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Moving Computer Science Research Journals Online

Ronald F. Boisvert, ACMD
Peter Denning, George Mason University
Bernard Rous, Association for Computing Machinery

Publication in refereed journals remains the primary means of communicating the results of research to current and future members of the scientific and engineering community. In recent years Internet and the World Wide Web have brought about a tremendous change in the capability to communicate quickly and effectively, which is leading to fundamental changes in the publishing industry. As publishers, professional societies such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in this revolution. As the landscape changes, however, it is important that key features of the existing system, such as careful refereeing and long-term preservation are maintained.

Since 1986 I have served on the Editorial Board of the ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software (TOMS), assuming the position of Editor-in-Chief in 1993 (this year I was reappointed for a second 3-year term). My interests in the Web and in promoting the communication of research results in math software prompted me to develop a Web site for TOMS in 1994. This was the first comprehensive Web site for any of ACM's journals, providing access to the journal's Charter, Information for Authors, Editorial Board, Tables of Contents, and a list of upcoming papers.

ACM selected TOMS to be a model for developing a Web presence for all of its journals. In the summer of 1995 I was asked to join the ACM Publications Board with the title of Information Director, with the task of helping to coordinate the work of ACM volunteers in moving ACM toward electronic publishing. I accomplished the following since then.

  1. Coordinated the appointment of information directors for ACM print journals and their development of basic Web pages. Eighteen (nearly all) ACM journals now have a Web presence similar to TOMS. Some are beginning experiments in online access to full text of published papers.
  2. Developed a new ACM Publications home page which provides links to all of the journals, as well as information on ACM's electronic publication plans.
  3. Developed a unified Table-of-Contents (TOC) for all ACM journal articles from 1985 to present. The TOC was constructed by converting SGML data in the ACM Publications database into HTML form suitable for viewing on the Web. Citations, including abstracts, keywords and reviews (from ACM Computing Reviews) may be viewed by journal and volume, or through a search engine based on Glimpse (of the University of Arizona). More than 4,200 papers are included. ACM has taken over the day-to-day operation of this service.
  4. Participated in the development of the ACM Revised Interim Copyright Policy .
  5. Coordinated the development of guidelines for the location and citation of journal articles as ACM moves to provide online access to all of their literature.

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