that different?

Becoming a journal requires a slight change to procedure: an extra round for referees to ensure necessary changes have been made. The extra round increases reliability of our archival publication—good, as we don't want to build our field on sand!—and may permit the PC to be more adventurous in accepting borderline papers.

Most importantly, all papers in PACMPL will be open access, thanks to generous underwriting by SIGPLAN. The price ACM is charging is too high, and we will continue to press them to reduce it. But it is only by going to open access that SIGPLAN can survive—the alternative is that our conferences, including PLDI, will wither, to be replaced by others that are open access.

I urge you to fill out the survey, as it is your opinion that could tilt the balance. Though the survey is non-binding, it will powerfully influence the PLDI Steering Committee when they vote on the issue next month. It just takes a minute, do it now!

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FWIW, there is not even a change of process in PLDI's case, because they already shepherd every (conditionally-)accepted paper.
Hi Phil,

Best of luck as editor of PACM PL!

I think it's a great experiment, and PACM PL with ICFP/POPL/OOPSLA will be a great venue for PL researchers that need journal publications.

However, I am not sure we want all our PL eggs in one PACMPL experimental basket, and it might be fine to keep some diversity in our publication ecosystem. It would also allow us to see, for example, if PLDI gets relatively fewer submissions because of its non-journal status (that is, we are doing an A/B experiment of sorts here).

I'm surprised how much PACM PL and gold open access are being conflated. SIGPLAN has chosen to sponsor gold open access for 3 years for PACMPL, and might naturally sponsor gold open access for PLDI too, if we choose to keep the conference publication. Open access is very important, but orthogonal.

-- Cormac
The decision of the PLDI steering committee on the PACMPL issue is at pldi-sc.blogspot.com
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