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The call for papers formerly known as ICFP

2018 will be my third and final year serving as the publicity chair for ICFP, the International Conference on Functional Programming. So, not too long ago, I sent out the call for papers for PACMPL issue ICFP 2018.

Wait, what?

Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages, or PACMPL, is the ACM’s new open-access journal for “research on all aspects of programming languages, from design to implementation and from mathematical formalisms to empirical studies”. So far, each issue publishes exactly the papers from one annual ACM PL conference: POPL, ICFP, and OOPSLA. (The fourth major ACM PL conference, PLDI, chose not to participate.) This means that there will be three issues of the journal each year, named “issue POPL”, “issue ICFP”, and “issue OOPSLA”.

So, what would have at one time been called the call for papers for ICFP 2018 is now officially known as the call for papers for PACMPL issue ICFP 2018. Because “PACMPL” has much less name recognition in our community than “ICFP”, I imagine a lot of people don’t realize it exists yet and are at risk of being confused by this. So, to alleviate confusion: the ICFP conference is still the ICFP conference, same as always, but now ICFP papers are being published in a journal rather than as a conference proceedings.

In fact, this was already the case for ICFP 2017, the papers from which were published in the first-ever issue of PACMPL: Volume 1, Issue ICFP. So 2018 will work more or less like 2017 did, but we’ve updated the call for papers to reflect that the papers in question will go into a journal.

Why does this matter? Who cares if papers are published in a journal or a conference? As Phil Wadler explained a while back:

Programming languages are unusual in a heavy reliance on conferences over journals. In many universities and to many national funding bodies, journal publications are the only ones that count. Other fields within computing are sorting this out by moving to journals; we should too.

The best thing about PACMPL is that it’s open access, and therefore all POPL, ICFP, and OOPSLA papers published in it are freely available. Tell your friends!

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