The annual Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages is a forum for the discussion of all aspects of programming languages and programming systems. Both theoretical and experimental papers are welcome on topics ranging from formal frameworks to experience reports. We seek submissions that make principled, enduring contributions to the theory, design, understanding, implementation or application of programming languages.

The symposium is sponsored by ACM SIGPLAN, in cooperation with ACM SIGACT and ACM SIGLOG.

POPL 2023 Call for Papers

PACMPL Issue POPL 2023 seeks contributions on all aspects of programming languages and programming systems, both theoretical and practical. Authors of papers published in PACMPL Issue POPL 2023 will be invited to present their work in the POPL conference in January 2023, which is sponsored by ACM SIGPLAN, in cooperation with ACM SIGACT and ACM SIGLOG.

Scope

Principles of Programming Languages (POPL) is a forum for the discussion of all aspects of programming languages and programming systems. Both theoretical and experimental papers are welcome, on topics ranging from formal frameworks to experience reports. We seek submissions that make principled, enduring contributions to the theory, design, understanding, implementation, or application of programming languages.

Evaluation Criteria

The Review Committee will evaluate the technical contribution of each submission as well as its accessibility to both experts and the general POPL audience. All papers will be judged on significance, originality, relevance, correctness, and clarity. Each paper must explain its scientific contribution in both general and technical terms, identifying what has been accomplished, explaining why it is significant, and comparing it with previous work. Advice on writing technical papers can be found on the SIGPLAN author information page.

Deadlines and formatting requirements, detailed below, will be strictly enforced.

Evaluation Process

NEW THIS YEAR: POPL 2023 will use a double-blind reviewing process (instead of the lightweight double-blind process used in recent years). This means that identities of authors will not be visible to reviewers until after conditional-acceptance decisions have been made. For authors, the main change is that there is no option to upload non-anonymized supplementary material; only anonymized supplementary material may be submitted.

Also new this year: POPL 2023 will have three Associate Chairs who will help the PC Chair monitor reviews, solicit external expert reviews for submissions when there is not enough expertise on the committee, and facilitate reviewer discussions.

As in previous years, authors will have a multi-day period to respond to reviews, as indicated in the Important Dates table. Responses are optional. A response must be concise, addressing specific points raised in the reviews; in particular, it must not introduce new technical results. Reviewers will write a short reaction to these author responses.

The Review Committee (RC) will discuss papers electronically and, new this year, also during two days of synchronous, face-to-face, virtual Review Committee meetings. There will be no physical RC meeting; this will avoid the time, cost, and environmental impact of transporting an increasingly large committee to one point on the globe. There is no formal External Review Committee, though experts outside the committee will be consulted. Reviews will be accompanied by a short summary of the reasons behind the committee’s decision with the goal of clarifying the reasons behind the decision.

To conform with ACM requirements for journal publication, all POPL papers will be conditionally accepted; authors will be required to submit a short description of the changes made to the final version of the paper, including how the changes address any requirements imposed by the Review Committee. That the changes are sufficient will be confirmed by the original reviewers prior to acceptance to POPL. Authors of conditionally accepted papers must submit a satisfactory revision to the Review Committee by the requested deadline or risk rejection.

For additional information about the reviewing process, see: Principles of POPL, a presentation of the underlying organizational and reviewing policies for POPL. For POPL 2023, policies specified in this Call for Papers supersede those in the Principles of POPL document.

Double-Blind Reviewing

POPL 2023 will use double-blind reviewing. This means that author names and affiliations must be omitted from the submission. Additionally, if the submission refers to prior work done by the authors, that reference should be made in third person. These are firm submission requirements. Any supplementary material must also be anonymized.

The FAQ on Double-Blind Reviewing clarifies the policy for the most common scenarios. But there are many gray areas and trade-offs. If you have any doubts about how to interpret the double-blind rules, please contact the Program Chair. Make sure to contact the Program Chair for complex cases that are not fully covered by the FAQ.

Submission Site Information

The submission site is https://popl23.hotcrp.com.

Authors can submit multiple times prior to the deadline. Only the last submission will be reviewed. There is no abstract deadline. The submission site requires entering author names and affiliations, relevant topics, and potential conflicts. Addition or removal of authors after the submission deadline will need to be approved by the Program Chair (as this kind of change potentially undermines the goal of eliminating conflicts during paper assignment).

The submission deadline is 11:59PM July 7, 2022 anywhere on earth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anywhere_on_Earth

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts should be declared between an adviser and an advisee (e.g., Ph.D., post-doc). Other conflicts include institutional conflicts, financial conflicts of interest, friends or relatives, or any recent co-authors on papers and proposals (last 2 years).

