Report of Publications Co-Chairs ACL 2004

The ACL Executive Committee urgently needs to address the question of
publications for ACL-sponsored conferences.  There are two issues for the
ACL Exec; we also list some recommendations for future publications chairs.


The copyright situation is a mess.  Many issues are currently unclear: Can
the copyright form be submitted by fax?  Can authors substitute a form
devised by their employer?  What happens if the form is not present in
time?  The ACL Executive Committee must gain a clear understanding of the
legal issues, formulate a policy, and define a procedure that implements
the policy.  The policy and the procedure must be spelled out explicitly in
the Conference Handbook.  The policy must be published or referred to with
the Call for Papers.

Clarifying this issue will either involve (blindly) adopting the approach
taken at a sister association, or consulting an intellectual property


We acknowledge the tremendous effort that previous publications chairs have
put into devising scripts for helping in compiling the proceedings.  The
ACL Executive Committee needs to hire a programmer to compile all scripts,
style files, etc.; test them; document them fully (including code
documentation); make sure versions for A4 and letter are available; and
then make them available for download in the Conference Handbook.

A significantly better alternative to hiring a programmer would be to
professionalize the entire publications procedure, as is done by other


Publication is moving to an all-electronic format, with printing only
happening at the printer.  We recommend to future publications chairs to
establish precise guidelines for authors on how to prepare the final files
to be sent to the printer.  Especially authors not using latex should be
very careful at the time of preparing their PDFs and make sure that ALL
fonts are included in the final file in order to avoid printing problems.
Authors using Word must be responsible for making sure their files are

We also recommend that future publications chairs ask the workshop chairs
to clearly label their files, for example prefixing file names with two
digits that indicate the order in which the files have to be printed.

Of course, if the ACL Executive Committee follows our recommendation and
professionalizes the publications process, then these recommendations will
be moot.

Sergio Balari & Owen Rambow
ACL 2004 Publications Co-Chairs