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Association for Computing Machinery

XRDS: Author Guidelines

Aspiring tech authors take heart, XRDS accepts unsolicited articles from students, as well as educators and professionals, for publication in both the magazine and this website.  In fact, the majority of the articles published are by invited authors. To increase the chances of having your article published (whether invited or unsolicited), we highly recommend reading all the author guidelines closely.

  1. Content
  2. Style, Tone, and Audience
  3. Format
  4. Editorial Calendar
  5. Submission Process
  6. Example Article
  7. ACM Copyright Release


XRDS publishes a variety of articles. These include, and are not limited to:

  • Overviews and introductions to a particular field
  • Highlights of cutting-edge research with a high impact
  • Advice and guidance for students in both academic and career environments
  • Interviews with top researchers or inspirational people
  • Conference and contest reports.

These can take the form of long or short articles, of which details are given in the Format section. XRDS has recurring departments which are written by our editorial team, although we encourage interesting submissions for department content also. If you are unsure about the suitability of an article, please feel free to speak with one of our editorial team by email.

Style, Tone, and Audience

The magazine's readership is primarily undergraduate and postgraduate computer science students. XRDS is not a computer science journal. We do not publish conference papers, theses, or other solely academic works—we do, however, publish the most exciting and interesting parts of these works, written into a magazine-style article.

The style and tone of your writing should be engaging, readable and informative. Being controversial, opinionated, and funny is also highly encouraged.

Be entertaining. There are countless blogs, websites, and magazines today that all fight for attention. XRDS wants to combine high quality articles with an engaging writing style so that ACM student members look forward to each quarterly publication.

Be inspiring. XRDS would love your article to stimulate a student to choose a related graduate program or career based on the exciting things you've written about. We want ACM student members to feel honored to be part of the computer science profession, and to show them the wide array of opportunities they can engage with after university ends.

Keep references to a minimum; only cite when it is essential. XRDS discourages references that are only included for the sake of showing prior work in the field. Where you can, inline references can be written into the text. Only include references at the end of the article if you really want the reader to follow up and read the work you reference. This allows more room to fill an article with interesting ideas. 


Please submit your article as a Microsoft Word document, in the most backwards-compatible format possible.

  • A long article, also known as a feature, is typically 2,800-3,200 words and accompanied by 4-5 diagrams or images.
  • A short article, also known as a guest column, is typically 1,000-1,500 words depending on the department and accompanied by one diagram or image.

If you cannot provide all the required images, the editors and ACM will seek stock images for the article. Hence, we encourage you to provide all the required images to have the most control over how your article will look in print. Do not embed images in the document. Send them separately, but clearly call out in the article each figure ("See Figure 1."), and provide captions. Code samples should be in a teletype font such as Courier and formatted correctly.  

In addition to features and columns, XRDS contains recurring departments, which are the following:

  • "Careers," presents readers with career perspectives that exist in computing
  • "Advice," offers tips and ideas to the CS students (both undergraduate and graduate) to navigate academia
  • "Hello World," a small introductory program related to the theme including explanation and source code
  • "Labz," a profile of an academic or industry laboratory
  • "Back," a brief comparison of something old and new related to the theme, whether it be technology or social aspects
  • "Events," a listing of upcoming conferences, scholarships, fellowships, contents and graduate programs
  • "Bemusement," a selection of puzzles and comic strips.

Please check the latest issue of XRDS to observe the formatting and layout of these sections. If you wish to submit something for these departments, please contact our editorial team with your ideas and we will be happy to discuss them.  


Each issue of the quarterly magazine has a theme. Please check the editorial calendar to see the upcoming themes and submission deadlines.

Submission process

If you are interested in submitting an article to XRDS, please contact the editorial staff at xrds@acm.org.

Once we have received your final submission, we reserve the right to edit it before it is printed in the magazine.

As a published ACM author, you and your co-authors are subject to all ACM Publications Policies, including ACM's new Publications Policy on Research Involving Human Participants and Subjects.


Example Article

To get an idea of articles that have previously been published in XRDS, we recommend you read the most recent issue, as it will best reflect the kinds of articles we're seeking.

ACM Copyright Release

XRDS is a publication of the ACM. All authors need to sign the ACM copyright release form. If your article is accepted, you will be contacted by xrds@acm.org.