Please do not declare spurious conflicts: such incorrect conflicts are especially harmful if the aim is to exclude potential reviewers, so spurious conflicts can be grounds for rejection. If you are unsure about a conflict, please consult the Program Chair.

Submission Guidelines

The following two points should not be overlooked:

  • Conflicts: Each author of a submission has to log into the submission system and properly declare all potential conflicts of interest in the author profile form. A conflict caught late in the reviewing process leads to a voided review which may be infeasible to replace.
  • Anonymity: POPL 2023 will employ a double-blind reviewing process. Make sure that your submitted paper is fully anonymized.

Prior to the paper submission deadline, the authors will upload their full anonymized paper. Each paper should have no more than 25 pages of text, excluding bibliography, using the ACM Proceedings format. This format is chosen for compatibility with PACMPL. It is a single-column page layout with a 10 pt font, 12 pt line spacing, and wider margins than recent POPL page layouts. In this format, the main text block is 5.478 in (13.91 cm) wide and 7.884 in (20.03 cm) tall. Use of a different format (e.g., smaller fonts or a larger text block) is grounds for summary rejection. PACMPL templates for Microsoft Word and LaTeX can be found at the SIGPLAN author information page. In particular, authors using LaTeX should use the sample-acmsmall-conf.tex file (found in the samples folder of the acmart package) with the acmsmall option. We also strongly encourage the review and screen options. Submissions may use numeric citations, but final versions of accepted papers must use author-year format for citations. Submissions should be in PDF and printable on both US Letter and A4 paper. Papers may be resubmitted to the submission site multiple times up until the deadline, but the last version submitted before the deadline will be the version reviewed. Papers that exceed the length requirement, that deviate from the expected format, or that are submitted late will be rejected.

Submitted papers must adhere to the SIGPLAN Republication Policy and the ACM Policy on Plagiarism. Concurrent submissions to other conferences, workshops, journals, or similar forums of publication are not allowed.

POPL 2023 will employ a double-blind reviewing process. To facilitate this, submitted papers must adhere to two rules:

  1. author names and institutions must be omitted, and
  2. references to authors’ own related work should be in the third person (e.g., not “We build on our previous work …” but rather “We build on the work of …”).

The purpose of this process is to help the Review Committee and external reviewers come to a judgment about the paper without bias, not to make it impossible for them to discover the authors if they were to try. Nothing should be done in the name of anonymity that weakens the submission or makes the job of reviewing the paper more difficult. In particular, important background references should not be omitted or anonymized. In addition, authors may disseminate their ideas and post draft versions of their paper on their webpage, but should not take steps that would almost certainly reveal their identities to members of the Review Committee, e.g., directly contacting RC members or publicizing the work on social media or major mailing lists used by the community. The FAQ on Double-Blind Reviewing clarifies the policy for many common concerns.

The submission itself is the object of review, so it should strive to convince the reader of at least the plausibility of reported results. Still, we encourage authors to provide any supplementary material that is required to support the claims made in the paper, such as detailed proofs, proof scripts, or experimental data. These materials must be uploaded at submission time, as a single pdf or a tarball, not via a URL. All supplementary material should be anonymized. Reviewers are under no obligation to look at the supplementary material but may refer to it if they have questions about the material in the body of the paper.

Artifact Evaluation for Accepted Papers

Authors of conditionally accepted papers will be invited to formally submit supporting materials to the Artifact Evaluation process. Artifact Evaluation is run by a separate committee whose task is to assess how the artifacts support the work described in the papers. Artifact submission is strongly encouraged but voluntary and will not influence the final decision regarding the papers. Papers that go through the Artifact Evaluation process successfully will receive a seal of approval printed on the papers themselves. Authors of accepted papers are encouraged to make these materials publicly available upon publication of the proceedings, by including them as “source materials” in the ACM Digital Library.

Copyright, Publication, and Presentation

As a Gold Open Access journal, PACMPL is committed to making peer-reviewed scientific research free of restrictions on both access and (re-)use. Authors are strongly encouraged to support libre open access by licensing their work with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) license, which grants readers liberal (re-)use rights.

Authors of accepted papers will be required to choose one of the following publication rights:

  • Author licenses the work with a Creative Commons license, retains copyright, and (implicitly) grants ACM non-exclusive permission to publish (suggested choice).
  • Author retains copyright of the work and grants ACM a non-exclusive permission to publish license.
  • Author retains copyright of the work and grants ACM an exclusive permission to publish license.
  • Author transfers copyright of the work to ACM.

These choices follow from ACM Copyright Policy and ACM Author Rights, corresponding to ACM’s “author pays” option. While PACMPL may ask authors who have funding for open-access fees to voluntarily cover the article processing charge (currently, US$400), payment is not required for publication. PACMPL and SIGPLAN continue to explore the best models for funding open access, focusing on approaches that are sustainable in the long-term while reducing short-term risk.

