Mathematical Software (TOMS)


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Referee Instructions

Papers for the ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software (TOMS) must be of high quality and fall within the scope of the journal. There are four main ingredients to an acceptable paper:

  1. technical quality is high,
  2. relevance to significant computations is high,
  3. interest and novelty is high, and
  4. presentation is effective.

Few papers excel in all of these, but a substandard level in any is sufficient ground for rejection.

More specific criteria apply to papers presenting computational methods and algorithms. We do not accept papers that belong in traditional, more theoretical journals (e.g., Mathematics of Computation, SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis). This does not imply that all theoretical papers are to be rejected; rather it implies that theoretical papers from the traditional areas are to be rejected. An acceptable paper of this type should contain: (a) motivation and technical analysis of the method, (b) evidence of effectiveness and practicality, and (c) demonstration of superiority compared to alternative approaches.

Software and related materials submitted as part of an algorithm paper must conform to the requirements set in the ACM Algorithm Policy. Referees are asked to inspect these materials and exercise the code, and to provide comments on the code's usability, structure, portability, completeness, and adequacy of documentation.

Please prepare an anonymous referee report suitable for transmission to the author. Your report should be uploaded to ACM Manuscript Central using the account you used to obtain the manuscript. There you will also be asked to supply a summarizing recommendation, i.e., one of accept, accept after revision, substantial revision necessary, or reject. You will also have the opportunity to provide additional comments directly to the Editor.

General ACM policies

For more information on specific topics, see the ACM publications policies.  Specifically for the policy on algorithms, see the Algorithms Policy.

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