Publication Ethics

ToSC commits to ensuring ethics and quality in research. We therefore expect everyone involved in the journal (editors, authors and reviewers) to follow our principles (see below) and ethics. Our expectations on duties for them are (see IACR docs here and here):

Duties for Authors

  • Confidentiality

    You may not ask reviewers and members of the editorial board for information about your submission before the editorial board decisions are made; nor may you ask for information about discussions after the event (except, perhaps, for asking on general advice about a re-submission). In all cases, any questions must be addressed to the editors in chief rather than to individual members of the editorial board.

  • Conflicts of Interest

    Your papers will not be reviewed by reviewers who have a conflict of interest with at least one author of the submission. When submitting your article for review, you have to list any conflict of interest you are aware of. See here for detailed definition of conflicts of interest.

  • Competing Interests

    We strive at full transparency and therefore authors are requested to explicitly disclose interests that are related to the work submitted for publication. Such interests could include the following, but are certainly not limited to those: funding, employment, financial interests, and non-financial interests. Those interests could be based in particular on the circumstances described in detail in the IACR guidelines for conflicts of interest but are not limited to conflicts of interest during the review process.
    If applicable, any such interests must be declared in a statement to the editors in chief upon submission of the work. This has to be done using the corresponding field for messages to the chairs in the submission server. This procedure will on the one hand ensure that the interests can be correctly declared and handled already during submission and on the second hand that anonymity is preserved in the review process.
    In case of the work being accepted and finally published, if applicable, the statement disclosing competing interests, including funding, must be added to the publication in a dedicated declaration section. As such, disclosure of interests provides a complete and transparent process and helps readers forming their own judgements of potential bias.

  • Attendance

    Authors with a published article in ToSC are expected to present their work at the corresponding FSE conference. Only in exceptional circumstances will a replacement speaker be accepted by the program chair. Repeat offenders will be reported to the IACR Ethics Committee.

  • Anonymity

    No author names appear on a submission, and no funding information or identifying information should appear within the document. It is however acceptable to post full versions of your work on the Cryptology ePrint Achive, give presentations of your work etc.

    Exception: Special Issues, such as the past issue on the NIST lightweight standardization process, may have a different rule.

  • Irregular Submissions

    You should be aware of the IACR policy on irregular submissions. Irregular submissions typically fall in two categories:

    • Parallel submissions:

      A parallel submission occurs when authors submit essentially the same material to one or more other publication venues with overlapping reviewing periods.

    • Plagiarism:

      Plagiarism arises when substantial parts of existing publications are copied and submitted, virtually unchanged, without the addition of new material, and without proper attribution of the source, by other “author(s).”

    Such submissions will be rejected when detected; and a report will be made to the IACR Ethics Committee. Authors should be aware that most security conferences share information in relation to parallel submissions, and that plagiarism is now easily detected using online tools. Action may be taken against authors who conduct such unethical behavior.

    The IACR recognizes that some work may not fit into a standard conference format. We therefore encourage, where it makes sense, for authors to submit two “related” works to a conference, workshop or journal. If this is done the author should explicitly contact the editors in chief about this submission, as special referee assignments may be needed. The authors should be aware that the two works should be able to stand alone, and the outcome may be two, one or none of the papers are accepted

  • Sticky Reviews

    IACR acknowledges that the process of submitting a rejected paper from one venue to another can lead to disparity of reviewing opinions and to additional workload for reviewers. Thus IACR encourages authors to include in their Supplementary Material (or appendix) responses to reviews from previous IACR events.

    Note that the referee’s of the new paper will not have access to the old version, or the referee’s reports, thus your comments should be understandable without these items. Including comments to say you have addressed a referee comment helps if a referee who is seeing your paper for the second time, by enabling them to concentrate on whether you have made the changes suggested.

    This also applies to revised submissions to ToSC.

For further information, see the official IACR doc for authors.

Duties for Reviewers

  • Confidentiality

    You must hold any information on the assigned submission in confidence. You cannot disclose information about the authors, the content of submissions, other reviews, or discussions in the editorial board to anyone else not in this role. In order to obtain independent opinions about a submission, do not discuss the submission with other reviewers before writing your review. This applies when you are a reviewer for a journal as well as when you are a member of the editorial board during the initial individual reviewing phase.

  • Conflicts of Interest

    You should not review a submission if you have a conflict of interest with at least one author of the submission. See here for detailed definition of conflict of interests.

  • Anonymity

    Submissions to ToSC are anonymous thus no author names appear on a submission. Naturally, you may be aware of the authors through other means; but you should not take any extra action just for discovering the authors of a submission. Note that in exceptional cases, such as special issues, there might be non-anonymous submissions.

