Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM)


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Author Guidelines

Paper Preparation

Paper Relevance

ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology is a publication for original and significant results in all areas of software engineering research. The software systems of interest for this journal are charactered in most cases by a scale requiring development by teams, not individuals. They should be sufficiently complex and long-lived to justify investment in languages, methods, and tools that support specification, design, implementation, validation, documentation, maintenance, reengineering, and other related activities. Submitted papers should address important research topics; the results described must be reproducible, extensible, scalable, and have practical relevance.

Experience reports on the use of advanced software engineering techniques are also welcome. To be publishable, however, they must provide thoughtful insights about the development world or the application of a technology, that result in the identification of new important challenges for software engineering research.

The scope of TOSEM includes models, languages, methods, mechanisms, and tools for the elaboration, evaluation, and evolution of products and processes all along the software lifecycle, from requirements specification to software maintenance. Formal and experimental approaches are both in the scope of TOSEM. Examples of topics include:

  • Requirements engineering: acquisition, modelling, specification, analysis, and prototyping;
  • Design engineering: software architectures, specification, refinement, design methods, strategies, and styles; documentation of design rationales;
  • Software testing, analysis and verification: algorithms, techniques and processes for assuring or assessing software with respect to functional or non-functional requirements;
  • Configuration management: version control and system evolution;
  • Software understanding and reengineering;
  • Reuse: techniques for reusing components such as specifications, designs, or code, and for making such products reusable;
  • Software process engineering: modeling, analysis, customization, enactment, evolution;
  • Software engineering environments: organization, tool integration and interoperability; object management, language-directed tools, knowledge-based tools, dedicated tools; software visualization;
  • Measurement, metrics, estimation methods, and empirical studies;
  • Human-Software interaction;
  • Collaborative software engineering;
  • Special software engineering techniques for: distributed systems, real-time systems, safety-critical systems, secure systems, multimedia systems, and mobile computing;
  • Adaptation of techniques from programming languages, artificial intelligence, or databases;
  • Domain-specific software engineering techniques.

Papers submitted are judged primarily on originality, significance, technical soundness and quality of presentation. Contributions should conform to generally accepted practices for scientific papers with respect to organization, clarity and style.

Theoretical or methodological papers should clearly show how the results presented may contribute to software engineering practice. Papers on specific systems should concentrate on technical and architectural issues rather than providing feature-by-feature descriptions. Experimental papers should describe the experimental method used and interpret the results in terms of practice. All papers should clearly indicate what is new and significant about the work presented and how it compares with related work. Every claim must be substantiated through detailed arguments. Technical precision and conciseness are other important requirements.

ACM Policies on Authorship

According to the ACM Policy on Authorship, anyone listed as an Author on an ACM paper must meet all the following criteria:

  • they have made substantial intellectual contributions to some components of the original work described in the paper; and
  • they have participated in drafting and/or revision of the paper; and they are aware that the paper has been submitted for publication; and
  • they agree to be held accountable for any issues relating to correctness or integrity of the work.

Other contributors may be acknowledged at the end of the paper, before the bibliography, with explicitly described roles, preferably using the roles found in the CASRAI Contributor Roles Taxonomy.

ACM Policies on Plagiarism and Prior Publication

All authors are responsible for adhering to the ACM Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism, and incidents of plagiarism are handled according to that policy. The contact author for each submission is asked to confirm the authors' understanding of this policy at the time of submission.

ACM's Policy on Prior Publication and Simultaneous Submissions states that it is ACM policy to be the sole, original publisher of articles. Manuscripts that have been submitted simultaneously to other magazines, journals or to conferences, symposia, or workshops without the prior written consent of the Editor-in-Chief will be rejected outright and will not be reconsidered. Widely disseminated conference proceedings and newsletters are a form of publication, although they are usually only semi-archival and often not fully refereed. Publication of expanded versions of papers that have been disseminated via proceedings or newsletters is permitted only if the Editor-in-Chief judges that (a) the revision contains significant amplification or clarification of the original material or (b) there is a significant additional benefit to be gained from journal publication. In either case, any prior appearance should be noted on the title page of the paper. The differences between the submission and the original version should be made explicit both in the submission letter and in the paper. A conference chairperson can arrange with the Editor-in-Chief to publish selected papers from conferences, symposia, and workshops, after suitable reviewing. The papers must meet the editorial requirements for research articles. Acknowledgment of the originating conference will appear as a credit when the paper is published in TOSEM.

Manuscript Specifications

Extremely long submissions -- as a general rule, those that exceed approximately 11,000 words -- may be returned without review at the discretion of the editor-in-chief. If placed into the review process, such submissions are not guaranteed review or publication in a timely fashion.

Submissions must be made electronically as described below and must be prepared using ACM guidelines and templates for electronic submission.

Computing Classification System

An important aspect of preparing your paper for publication by ACM Press is to provide the proper indexing and retrieval information from the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS). This is beneficial to you because accurate categorization provides the reader with quick content reference, facilitating the search for related literature, as well as searches for your work in ACM's Digital Library and on other online resources.

Language Services

ACM has partnered with International Science Editing (ISE) to provide language editing services to ACM authors. ISE offers a comprehensive range of services for authors including standard and premium English language editing, as well as illustration and translation services, and also has significant international outreach, especially in China. Editing is available for both Word and LaTeX files. As an ACM author, you will receive a generous discount on ISE editing services.

To take advantage of this partnership, visit  (Editing services are at author expense and do not guarantee publication of a manuscript.)

