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About the Journal

Welcome to the TACL submission site!

Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics (TACL) is an ACL-sponsored journal published by MIT Press that publishes papers in all areas of computational linguistics and natural language processing. TACL has the following features:

  • TACL publishes conference-length papers, but has a journal-style reviewing process (for example, the option for an action editor to recommend the “revise and resubmit” category for a paper).
  • Papers appearing at TACL are eligible for a presentation at certain ACL-sponsored conferences. Thus the model combines the benefits of a journal, with the benefits of being able to present the work at a major conference. (Presentation is optional; authors do not have to present their papers at the conference).
  • TACL accepts submissions all year (the 1st day of each month is a submission deadline).
  • TACL is committed to fast-turnaround reviewing.
Links: Information for authors, including submission instructionsreview processannual reports (includes journal statistics presented to the ACL); publication ethics statement.

Peer Review Process

Editorial Structure

TACL has a standing committee of action editors. Roughly speaking, an action editor corresponds to an area chair at a regular conference. Terms for action editors are two years in length, and are renewable. Each paper submission is assigned to an action editor, who then handles the entire reviewing process for the paper. The action editor makes the final acceptance decision on papers. Our expectation is that each action editor will handle at most 12 papers in a single calendar year.

In addition, TACL has a standing committee of reviewers. Having a standing committee of reviewers should significantly decrease time spent in recruiting reviewers for a particular paper; this can often be a significant bottleneck.  Reviewers will have at most 1 paper to review at any one time. Reviews will be due 3 weeks after a reviewing request has been made.

Reviewing Procedure

There is a deadline on the 1st of each month for paper submission. More precise information about deadline timings are given in the Author Guidelines.

At the beginning of each month's round, 

  • The editors-in-chief assign each paper to an action editor, taking expertise and load-balancing issues into account [timeline: 7 days]
  • The action editor picks three reviewers for the paper. [timeline: 7 days]
  • There is a 3 week deadline for reviewing of the paper. This is expected to be a strict deadline, similar to conference reviewing deadlines.
  • On receiving the three reviews, the action editor makes 1 of 4 decisions for the paper: (a) Acceptance for publication as is, with encouragement to make minor revisions. (b) Acceptance for publication subject to specified revisions within two months. (c) Rejection with encouragement to revise and resubmit within 3-6 months. (d) Rejection with no possibility of resubmission within a moratorium period of one year. [timeline: 7 days]
  • Where necessary, the resubmission of a paper under option (b) above goes back to the same 3 reviewers for second round review. In this case second round reviews again have a 3-week deadline. Under option (c), the paper may or may not be reviewed by the same reviewers or action editor.

We unfortunately cannot guarantee that the timeline guidance given in the items above will be met for every submission.

Post-acceptance procedures and timelines can be found at the post-acceptance instructions page.

Anonymity Policies

Paper submissions must be anonymized (see the submission information). Reviewing will be double blind (reviewers will not know the identity of authors, and authors will not know the identity of the reviewers).

Action editors are non-anonymous: both the reviewers of a paper, and the authors of the paper, will know the identity of the action editor handling the paper.

Publication Frequency

TACL has one volume per year.  Individual papers are published as soon as they are ready.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

TACL imposes neither author processing charges or nor submission charges.  (Hence, the waiver policy is that submission to and publication in TACL are already free for all authors.)

Publication Ethics Statement

Last updated July 4, 2019.

The Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics (TACL) adopts the following policies, which are adapted from the standard guidelines for MIT Press journals[1]  and Now Publishers journals[2].

Authors.  The corresponding author is responsible for the appropriateness and completeness of the authorship list, for certifying the article’s originality as described below, and for securing the agreement of all authors to the journal’s open access and ethics policies.

Originality.  All articles must represent original work: when submitted, the submission must not have been previously published, and the material in it must not have been under review by another journal or conference;  further, it must be that no material in it was or is submitted for review at another conference or journal while under review by TACL. 