  • Review Content

    You should judge a submission foremost on its overall quality and merit as a scientific publication. You should give a clear justification for your recommendation. You should not use rude, derogatory, or unhelpful language in a review.

  • Irregular Submissions

    Irregular submissions typically fall in two categories:

    • Parallel submissions:

      A parallel submission occurs when authors submit essentially the same material to one or more other publication venues with overlapping reviewing periods.

    • Plagiarism:

      Plagiarism arises when substantial parts of existing publications are copied and submitted, virtually unchanged, without the addition of new material, and without proper attribution of the source, by other “author(s).”

    If you believe that you have identified an irregular submission, contact the editor, PC member, or Program Chair that assigned the submission to you. Do not take any action on your own.

For further information, see the official IACR doc for reviewers.

Duties for Editors

Members of the editorial board are in general expected to review the articles themselves, rather than delegate them to additional reviewers. However, editorial board members may suggest the names of additional reviewers with expertise specifically relevant to a submission, who can provide reviews instead. In addition, members of the editorial board are expected to actively participate in the online discussion among reviewers in order to reach a final decision of accept/revise/reject for each of the submissions.

  • Follow IACR policies

    When making decisions (for accepting, rejecting, responding to malpractice), editors have to follow general IACR policies.

  • Confidentiality and Anonymity

    As a reviewer, editors must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone, with exception of the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher; in any case, the double-blind review process must be kept, thus editors must not break anonymity between authors and reviewers. Editors must not use unpublished information in their own research without properly citing corresponding work.

  • Allegations of Misconduct

    Editors should take allegations of misconduct seriously and take reasonably responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper.

Editors as Authors

As explained in the duties for editors, ToSC has a rather large editorial board as we expect editors to review the majority of the submissions without inviting additional reviewers. Having a large editorial board naturally increases the number of submissions from editorial board members. For those submissions, special rules apply. Members of the editorial board, resp., editors in chiefs are allowed to submit four, resp., two articles per year, not including resubmissions of articles that received a revision decision. A submission by a member of the editorial board or by an editor in chief will be assigned to 4-5 reviewers, instead of 3-4 reviewers in case of articles not authored by editors. The double-blind review process still holds for submissions authored by editors. In particular, an editor will be in conflict with their own submission and neither be able to see any discussion within the editorial board about their article at any time, nor see which editors and reviewers participate in the review process.

Publication Principles

The above points aim to provide a transparent publication process for ToSC and to follow an ethical publication practice. In particular, the IACR place importance on the following points, see also COPE Core Principles:

  • Take allegations of misconduct seriously and provide a clear process to handle such allegations

    If you found anything which objects our stated aims of ethical and quality publications please do not hesitate to contact us: we will investigate the issue and try to solve it as quick as possible.

    If the journal management is the target of your objection or you think we have any conflict of interest with your objection, you can instead contact the IACR board as an independent third party.

  • Provide a clear policy for the author- and contributorship

    Authors of articles accepted for publication in ToSC have to be natural persons and have to have contributed to the published work.

  • Offer a clear process to handle complaints against the journal, our staff or the publisher

    In case you want to complain about anything related to our journal, staff or the publisher, feel free to contact us, or in case of conflicts with your complaint contact the IACR board as an independent third party. We ensure to take any complains seriously and to do the best to solve complaints as quickly as possible.

  • Clearly define and handle Conflict of Interests/Competing Interests

    Authors, program committee members, and reviewers must follow the new IACR Policy on Conflicts of Interest. Please see the call for papers for more information.

  • Data and Reproducibility statement

    In order to allow reproducibility of results, we strongly encourage authors to share experimental data, implemented source code or otherwise important data. Failure to do so might result in the rejection of the submitted work.

  • Ethical Aspects

    When applicable, we expect authors to follow a responsible disclosure process. Additionally, everyone involved in the journal has to follow the publication ethics, see below.

  • Intellectual Property, Copyright and Publication licenses

    Articles are published with Gold Open Access, see FAQ "Under which license are articles published?".

  • Journal Management

    The journal is operated without fees for authors or readers in order to support the open access initiative of the IACR and Ruhr University Bochum and the non-profit goals of the IACR.

    For publication and journal management, we use the Open Journal System (OJS), developed by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP).

  • Peer Review Process

    Submitted articles are double-blind peer-reviewed.

    If a reviewer comes across problems during reviewing a submission that seems unsolvable without a third opinion, we expect that the editors in chief are consulted.

  • Post-Publication Discussion and Corrections

    In case you find an error in a published article we would be happy if you let us know by writing to the editorial staff. We will thoroughly examine any such information and if appropriate publish an errata for the corresponding issue.