How to Serve as Publications Chair for an ACL Conference

by Joakim Nivre and Noah Smith (2008)

Based on our recent experience as publications co-chairs for ACL-08: HLT, we have tried to put together what we hope will be useful hints for future publications chairs for ACL conferences. After a short introduction on the responsibilities of the publications chair, the organization is roughly chronological with sections corresponding to what we take to be the major milestones of the process leading up to the conference. The information in this document is meant to be a complement to the ACL Conference Handbook and the documentation of the ACLPUB package (where it will also be included).

We are grateful to previous publications chairs who have shared their experience with us, in particular Jason Eisner, Eric Ringger, and Su Jian. In putting together this web page we were also inspired by Jason Eisner's How to Chair a Conference.

Responsibilities of the Publications Chair

The publications chair (or pub chair, for short) is responsible for producing the entire proceedings of the conference, including the main conference proceedings, companion volume(s), and workshop proceedings. Most of these volumes are actually edited by a separate book chair, responsible for the corresponding event (workshop, demo session, etc.), but the pub chair is responsible for coordinating the whole process. In addition, the pub chair is normally the book chair for at least the main conference proceedings and companion volume.

The conference proceedings are produced in three forms:

The pub chair must therefore also handle contacts with the printer, who produces both hardcopy and CD-ROM, and with the ACL Anthology officer (currently Min-Yen Kan).

NB: The pub chair is not responsible for printed matter other than the conference proceedings, such as the conference brochure and (normally) tutorial notes.


Although the most intensive work period occurs rather close to the conference, after the submission of camera-ready papers, there are a number of things that have to be done earlier and that, if done right, can facilitate the work later on. In order to group the tasks chronologically we distinguish the following five milestones (with rough indications of the time-frame relative to the start of the conference):

In the following sections, we describe the work to be done before each of the milestones.

First call for papers

Notification of acceptance

Camera-ready papers due

Delivery to the printer

Start of the conference