For each submission, the submitting author must affirm the following: “The submission does not contain any instances of research fabrication or plagiarism --- the use of the ideas or language of others without attribution. Note that rephrasing the language or wording of others without acknowledgment of the original source is still plagiarism, that is, plagiarism extends beyond word-for-word copying.”

Reviewers and editors.  All such parties, including the Editors-in-Chief (EiCs), must keep submissions confidential except for the purposes of investigating possible misconduct (such as plagiarism) or checking compliance with TACL's policies barring resubmissions from other conferences  or with other organizations' multiple submission polices.  They must also prevent or undo assignment to submissions with which they have a conflict of interest (COI, defined below) by reporting the COI to the person assigning them to the submission and/or to the (other) EiCs.  Knowledge of or guesses as to author identity must not influence judgment of a submission’s merit.

Conflicts of Interest (COIs).  TACL uses the definition of COI set forth by the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL),[3] namely, a person has a COI with a submitted paper if that person:  (1) is a co-author of the paper; or (2) has been a student or supervisor of one of the authors in the previous five years; or (3) has co-authored a paper or collaborated with one of the authors in the previous five years; or (4) is employed at the same company or institution as an author; or (5) has any other circumstances that could cause a bias in evaluating the paper. 

Regarding submissions by co-editors-in-chief, the ACL resolved the following on October 16, 2012:

The [EiCs] of any ACL journal may submit to that journal, but in such cases the submitted paper will be handled by a third party. The same procedure will be followed for any papers submitted by those who work in the [EiC]'s laboratory, or who are otherwise closely associated with the [EiC] in such a way that a conflict of interest might arise or be perceived. For the purposes of this proposal, the third party handling the submitted paper will generally be one of the other [EiCs] ... in the case of TACL, the panel of editors consists of the ... editors-in-chief. In any circumstances agreed [upon] as exceptional by the relevant panel of editors, some other party may be asked to handle the submitted paper; the guiding principle is that there should be no perceived conflict of interest.

We supplement this ACL policy by additionally outlining the following procedures explicitly. In order to maintain the confidentiality required for double blind reviewing, all papers with editor co-authors will be handled outside of the standard reviewing system, in addition to being handled by one of the other editors. If an editor is not a co-author but has a conflict-of-interest with one or more of a paper's co-authors, then the paper will be handled by another editor, but using the standard reviewing system, since double-blind reviewing is maintained in such a case. All editorial decision making in any of these cases will be made independently of the EiC with the conflict-of-interest. Finally, in order to maintain the feasibility of having other EiCs with no conflicts-of-interest, EiCs are strongly discouraged from co-authoring papers with each other during their time as co-editors.

Author, reviewer, or editor misconduct.  Allegations should be sent to the Editors-in-Chief (, except that if the allegations concern an EiC, the allegations may be sent either to the aforementioned email address or directly to the personal emails of the non-accused subset of the EiCs. 

To handle an allegation or discovery of misconduct, TACL follows the Committee on Publishing Ethics’s (COPE) guidelines listed below. According to these guidelines, a determination of misconduct may result in TACL contacting the author institutions, funding agencies, and/or potential victims.

 Plagiarism or redundant (duplicate) publication:

Research Fraud:

Reviewer or editor misconduct during the review process:  

Other ethical problems: 


Retractions.  TACL follows the guidelines for retracting articles  by E. Wager, V. Barbour, S. Yentis, and S. Kleinert on behalf of COPE Council, (version 1, dated September 2009). In the event that TACL retracts a publication (for clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either because of misconduct or honest error;  or have been plagiarized or previously published; or report unethical research), a Notice of Retraction will be attached to all versions of the article on the journal website and related bibliographic databases.

Corrections. As of June 2019, corrections (either due to author or journal error) will result in an Erratum statement which will have its own DOI, and be attached to the version(s) of the article being corrected. A corrected version of the article will be provided with an indication that it is a corrected version.                                 

[3], downloaded June 14, 2019.  Policy last edit date September 2016.

[4] Although the title of the guidelines suggests that they address only the particular problem of appropriation, the procedures apply more broadly.

Journal History

Reports submitted to the ACL. They include various timing and acceptance statistics.