All papers will be archived by the ACM Digital Library. Authors will have the option of including supplementary material with their paper. The official publication date is the date the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library. This date may be up to two weeks prior to the first day of the conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work.

Authors of accepted papers are required to give a short talk (roughly 25 minutes long) at the conference, according to the conference schedule.

Distinguished Paper Awards

At most 10% of the accepted papers of POPL 2023 will be designated as Distinguished Papers. This award highlights papers that the Review Committee thinks should be read by a broad audience due to their relevance, originality, significance, and clarity. The selection of the distinguished papers will be made based on the final version of the paper and through a second review process.

General

Q: Why are you using double-blind reviewing?

A: Studies have shown that a reviewer’s attitude toward a submission may be affected, even unconsciously, by the identity of the authors. We want reviewers to be able to approach each submission without any such, possibly involuntary, pre-judgment. Many computer science conferences have embraced double-blind reviewing. POPL has used lightweight double-blind reviewing for several years now as stipulated in the Principles of POPL.

Q: Do you really think blinding actually works? I suspect reviewers can often guess who the authors are anyway.

A: It is rare for authorship to be guessed correctly, even by expert reviewers, as detailed in this study.

Q: Couldn’t blind submission create an injustice where a paper is inappropriately rejected based upon supposedly-prior work which was actually by the same authors and not previously published?

A: Reviewers are held accountable for their positions and are required to identify any supposed prior work that they believe undermines the novelty of the paper. Any assertion that “this has been done before” by reviewers should be supported with concrete information. The author response mechanism exists in part to hold reviewers accountable for claims that may be incorrect.

For authors

Q: What exactly do I have to do to anonymize my paper?

A: Use common sense. Your job is not to make your identity undiscoverable but simply to make it possible for reviewers to evaluate your submission without having to know who you are. The specific guidelines stated in the call for papers are simple: omit authors’ names from your title page, and when you cite your own work, refer to it in the third person. For example, if your name is Smith and you have worked on amphibious type systems, instead of saying “We extend our earlier work on statically typed toads [Smith 2004],” you might say “We extend Smith’s [2004] earlier work on statically typed toads.” Also, be sure not to include any acknowledgements that would give away your identity. In general, you should aim to reduce the risk of accidental unblinding. For example, if your paper is the first to describe a system with a well-known name or codename, or you use a personally-identifiable naming convention for your work, then use a different name for your submission (which you may indicate has been changed for the purposes of double-blind reviewing). You should also avoid revealing the institutional affiliation of authors or at which the work was performed.

Q: I would like to provide supplementary material for consideration, e.g., the code of my implementation or proofs of theorems. How do I do this?

A (and also see the next question): On the submission site there will be an option to submit supplementary material along with your main paper. This supplementary material should also be anonymized; it may be viewed by reviewers during the review period, so it should adhere to the same double-blind guidelines. e discourage authors from providing supplementary materials via links to external web sites. It is possible to change the linked items after the submission deadline has passed, and, to be fair to all authors, we would like to be sure reviewers evaluate materials that have been completed prior to the submission deadline. Having said that, it is appropriate to link to items, such as an online demo, that can’t easily be submitted. Needless to say, attempting to discover the reviewers for your paper by tracking visitors to such a demo site would be a breach of academic integrity. Supplementary items such as PDFs should always be uploaded to HotCRP.

Q: My submission is based on code available in a public repository or I would like to provide a link to an online demo. How do I deal with this?

A: Making your code publicly available is not incompatible with double-blind reviewing. You should do the following. First, cite the code in your paper, but remove the actual URL and, instead say “link to repository removed for double-blind review” or similar. Second, if, when writing your author response, you believe reviewer access to your code would help, say so in your author response (without providing the URL), and send the URL to the Program Chair. The same policy applies if you wish to provide a link to an online demo that can’t easily be submitted as supplementary material.

Q: I am building on my own past work on the WizWoz system. Do I need to rename this system in my paper for purposes of anonymity, so as to remove the implied connection between my authorship of past work on this system and my present submission?

A: No. The relationship between systems and authors changes over time, so there will be at least some doubt about authorship. Increasing this doubt by changing the system name would help with anonymity, but it would compromise the research process. In particular, changing the name requires explaining a lot about the system again because you can’t just refer to the existing papers, which use the proper name. Not citing these papers runs the risk of the reviewers who know about the existing system thinking you are replicating earlier work. It is also confusing for the reviewers to read about the paper under Name X and then have the name be changed to Name Y. Will all the reviewers go and re-read the final version with the correct name? If not, they have the wrong name in their heads, which could be harmful in the long run.

Q: I am submitting a paper that extends my own work that previously appeared at a workshop. Should I anonymize any reference to that prior work?

