2009Q3 Reports: Journal Editor

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Computational Linguistics Journal Report for 2008-2009 Robert Dale, Editor

1 Summary

The journal appears to be in a reasonably healthy state. Submissions for 2008 have dropped back to 2004 levels (see stats below), so the growth in submissions during 2005-2007 may have been a temporary glitch; only time will tell. Our mean time to first decision is slightly better than last year, at 97 days.

We are now halfway through our first year of being open access and electronic only. This is a transitional period: we are in the process of negotiating the new contract with MIT Press, but we will likely want to review our association with MIT Press in the next 18 months, since it is only in 2010 that we will begin to see the real costs of operating a journal without the subsidies provided by library subscriptions.

As always, the journal could not function without the able assistance provided by Mary Gardiner, the CL editorial assistant, and of course our editorial board.

2 Upcoming Changes

The Early Access mechanism, whereby 'first revises' are posted on the web before final proofreading is completed, now seems a little redundant: electronic-only publication means we are in a position to publish articles as soon as they have completed the copy-editing and proofreading process, without waiting until a regular issue publication date. I therefore propose to drop the Early Access mechanism, and shift to article-by-article publication. This has the advantage of avoiding citation complications that may be introduced by having two different versions of an article, at the cost of delaying publication by 2-4 weeks.

Mary is continuing work on integrating the Online Journal Management System into our processes. We've commissioned a webhost and the early steps of paper submissions have been tested; we are yet to complete a full review cycle using OJMS, but we plan to do so by the end of August.

The ACL Member Portal should also go live shortly. We will need to look at how and whether we want to integrate 'premium services' in relation to the journal into the portal.

3 Statistics

In the past we have provided fairly detailed statistics regarding number of papers submitted, accepted, given revise and resubmit decisions, and so on. These are available on request, but in their place in this report are some higher level stats that may be more interesting.

First, number of submissions per year:

Year1999200020012002200320042005200620072008
Submissions47645765657288998071

And the all important mean time to first decision:

Year20012002200320042005200620072008
Decision Time11012712913114612510097

End