Phase 1: Before the call for papers
Roughly nine months before the conference, the call for papers will be
prepared. This is a shared responsibility of the entire organizing
committee. You will have to pay attention to the following points:
- Make sure the camera-ready deadlines are early enough that you can
do your job.
- long papers: 9-10 weeks before the conference
- short papers, all workshops: at least 6 weeks before the
- Decide on a deadline by which you want all the books in hand from
the book chairs – at the latest, four weeks before the
conference. Make sure you plan for enough time to make the book
chairs fix problems with their books; note that this may involve
them making authors fix problems with their papers.
- You need to upload the versions of the Latex and Word style files
that you want to use by the time the CFP goes out. You can take the
style files and author instructions from earlier years as a starting
- If you want to make major changes to the publication process, it
will be useful to discuss these with the other organizers before the
CFP. For instance, if you want to make a major change to the style
file, or change the way in which the proceedings are published.
Phase 2: Before the camera-ready deadline
The time before the camera-ready deadline is relatively quiet for
you. You can
sharpen your axe
in the following ways:
- If you have specific instructions for preparing the camera-ready
papers, be sure to get in touch with the program chairs well before
the acceptance decisions so they can include them in their emails to
- Don’t forget to ask program chairs to put a field for uploading
latex sources. It is also nice to put fields for uploading
supplementary materials, which can be included in the online
- Once the workshops have been selected, obtain ISBN numbers for the
main conference and all the other books from Priscilla and Anthology
identifiers from the Anthology editor. We usually follow the
practice that each book gets its own ISBN and its own Anthology
identifier; the long papers and short papers volumes of the main
conference count as two different books.
- Also set up a mailing list where you can reach all the book chairs,
and send them a welcome email where you explain what will be
expected of them in terms of book preparation.
- Enter the metadata for your own books as well as all the other books
in the START system.
- Recruit helpers for the paper-checking process if you like. This is
a job that a PhD student could do to gain a bit of credit for their
CV, or an undergraduate student could do for a bit of money. You
will spend at least 100 hours checking papers and communicating with
authors, so recruiting two students is not too much. These helpers
should be on the publication chair mailing list, and they need
manager access to the START system to do their job. Get in touch
with the ACL treasurer; in principle, you can get a bit of money for
- Get a test site in the START system and try out the publication
process on some demo papers.
Phase 3: Before the conference
The time between the camera-ready deadline and the conference is when
the majority of the publication chair’s work happens. This falls into
two major categories.
Preparation of the main conference volumes
- Go through every single long and short paper for the main conference
and make sure it conforms to the style rules.
Coordinate with the authors so they make all the necessary
changes. You should only edit their papers in extremely rare,
exceptional cases. The authors will not be able to upload papers after the
CR deadline, but they can email you the papers (plus supplementary
material) and you can do the upload.
- Make sure that all people on your team know what the status of each
paper is at any given point. A shared Google spreadsheet helps for
this. Also take note of style decisions that go beyond the official
style guide, document them for your own team, and consider amending
the style rules on this website
after the conference.
- You should occasionally generate the proceedings volume
in ACLPUB to see whether it still compiles. See the link for advice
on what to do if it doesn’t.
- The program chairs are responsible for preparing the schedule
for the long papers, short papers, and TACL papers that are
presented at the conference. They do this by editing the order file
for each of these three sites in the START system. ACLPUB will
produce a separate program.html file for each of the three
sites. You or the program chair should consider unifying the three
schedules into a single HTML file once the schedule has stabilized.
- Prepare the frontmatter. You have to collect all the contents of
the frontmatter from relevant people, and compile them in the final
proceedings. See ACLPUB for
details of putting them in the proceedings. At least you will need
- Cover page (including the cover image from the local chair)
- Sponsor logos (from the local chair)
- Prefaces (from the general chair and the program chairs)
- List of organizing committee members (from the general chair and
the local chairs)
- List of program committee members (from the program chairs)
- Abstracts of invited talks (from the program chairs)
Managing the books from the book chairs
- Go through each book that comes from the book chairs with a
fine-toothed comb and check that they all conform to the style
guidelines. If they do not, get in touch with the book chair and
ask them to fix the problem. You should only edit their book in
extremely rare, exceptional cases.
- The START system manages the schedule of each event in an
order file, which lists all the
talks along with their times. ACLPUB uses the order file to generate
the schedule in book.pdf and program.html. The order files are also
used by the local chairs when they prepare the conference
handbook. You should impress it upon the book chairs as early as
possible that they need to produce well-formed order files to
simplify the local chairs’ job.
- When you check the books, you need to look not only at the book.pdf
which they sent you, but at the complete proceedings volume.
In particular, it is easy to confuse ACLPUB into not producing
proper Bibtex by entering the wrong metadata. Open their index.html
in your browser and check that you can click through to their
papers and the associated Bibtex entries.
- Typical mistakes that book chairs make are:
- overlooked that some papers are in Letter style when the
proceedings are all in A4, or vice versa
- copyright stamp on the first page of each paper does not have the
right name for the workshop, or the wrong date or location
- copyright stamp is not positioned correctly on the page
- cover page does not list the name and location of the workshop
- Bibtex entries are not generated correctly, or at all (this is
usually because the “Bibtex URL” field in the CDROM metadata was
Submitting the proceedings
As a general rule, the complete and finished proceedings should be
available online and in the Anthology at least a week before the
- Try to have all the books together 1-2 weeks before the
conference. At the very end, you will be waiting for the prefaces
from the General Chair and the Program Chairs, the abstracts from
the invited speakers, the sponsor logos (from the local chairs), and
the artwork for the cover page (from the local chairs). The earlier
you can get people to send these to you, the better.
- The program chairs will be tempted to make last-minute changes to
the schedule. Agree with them
on a deadline after which schedule changes will no longer be
reflected in the proceedings. (The local chairs can still edit the
HTML schedule on the local website by hand.)
- When you have well-formed versions of all books, you need to collect
them all together into a single download, which the local chairs can
put on the local website, and the Anthology editor can put in the
Anthology. This is described in more detail on the CD-ROM
- Nowadays, we are distributing the ACL proceedings purely in
electronic form. It is a good idea to offer a ZIP file of the entire
proceedings (including all books) as a download on the conference
website, so conference participants can download them before their
trip. This avoids bringing the conference wi-fi to its knees. You
should therefore prepare such a ZIP file and have it uploaded to the
local website, and perhaps have the local chairs email all
participants about it.
Collecting copyright transfer agreement
Program chairs are also responsible for collecting copyright transfer
agreement from all of the authors of main conferences and related
events including workshops, tutorials, etc. In principle, the
submission site has an online form to sign up for agreement, and what
you have to do is to check whether authors correctly input their names
in the form. However, some authors might have a problem with the
agreement form of ACL, and in this case you have to contact the
authors directly and solve the issue.
For details, see Copyright.
Phase 4: After the conference
If you go to the conference, enjoy it: Your work is done. Once you
have recovered from the publication process, please consider editing
this website to keep it up-to-date with the latest technological and
organizational developments, and add your own advice.