Computing Education (TOCE)


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Guidelines for Authors

Submission Format and Policies 

All manuscripts and revisions are to be submitted electronically using ACM's Manuscript Central interface. Submissions should follow the Online Guidelines for Electronically Submitting Articles to ACM Journals. Provided in these guidelines is the 2017 Master Article Template, which provides article templates for both Word and LaTeX.  You must use the ACM_Small template for all submissions to ACM TOCE. Manuscripts not formatted according to this template will be returned to their authors with a request to reformat the paper, thus delaying their review.

While there is no formal page limit for TOCE articles, we expect most submissions to be between 10 and 25 journal pages, with 30 pages being a soft upper limit. Submissions that exceed 30 pages must have good reasons to do so. If your paper is near or above 30 pages, please think carefully about why it is as long as it is, and consider ways to reduce its length. In many cases, shortening a paper will have no ill-effects, and may well improve the paper's clarity and presentation. 

No paper submitted to TOCE may be under review elsewhere. A paper that is based on previously-published work (e.g., a conference or workshop paper) is expected to contain at least 30% new material, and the original paper should be cited as a footnote to the paper title. All papers are subject to the ACM policy on plagiarism.

As of the April, 2017 review cycle, ACM TOCE's review process is double-blind. This means that authors will not know the identities of those who review their papers, and that reviewers will not know the identities of the authors of the papers they review. Even when authors take great care to conceal their identities in a paper, a determined reviewer may still be able to identify who wrote the paper. Nonetheless, authors are expected to take reasonable measures to conceal their identities in their papers, so that reviewers have a reasonable chance of not knowing who the authors are.

Several journals and conferences have developed excellent advice and guidelines on how to anonymize a paper for double-blind review. We will not attempt to reinvent this advice here. Instead, TOCE authors should first consult the ACM ICER conference's Additional Advice on Anonymization. For an even more comprehensive set of guidelines, including detailed recommendations for anonymous citations, authors should also consult the Author Guidelines of the ACM Transactions on Database Systems (scroll down to the section entitled "Ensuring Anonymity"). Please make a reasonable attempt to anonymize your paper based on the above sources. If the editor-in-chief determines that your paper is not sufficiently anonymized, it will be returned with a  request to improve the anonymization, and its review will be delayed by at least one month.

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.

ACM authors now have three ways to manage their publication rights with ACM. Learn more by visiting the Information for Authors webpage.

We expect that all authors read and understand the ACM Author Representations Policy found at:

ACM has published new Fair Use Guidelines for authors whose manuscripts include third-party material. They can be found at If you are using third-party materials, please obtain permissions for it as specified here:

Review Process
ACM TOCE's monthly review process is initiated on the first day of each month. On that day, the Editor-in-Chief performs a preliminary review of all papers received by 8:00 am. Pacific Time on the first day of the month. That peer review process proceeds as follows: For each submitted paper, the Editor-in-Chief first evaluates the suitability of the paper for the journal. If the paper is  deemed to be a reasonable fit, the Editor-in-Chief assigns the manuscript to an Associate Editor. The Associate Editor assigns the paper to at least three reviewers, and, based on these, makes a recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-chief's decision is based on these reviews and the Associate Editor's recommendation.

Papers will receive one of four possible decisions:

  • Accept. The paper is deemed publishable as is; no changes are necessary. This decision type is extremely rare on the first try.
  • Minor Revisions. Authors are given up to 30 days to resubmit a new version of the paper that incorporates the minor revisions recommended by the editors and reviewers. Because the revisions to the paper are minor, the revised manuscript is generally not sent out for a second round of peer review. Instead, the associate editor evaluates the changes and renders a decision.
  • Major Revisions. Authors are given up to one year to resubmit a new version of the paper that incorporates the major revisions recommended by the editors and reviewers. The revised manuscript is sent out for a second round of peer review, preferably using the same reviewers as reviewed the original manuscript. If the revised manuscript fails to receive a decision of Minor Revisions or Accept, it is rejected. In other words, a paper reviewed as Major Revisions must progress to at least Minor Revisions to stay in the review cycle. 
  • Reject. The paper is deemed unpublishable, and is removed from the review cycle.

