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PL Perspectives

Perspectives on computing and technology from and for those with an interest in programming languages.

This post was jointly-authored by the PLDI Steering Committee.

In June, the PLDI Steering Committee issued a survey to the broad Programming Languages community, and to recent PLDI authors in particular, on whether PLDI should align with a number of other SIGPLAN conferences (POPL, OOPSLA and ICFP) and publish its proceedings in the Proceedings of the ACM Programming Languages (PACMPL) journal.

The response was overwhelmingly in favor of this change, including when considering only responses of recent PLDI authors. Informed by the survey results, the PLDI Steering Committee voted in favor of applying to the ACM Publications Board for PLDI to become part of the collection of conferences that publish their proceedings in PACMPL. The board has now approved this application, and PLDI will henceforth publish its proceedings as an issue of PACMPL, starting with PLDI 2023.

What this means for PLDI authors in practice

Formatting: The main change for authors is that PLDI submissions will use the PACMPL single-column style. We know that some authors will be delighted about this, and that others will miss PLDI’s double-column format! On our TODO list is to work out a suitably space-preserving page limit.

Review process: PLDI already featured a two-phase review process that maps neatly onto PACMPL’s requirements for two rounds of reviews, so there are no PACMPL-related changes here.

Identity: PLDI papers will be published in a dedicated annual issue of PACMPL, with PLDI as the issue name. This means that PLDI papers are still PLDI papers!

The conference itself: PLDI’s move to PACMPL is entirely related to how the proceedings are published. Presentations on all accepted papers will be delivered at the conference in the usual way.

Overview of survey results

The survey on whether PLDI should join PACMPL received 326 responses. Respondents self-identified their career type as follows:

  • Academics: 281
  • Practitioners: 30
  • Other: 15

The overall results for the main question, “Are you in favor of PLDI publishing its proceedings in the PACM-PL journal?” were as follows:

  • Yes: 272 (83.4%)
  • No: 43 (13.2%)
  • I am undecided: 11 (3.4%)

Restricting to the 224 responses from recent PLDI authors (defined as authors of a paper at the main PLDI conference between 2013 and 2022, inclusive; we verified claims of authorship against conference records), the results were:

  • Yes: 176 (78.6%)
  • No: 39 (17.4%)
  • I am undecided: 9 (4.0%)

When a previous survey on PLDI joining PACMPL was undertaken (in 2017), the most negative responses were from members of the community who had published at PLDI often. We collected data on the number of distinct PLDI papers respondents had published between 2013 and 2022 (inclusive). Restricting to the small number of folks who have published at PLDI seven or more times during this period, the majority were still keen for PLDI to join PACMPL:

  • Yes: 10 (71.4%)
  • No: 3 (21.4%)
  • I am undecided: 1 (7.1%)

Summary of pros and cons from respondents

Respondents provided many comments on the pros and cons of PLDI joining PACMPL, which the Steering Committee members read carefully.

The main pros that respondents put forward were related to:

  • Alignment with the other major SIGPLAN conferences (including reducing the work associated with preparing a resubmission)
  • PACMPL being viewed by many respondents as a success, in that it has worked well for POPL, OOPSLA and ICFP
  • PLDI joining PACMPL being good for PACMPL and the conferences already associated with it
  • PACMPL being committed to Gold open access publication
  • Career advantages to researchers in countries or at institutions where conference publications are not taken seriously in hiring and promotion decisions
  • Advantages of the single column format (e.g., easier for reading on tablets and mobile devices)

Regarding issues of formatting and open access, the Steering Committee discussed the fact that PLDI could adopt a different format (including the PACMPL format) without joining PACMPL, and that joining PACMPL is not the only route to Gold open access. These points were not regarded as major factors in our decision making.

The main cons that respondents identified were related to:

  • There being no problem to solve: some respondents felt that PLDI is doing very well, so are reluctant to change an important aspect of the way it operates
  • A fear that joining PACMPL may lead to PLDI losing its identity, or its prestige being affected (related to the first point)
  • Concerns that PACMPL is not yet viewed as a full-fledged journal (e.g. related to the manner in which it is indexed)
  • Concerns that PACMPL may detract from traditional journals in the field
  • Concerns that PACMPL papers are too long, while other areas of computer science are moving towards shorter, more accessible conference papers
  • Lack of concrete data on the extent to which PACMPL has had benefits for other conferences (e.g., the extent to which it has helped to solve career-related problems due to the manner in which conference papers are perceived by some institutions)
  • Fondness for PLDI’s double-column format


Overall, the majority of the Steering Committee felt that the strongest arguments for PLDI joining PACMPL related to unity and cohesion of the Programming Languages community, and that with the clear signal from PLDI authors and the broader community from the survey, PLDI should join PACMPL.

Disclaimer: These posts are written by individual contributors to share their thoughts on the SIGPLAN blog for the benefit of the community. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal, belong solely to the blog author and do not represent those of ACM SIGPLAN or its parent organization, ACM.