Mathematical Software (TOMS)


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Author Guidelines


The ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software (TOMS) publishes significant research results concerning the development, evaluation and use of mathematical software in support of important application areas. (See the Editorial Charter for further details.) Submitted papers are judged primarily on originality and relevance, but effective presentation is also critical. Contributions should conform to generally accepted practices for scientific papers with respect to organization and style.

Types of Papers

Authors should consult the ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software Editorial Charter to determine the scope of papers for the journal. Contributions must be of one of the following types:

Research paper

A paper that discusses original research into mathematical software. Where appropriate, reference will be made to publicly available software written by the author and/or by others. The paper should not fall into any of the categories below.

Survey paper

A paper that summarizes and organizes recent mathematical software research results in a novel way that contributes to advancing research in the field. The paper should have a narrow focus. (Very high standards for effective presentation will be applied.)

Algorithm paper

A paper that describes the implementation of a particular algorithm in computer software. A machine readable implementation of the algorithm, in the form of a complete, and well-engineered software package, must be included. This software is considered part of the submission. It will be evaluated by referees and, if accepted, published in the Collected Algorithms of the ACM (CALGO).

Remark, Certification and Translation papers

A Remark is a short communication (possibly including software) regarding a numbered algorithm previously published in CALGO. A Certification paper describes a detailed (usually experimental) analysis of a numbered algorithm previously published in CALGO (usually by a different author); it will normally include the software employed in the certification. A Translation paper includes a translation of a numbered algorithm previously published in CALGO into a different programming language. (This must represent be a substantial undertaking that adds significant value to the original). A machine readable implementation of the translation, in the form of a complete and well-engineered software package, must be included. This software is considered part of the submission. It will be evaluated by referees and, if accepted, published in the CALGO.

Submissions that include software must conform to the ACM Algorithm Policy.

Experimental analysis of the performance of mathematical software implementations are often included in papers published in TOMS. Computational experiments of this type are fraught with pitfalls. Many of these difficulties are discussed in the following paper:

D.S. Johnson, A Theoretician's Guide to the Experimental Analysis of Algorithms, in Proceedings of the 5th and 6th DIMACS Implementation Challenges, M. Goldwasser, D. S. Johnson, and C. C. McGeoch, Editors, American Mathematical Society, Providence, 2002. [pdf file available]

TOMS authors are urged to follow the recommendations of this paper.

Prior Publication Policy

By submitting a manuscript to TOMS, authors warrant that the paper is original, has not been previously published, and has not been simultaneously submitted elsewhere.

Widely disseminated conference proceedings and newsletters are a form of publication, although they are usually only semiarchival and often unrefereed. Publication, or republication, of a (perhaps revised) paper which has been widely disseminated is permitted only if the editor 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.

For further information, see the ACM Policy on Prior Publication and Simultaneous Submission.

Plagiarism Policy

ACM has established a rigorous policy on plagiarism. Manuscripts found to be in violation of this policy will be immediately rejected. Authors of papers found to be in violation after publication face severe penalties. It is important that all authors and co-authors review this policy before submission. Note that this policy also covers the practice of self-plagiarism (i.e., reuse of one's own previously published material without reference to the original source).

For more information, see the ACM Policy on Plagiarism.

Manuscript Preparation

Authors must prepare and submit their manuscripts electronically. This facilitates both a quicker editorial review process as well as faster and more accurate processing of accepted papers.

By default, papers will be published monochrome in the printed version of the journal; use of color in the printed version will be approved on a case-by-case basis and only when absolutely necessary for the presentation of the material. The online version of the paper, i.e., the PDF file posted in the ACM Digital Library, can use color provided the projection to monochrome in the printed version does not lose essential information. It is the author’s responsibility to ensure that this projection will be satisfactory.

If accepted, final manuscripts must be submitted to ACM in either LaTeX or Microsoft Word. These are described in the ACM manuscript preparation guidelines. Authors are urged to follow these guidelines in the original preparation of their manuscripts whenever possible.

To ensure proper indexing, classification, retrieval and dissemination, authors must include the following in the manuscript.

  • Descriptive title
  • Author names and affiliations
  • Abstract
  • Content indicators
  • Citations to relevant literature

The following serve as guidelines for the preparation of this material.

Descriptive Title

Select a title that accurately and clearly describes the paper. Choose title terms as highly specific as the content and emphasis of the paper permit. Avoid special symbols and formulas in titles unless essential to indicate content. Avoid cute or clever titles.