Criteria for Review
Reviewers evaluate manuscripts according to the following criteria. These criteria relate to the appropriateness of the paper to the journal, the significance of its content, and the quality of the presentation. Manuscripts are expected to:

  1. have content that can be directly applied by classroom instructors or curriculum designers;

  2. appeal to a broad audience interested in computing education;

  3. address significant problem(s) of lasting value;

  4. build upon (and cite) relevant references;

  5. adequately evaluate any teaching intervention (e.g. tool, visualization, instructional method) in terms of its impact on learning in actual use;

  6. use appropriate methodology, both for the teaching intervention and its evaluation;

  7. provide sufficient detail to replicate and evaluate;

  8. be clearly and carefully written; and

  9. adhere to accepted standards of style, usage, and composition.

Tips from the Editor-in-Chief

You may be surprised to learn that only a small number of papers that are submitted to ACM TOCE actually make it past the editor-in-chief's desk. A majority are desk rejected without going out for peer review because they are out of scope, or because they fail to meet the minimum standards for publication in ACM TOCE. However, it's actually quite easy to avoid desk rejection. Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure that your paper falls within the scope of ACM TOCE. ACM TOCE has a clear focus on computing education research.  We routinely receive papers that have a clear focus on educational research or educational technology, but that have nothing to do with computing education. Such papers will be sent back with a recommendation that they instead be submitted to a more general education or educational technology journal such as Computers & Education or The Educational Researcher.  In order for a paper to fall within the scope of ACM TOCE, it must clearly address some aspect of  the teaching and learning of computing. Simply using computing students to study a general educational phenomenon is generally not enough. 
  2. Make sure that your paper presents actual research, and not just an experience report. We routinely receive so-called "Marco Polo" papers that report on an instructor's experience with implementing some innovation in the classroom. While such papers are often a welcome addition to practitioners' conferences such as ACM SIGCSE or ACM ITiCSE, their lack of a sophisticated empirical evaluation makes them a poor match for ACM TOCE. Generally speaking, evaluations of computing education interventions published in ACM TOCE must go beyond the analysis of end-of-course student evaluation surveys. While such qualitative data can be informative, additional data  should be collected and analyzed (e.g., video data, log data, interview data, and/or student artifacts) in order to gain deeper insight into the teaching and learning of computing. 
  3. Make ties to learning theory explicit. Paper authors are strongly encouraged to frame their research in terms of one or more  learning theories. This can be accomplished, for example, by motivating  research questions or hypotheses with the help of learning theory, or by interpreting results in terms of learning theory.  
  4. Properly anonymize and format your paper! ACM TOCE receives a large number of papers that are returned to their authors because they are not properly anonymized or are not formatted according to the journal's standards. Papers that are returned for anonymization or reformatting will not re-enter the review process until (at the earliest) the next monthly soft deadline. Therefore, please be extra careful to ensure that your paper is properly formatted and anonymized before you submit. A failure to properly format and anonymize your paper will lead to at least a one-month delay in the review process.
  5. When in doubt, contact the editor-in-chief.  If you have any questions regarding the suitability of your paper for ACM TOCE, please e-mail the Editor-in-Chief, who will be happy to review a preliminary title and abstract and provide feedback--usually within a matter of hours. A preliminary review by the editor-in-chief can save hours of work and waiting down the road.


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.

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. ISE 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:

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.


ORCID is a community-based effort to create a global registry of unique researcher identifiers for the purpose of ensuring proper attribution of works to their creators. When you submit a manuscript for review, you will be presented with the opportunity to register for ORCID. 

ACM Author-izer Service

Once your manuscript is published, we recommend that you use the 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:

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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