A: No. But we recommend you do not use the same title for your POPL submission, so that it is clearly distinguished from the prior paper. In general, there is rarely a good reason to anonymize a citation. One possibility is for work that is tightly related to the present submission and is also under review. When in doubt, contact the Program Chair.

Q: Am I allowed to post my (non-blinded) paper on my web page? Can I advertise the unblinded version of my paper on mailing lists or send it to colleagues? Can I give a talk about my work while it is under review? How do I handle social media? What about arXiv?

A: We have developed guidelines, described here, to help everyone navigate in the same way the tension between the normal communication of scientific results, which double-blind reviewing should not impede, and actions that essentially force potential reviewers to learn the identity of the authors for a submission. Roughly speaking, you may (of course!) discuss work under submission, but you should not broadly advertise your work through media that is likely to reach your reviewers. We acknowledge there are gray areas and trade-offs; we cannot describe every possible scenario.

Things you may do:

  • Put your submission on your home page.
  • Discuss your work with anyone who is not on the review committees, or with people on the committees with whom you already have a conflict.
  • Present your work at professional meetings, job interviews, etc.
  • Submit work previously discussed at an informal workshop, previously posted on arXiv or a similar site, previously submitted to a conference not using double-blind reviewing, etc.

Things you should not do:

  • Contact members of the review committees about your work, or deliberately present your work where you expect them to be.
  • Publicize your work on major mailing lists used by the community (because potential reviewers likely read these lists).
  • Publicize your work on social media if wide public [re-]propagation is common (e.g., Twitter) and therefore likely to reach potential reviewers. For example, on Facebook, a post with a broad privacy setting (public or all friends) saying, “Whew, POPL paper in, time to sleep” is okay, but one describing the work or giving its title is not appropriate. Alternately, a post to a group including only the colleagues at your institution is fine. Reviewers will not be asked to recuse themselves from reviewing your paper unless they feel you have gone out of your way to advertise your authorship information to them. If you are unsure about what constitutes “going out of your way”, please contact the Program Chair.

Q: Will the fact that POPL is double-blind have an impact on handling conflicts-of-interest?

A: Double-blind reviewing does not change the principle that reviewers should not review papers with which they have a conflict of interest, even if they do not immediately know who the authors are. Authors declare conflicts of interest when submitting their papers using the guidelines in the call for papers. Papers will not be assigned to reviewers who have a conflict.

For reviewers

Q: What should I do if I learn the authors’ identity? What should I do if a prospective POPL author contacts me and asks to visit my institution?

A: If you feel that the authors’ actions are largely aimed at ensuring that potential reviewers know their identity, contact the Program Chair. Otherwise, you should not treat double-blind reviewing differently from other reviewing. In particular, refrain from seeking out information on the authors’ identity, but if you discover it accidentally this will not automatically disqualify you as a reviewer. Use your best judgment.

Q: The authors have provided a URL to supplemental material. I would like to see the material but I worry they will snoop my IP address and learn my identity. What should I do?

A: Contact the Program Chair, who will download the material on your behalf and make it available to you.

Q: If I am assigned a paper for which I feel I am not an expert, how do I seek an outside review?

A: PC members should do their own reviews, not delegate them to someone else. If doing so is problematic for some papers, e.g., you don’t feel completely qualified, then consider the following options. First, submit a review for your paper that is as careful as possible, outlining areas where you think your knowledge is lacking. Assuming we have sufficient expert reviews, that could be the end of it: non-expert reviews are valuable too, since conference attendees are by-and-large not experts for any given paper. Second, work with the PC Chair and/or Associate Chairs, who will check for conflicts and then solicit an external review if additional expertise is needed. Please do not contact outside reviewers yourself. As a last resort, if you feel like your review would be extremely uninformed and you’d rather not even submit a first cut, contact the Program Chair.

Q: How do we handle potential conflicts of interest since I cannot see the author names?

A: The conference review system will ask that you identify conflicts of interest when you get an account on the submission system. It is critical that you enter these at least a week before the POPL submission deadline. Feel free to also identify additional authors whose papers you feel you could not review fairly for reasons other than those given (e.g., strong personal friendship).

Q: How should I avoid learning the authors’ identity if I am using web-search in the process of performing my review?

A: You should make a good-faith effort not to find the authors’ identity during the review period, but if you inadvertently do so, this does not disqualify you from reviewing the paper. As part of the good-faith effort, do not use search engines with terms like the paper’s title or the name of a new system being discussed.


These guidelines are largely based on guidelines for PLDI 2020, with slight modifications by Amal Ahmed based on the guidelines for POPL 2019. Both of those are an evolution of guidelines originally created by Michael Hicks for POPL 2012.