Author Names and Affiliations

Authors' names should be given (without titles or degrees) along with the name and address of the organization for which the work was carried out. A footnote on the first page should acknowledge funding sources and presentations, if any, of the material at technical meetings (give dates and sponsoring societies). The author's current address should be given in a footnote on the first page.


The abstract should be between 150 and 200 words and consist of short, direct, and complete sentences. It should be sufficiently informative to serve in some cases as a substitute for reading the paper itself. It should state the objectives of the work, summarize the results, and give the principle conclusions. The title need not be repeated. Work planned but not completed should not be described in the abstract. Because abstracts are extracted and used separately, do not use the first person, do not display mathematics, and do not use citation reference numbers. Try to avoid starting with the words "This paper ..."

Content Indicators

Three types must be assigned: (1) categories and subject descriptors, (2) general terms, (3) keywords and phrases. The first two items are selected from the Computing Classification Scheme. An introduction is also available. Select as many of these as may be applicable.

The keywords and phrases are additional English language words that indicate the content of the submission. They should not be synonymous with those already in the classification system: they can be more specific in relation to the paper than the subject descriptors and need not be covered by the existing classification system. The following guidelines may be helpful.

  • Use important terms from the title; include their synonyms, related words and words of higher or lower generic rank.
  • Use English nouns, or noun-noun and noun-adjective combinations; do not use hyphens except if the hyphenated parts are always treated as a single unit.
  • Use specific terms whose meanings are generally accepted; do not use broad catchall terms (such as "computer", "automatic", "machine", "system", "discussion", "description"); do not use private terms or acronyms that may not be generally known.
  • Do not use negative terms stressing what your paper does not do.


Every work cited in the text must appear in the list of references, and, conversely, every item in the reference list must be cited in the text.

Citations should appear in the text in the form "[Lastname year]" or "Lastname [year]", as appropriate to the context. Multiple citations may be grouped as "Lastname year; Lastname year]"; drop the Lastname if it is the same as the previous one. For two authors use "Lastname and Lastname"; for three or more authors use "Lastname et al." Append lowercase letters to the date in the citation and in the reference list if both authors and dates of multiple references are identical. Examples :

[Renka 1996]

Renka [1996]

[Duff 1981; 1983]

[Dongarra and Grosse 1987]

[Duff et al. 1986]

Dongarra et al. [1988a]

The following guidelines should be followed in preparing the list of references.

Author names:

Last names are given first, even for multiple authors; likewise for editors, with the name followed by (Ed.). First and middle names appear as initials only. The author's name always ends with a period, either the period which follows the initial, or a period for the purpose. Author names are set in small capitals.

References to items in periodicals:

These should take the form: Author(s) Year. Title. Journal Volume, Number (Month), Pages. The title has only the first word and proper names (or their derivatives) starting with capital letters, and it ends with a period. The journal name is abbreviated and is set in italics. Example:

Jenkins, M. A., and Traub, J. F. 1975. Principles for testing zerofinding programs. ACM Trans. Math. Soft. 1, 1 (Mar.), 26-34.

References to books:

These should take the form: Author(s) Year. Title. Publisher, City. Page or chapter references follow the year. All principal words in the title start with a capital letter. The title is set in italics.

References in proceedings:

These should take the form: Author(s) Year. Title. In Booktitle. Editornames, Eds. Publisher, City, Pages. The names of editors appear as initials followed by last names. The book title is set in italics. Example:

Freund R. W. 1994.The look-ahead Lanczos process for nonsymmetric matrices and its applications. In Proceedings of the Cornelius Lanczos International Centenary Conference, J. D. Brown, M. T. Chu, D. C. Ellison, and R. J. Plemmons, Eds. SIAM, Philadelphia, Pa., 33-47.

References to reports:

These should take the form: Author(s) Year. Title. Source, City. The title is formatted like articles in periodicals.

References to web pages:

These should take the form: Author(s) Year. Web address. References to web pages should be used only when references to archival sources (e.g. journals and books) are unavailable.


In the reference list, entries are arranged alphabetically according to authors' or editors' names, or publishing organizations for items to which no names can be attached. Alphabetization occurs in categories: one author, two authors, and three or more authors. Citations with identical authors should be arranged in increasing order of year. For multiple citations with identical authors and years, add labels a, b, etc. after the year. The Latex bibstyle provided by the ACM correctly sequences the references.


Authors are responsible for checking that all information in the references is correct.


Include any and all information necessary for finding the work referenced. It is better to include more than enough information than too little information.

Additional Notes on Style

The programming language Fortran should appear as "Fortran 77", "Fortran 95", or simply "Fortran", the latter referring to the international standard current at the time that the paper is accepted. The archaic form "FORTRAN" should not be used.