Please note that formatting assistance is provided at no charge to authors by Aptara, as specified on the author style guide page:

Submission for Editorial Review

Author Representations

Authors who submit to TOSEM are presumed by ACM to make certain representations about their submission and about their rights to publish it. Authors are strongly encouraged to consult the ACM Author Representations Policy for details.

How to Submit

Manuscripts intended for publication should be submitted by uploading an electronic version to

Submission requires that the lead author creates an account with his/her full contact information and a statement that the material contained in the submitted paper has not been previously published and is not currently considered for publication elsewhere. If the submission is an expanded version of a conference or workshop paper the lead author should identify the conference or workshop and specify the differences between the submission and the conference version.

Under the new ACM Author Rights policies, authors are now required to declare their choice of author rights at the time of submission via a separate electronic form. Additional information may be found at the ACM Information for Authors Web site. All rights to submissions that are subsequently withdrawn or rejected revert to the original owners.

The ACM is one of several institutions that is starting to use the ORCID identification system of unique identifiers for researchers and scholars in order to improve the accuracy of bibliographic databases. If you do not already have such an identifier when you upload a new submission to ManuscriptCentral, you will be asked to visit the ORCID web site in order to get such an identification. For more about ORCID, visit

Review Process

Papers will be refereed in the manner customary with scientific journals before being accepted for publication. The overall process is as follows and is carried out completely within Manuscript Central. (In the sequel the abbreviations EIC and AE stand for Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor, respectively.)

  1. Authors submit paper to EIC.
  2. EIC selects AE according to topic of paper, absence of conflict, fair distribution of load among AE's, etc. If the EIC has a conflict of interest with any of the authors of the paper, then the EIC designates an Associate Editor from the Editorial Board to handle the duties of EIC for the full review process, and in such cases the EIC will have no further involvement with the review process.
  3. AE suggests 3-4 referees to EIC.
  4. EIC checks that suggested referees haven't been solicited too much recently, have no conflict of interest with the authors, etc., THEN negotiates with referees an acceptable deadline for review, THEN makes the paper available to referees in Manuscript Central. Typically, 70% of referees commit to the proposed 4 weeks, 20% to 6 weeks, and fewer than 10% up to 10 weeks.
  5. AE and referees review paper.
  6. EIC monitors review progress to ensure that referees meet review deadlines as much as possible.
  7. WHEN all reviews have been received then EIC asks AE to propose an editorial decision together with some justification highlighting the referees' main concerns. The possible decisions are Accept, Minor Revisions, Major Revisions, and Reject.
  8. EIC sends decision letter to authors together with referees' reports AND sends anonymous, verbatim copies and thanks to AE and referees.
  9. EIC sends accepted papers to ACM for production processing.
  10. For decisions of Minor Revisions and Major Revisions, authors are expected to make all revisions requested by the referees and AE before submitting a new version for review. For a previous decision of Minor Revisions, the new version typically is rechecked by AE only. For a previous decision of Major Revisions, the new version will go through a new round of reviewing, typically by the original reviewers. Papers generally are allowed at most one decision of Major Revisions. If the previous decision was Major Revisions and then the review of the new version determines that a second decision of Major Revisions is warranted, then a decision of Reject typically is applied instead. Authors have the right to submit a revision of a rejected paper as a new submission, and in some cases authors may be encouraged to do so by AE and EIC.

Authors are expected to keep the Editor-in-Chief informed of any change of address. Correspondence on editorial matters should be addressed to Correspondence regarding accepted papers should be addressed to Laura A. Lander (with a copy to, or on paper to:

Managing Editor, TOSEM, ACM, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

with a copy to the Editor-in-Chief.

Letters and notes of detailed technical content are considered for publication as Technical Correspondence. They are formally reviewed but are usually not refereed in the same way as short contributions or full articles.

If an author has concerns about how her or his paper was handled, that author should bring those concerns to the EIC. If the author feels that the concerns are not adequately addressed by the EIC, she or he may appeal to the Chair of the Publications Board, in accordance with ACM policy.

Procedures for Accepted Papers

How to Submit

Once a manuscript is accepted, a final version must be submitted via the Manuscript Central website

Submissions must follow production instructions that will be sent to the contact author. Please contact Laura A. Lander for further details or refer to ACM's Guidelines for Submitting Accepted Articles for details.

Supplemental Online-only Material

Please note that it is the policy of the journal to publish any appendices greater than one page in length only in the online version of the paper in the ACM Digital Library.

Please provide a brief description of any supplementary online-only material (i.e., text and multimedia material) to be published in the Digital Library. A short "readme.txt" file will appear in the DL along with your supplementary material describing its content and whatever requirements there are for using it.

Author Rights for Accepted Papers

Accepted papers are governed by the new ACM Author Rights framework, which includes a new publishing license agreement, an updated copyright transfer agreement, and a new author-pays option that allows for perpetual open access through the ACM Digital Library. For more information, visit the ACM Author Rights webpage at

The ACM Copyright Policy governs all accepted papers for which the copyright is assigned to ACM or a publishing license is granted to ACM.


ACM Author-Izer Service

Once your manuscript is published, we recommend that you use the newly launched ACM Author-Izer service. This service allows you to generate and post a link on your home page or institutional repository to your published article. This link will let any visitors to your personal bibliography pages download the definitive version of the articles for free from the ACM DL. These downloads will be recorded as part of your DL usage statistics. A detailed description of the service and instructions for its use may be found at:

See the summary description and instructions.

For further assistance

Questions regarding editorial review process should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief, Mauro Pezzè.

Questions regarding the post-acceptance production process should be addressed to the Publisher, Laura A. Lander.

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