This has been a signal year for all involved in Computing Reviews. In 2002, CR became an “online first” publication in the sense that the content of each issue appears initially online—published, in fact, item by item. Each day, readers can look at www.computingreviews.com and see new content. Or, if preferred, they can use the email alerting system to construct a custom alert profile. While many mainstream scholarly journals have counterparts online, the majority of them have not yet redesigned their workflow to publish online first, making the paper version derived from the online database.
CR now has a very effective back-end system. It enables the management of reviewer information, provides reviewers with a complete editing module, offers editorial board members special features with which to conduct their work, and finally allows interchange between the CR online system and ACM’s Online Guide to Computing Literature. Bruce Antelman and his staff at Reviews.com have met their goals in making the various modules available on schedule.
Our Category Editors are absolutely key to the further development of CR. Several transitions have taken place among them in the past year: Ming Lin (Graphics) stepped down; Jim French (Information Systems) took a post at NSF; Joel Seiferas (Theory) rotated off. We are pleased to welcome Paul Cull, professor at Oregon State University and long-time reviewer, to our board in the Theory area. Carol Wierzbicki, Executive Editor, is filling in as needed while we recruit other members.
In conversation with Dr. Cull recently, I asked what he thought was the single most needed improvement for CR. His response was “for such a big field as computing, it needs to get a lot bigger.” We all agree with that, and the general feedback from our readership is along the same lines. Plans call for CR to grow in parallel with the effort Bernard Rous is leading to “grow the Online Guide” for ACM’s Portal. Various members of the editorial team, including myself, are ensuring that those additions to the Online Guide have a focus appropriate to computer science. Bibliographic data from the Portal is pulled in at Reviews.com for the items sent for review. Already, CR is able to use data on some 60,000 computing books from the ACM Portal. We can also look forward to greater use of electronic versions of articles from publishers other than ACM to expedite getting the item to the reviewer. Presently, the article is typically mailed to the reviewer.
In 2002, CR published 727 reviews. Over 50% of those were reviews of journal articles as opposed to books, which is a better balance for a journal-driven field. The subject distribution across the CCS nodes is similar to prior years: Software, 25%; Computing Methodologies, 16%; Information Systems, 14%; Systems Organization, 13%; Computing Milieux, 11%; Theory, 8%; Mathematics of Computing, 6%; Computer Applications, 4%; Data, 2%; Hardware, 1%; General, less than 1%.
How much bigger will CR be this time next year? I won’t predict. We would be delighted if it were twice what it was this year. That said, it is also clear that we will not divert our attention from quality, whether in system performance, or in selecting, screening, and coaching reviewers so that we have the best possible reviews. You, our readers, will turn to CR with confidence if the reviews are well written and timely.
In closing, my personal thanks go to all present and former CR staff for the patient and welcoming education I received as I began my involvement with this endeavor. Best wishes to all in the coming year.
Editor in Chief