Conflict-of-interest policy

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Conference Reviewing: ACL Policy on Conflict of Interest

Conference Handbook - Conflict of Interest

The following is the ACL policy on conflicts of interest in reviewing and accepting conference submissions.

  1. A person is deemed to have a conflict of interest in a paper submitted to an ACL conference if
    • he or she is a (co-)author of the paper; or
    • one or more of the authors of the paper:
      • is, or has been in the previous five years, a student of that person, or
      • has co-authored a paper or collaborated with that person in the previous five years, or
      • is employed at the same institution as that person.
    • any other circumstances create an appearance that the person might have a bias in the evaluation of the paper.
  2. No person shall review or participate in the acceptance decision of any paper in which he or she has a conflict of interest.
  3. The identity of the reviewers of a paper shall be withheld from all people who have a conflict of interest in that paper.

The following are the procedures that must be followed for avoidance of conflicts of interest in reviewing and accepting conference submissions.

  1. If a program committee (co-)chair has a conflict of interest in a paper, a different co-chair must assign that paper to an area chair. If there is only a single program chair, the general chair of the conference shall assign it.
  2. A paper shall not be assigned to an area chair or to a reviewer who has a conflict of interest in it.
  3. If an area chair or reviewer is inadvertently assigned a paper in which he or she has a conflict of interest, he or she must immediately declare the fact and return the paper.
  4. Reviewing procedures and software shall be organized in such a manner as to prevent any person from seeing non-anonymized reviews of any paper in which he or she has a conflict of interest.
  5. Reviewing procedures and software and program committee discussions and meetings shall be organized in such a manner as to prevent any person from participating in or observing any discussion relating to the acceptance decision of any paper in which he or she has a conflict of interest.
  6. In the interpretation of this policy and these procedures, if there is any doubt as to whether or not a conflict of interest exists, chairs and reviewers are advised to be cautious. The ACL Executive may be asked for its opinion on specific cases.