Submission for Editorial Review

How to Submit

All submissions to ACM TOMS should be made using the online manuscript processing facilities of Manuscript Central. Access to Manuscript Central requires an account, which can be established immediately via links from the Manuscript Central home page. When a paper has been prepared using a version of Tex or Latex, for purposes of editorial review only Postscript or PDF versions of the manuscript need be uploaded. (Manuscripts prepared in Word are also acceptable.)

Normally, a manuscript with no accompanying code being submitted for publication should be uploaded as a Research paper, though Survey papers are also acceptable. For Algorithm paper submissions, the submitted code intended for publication (and accompanying files such as test cases or manuals) must also be uploaded. Remark, Certification paper and Translation submissions will also usually have submitted code that is intended for publication. When in doubt about which is the appropriate type of publication, authors should contact the Editor-in-Chief, Mike Heroux, at maherou at, in advance of submission.

Review Process

Submitted papers are assigned to an Associate Editor who chooses anonymous referees. These referees evaluate the paper for originality, relevance, and presentation then make a recommendation to the Associate Editor who in turn makes a recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief or the Algorithms Editor. Revisions requested by the Editor-in-Chief or the Algorithms Editor should be uploaded to ACM Manuscript Central. After the refereeing process is complete, the Associate Editor makes a recommendation for acceptance or rejection to the Editor-in-Chief or the Algorithms Editor, who makes the final decision on publication. The name of the Associate Editor who is responsible for processing the manuscript is available to the author on Manuscript Central. The author is expected to report any change of postal or electronic address on Manuscript Central.

Procedures for Accepted Papers

How to Submit

Once a manuscript is accepted, it will be returned to your author center for you to review and make any final changes or corrections prior to production and publication.  You will find your manuscript in your author center under the list “Manuscripts Accepted for First Look.”  Click on the link to “submit updated manuscript” and follow the steps as you would during a manuscript submission process.  

ACM provides for submission in either LaTeX or Microsoft Word. Please refer to ACM's Guidelines for Submitting Accepted Articles for details on final manuscript formatting and submission procedure.

Submittal of an algorithm for consideration for publication in ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software implies that unrestricted use of the algorithm within a computer is permissible.

Author Rights

Working with the computing community, ACM leadership has responded to calls to make scholarly articles more openly accessible, to enable authors to exercise greater control of their published works, and to comply with the increasing demands placed on authors by funding agencies. 

ACM authors now have three ways to manage their publication rights with ACM:

  1. A license granting ACM non-exclusive permission to publish—by choosing to pay for perpetual open access from the ACM Digital Library, authors may opt to self-manage all rights to their work. 
  2. A new Publishing License Agreement granting ACM exclusive publication rights—in choosing this license authors grant ACM the right to serve as the exclusive publisher of their work and to manage ongoing rights and permissions associated with the work, including the right to defend it against improper use by third parties. This exclusive license is roughly the equivalent of ACM’s traditional Copyright Transfer Agreement except that the author continues to hold copyright. 
  3. ACM's traditional Copyright Transfer Agreement—for authors comfortable with the existing agreement.

Learn more by visiting the Information for Authors webpage.


ACM is also implementing changes to to allow for more free access to the content of ACM journals and Special Interest Group conference proceedings in the ACM Digital Library and other online venues:

  • SIGs may choose to enable open access to the most current proceedings volume of their sponsored conferences from the conference or SIG site.
  • SIGs may make conference proceedings freely available via the ACM DL platform for up to two weeks before the event, and for a total of one month.

These options will facilitate access to proceedings content by conference attendees. They will also enable the community at large to learn about the latest developments as they are presented at the conferences.

Authors can post an Author-Izer link enabling free downloads of the Definitive Version of the work permanently maintained in the ACM Digital Library.

ACM Computing Classification System (CCS)

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:


ACM is transitioning to the new authoring templates found at:  The new TeX template consolidates all eight individual ACM journal and proceedings templates.  The templates are updated to the latest software versions, were developed to enable accessibility features, and they use a new font set. Please note: Separate Word for Windows and Word for Mac consolidated templates are also available.

We will continue to accept manuscripts using the previous template format through Spring 2017. 

The new TeX template requires that a call be made within the source document  for “\documentclass” so that an article is formatted according to the specifications to the publication. Detailed instructions can be found in section 2.2 of the User and Implementation Guide (

For further assistance

  • Questions regarding editorial review process should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief.
  • Questions regarding the post-acceptance production process should be addressed to the Publisher, Laura A. Lander.
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