Saturday, December 04, 2021

TheoretiCS: A new open-access journal in Theoretical Computer Science

I am delighted to share with all the readers of this blog the news of the launch of TheoretiCS, a new, top-quality, open-access journal dedicated to the whole of Theoretical Computer Science. The journey leading to the establishment of this new journal has been long and the fact that this path eventually reached its destination is due to the sterling efforts and foresight of a number of people within our community. The seeds of TheoretiCS were sown within the Council of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science during my two terms as president of that association. At that time, Jos Baeten and Antonin Kucera worked hard to try and set up an open-access journal of the association. That journal never saw the light of day, but the process that eventually led to TheoretiCS was afoot. After some time, Thomas Schwentick took the baton in the relay race and took decisive steps in turning the establishment of this new journal into a true community effort. It is fair to say that the launch of this journal has involved an unprecedented level of cooperation amongst representatives of leading conferences from across the entire Theoretical Computer Science community. I am immensely grateful to everyone who participated in that work for the effort they put into making TheoretiCS a reality and apologise for not mentioning all the colleagues who contributed explicitly in this post. You can find more information on TheoretiCS in the text below, which I received from Jos Baeten, founding member-at-large of the Advisory Board of the Theoretics Foundation. 

So, what can you do to support this new journal? There are at least two things that each of us can do and that I believe are important. 

  1. Help TheoretiCS reach its quality objectives by submitting your best work to it and by encouraging your colleagues to do so too. TheoretiCS aims at publishing articles of a very high quality, and at becoming a reference journal on par with the leading journals in the area. To be accepted, a paper must make a significant contribution of lasting value to a relevant area of TCS, and its presentation must be of high quality. This is elaborated upon in the guiding principles spelled out below. I let you reach your own conclusions about the quality and the breadth of the editorial board of TheoretiCS, which is stellar IMHO.
  2. Spread the news of the launch of TheoretiCS within your networks. Despite its many years of existence and the role it plays within our community, I still meet colleagues (even in Theoretical Computer Science) who do not know that LIPIcs exists and who claim that publishing conference proceedings with commercial publishers is a sign of scientific quality. 

If you happen to be in a position to do so, you can support the TheoretiCS foundation, which is a German not-for-profit organization, by making a donation. 

I look forward to seeing the developments of TheoretiCS. Even though predicting the future is difficult, I have no doubt that the journal will become a coveted outlet, with the help of the community it aims to serve. Welcome to TheoretiCS and good luck!

=== Additional information about the journal ===

---  Guiding principles and objectives  ---

- We believe that our field (and science in general) needs more 'virtuous' open-access journals, a whole eco-system of them, with various levels of specialization and of selectivity. We also believe that, along with the structuring role played by conferences in theoretical computer science, we collectively need to re-develop the practice of journal publications.

- The scope of TheoretiCS is the whole of Theoretical Computer Science, understood in an inclusive meaning (concretely: including, but not restricted to, the Theory of Computing and the Theory of Programming; or equivalently, the so-called TCS-A and TCS-B, reminiscent of Jan van Leeuwen's Handbook of Theoretical Computer Science).

- Our aim is to rapidly become a reference journal and to contribute to the unity of the Theoretical Computer Science global community. In particular, we will seek to publish only papers that make a very significant contribution to their respective fields, that strive to be accessible to a wider audience within theoretical computer science, and that are, generally, of a quality on par with the very best journals in the field.

- TheoretiCS adheres to the principles of 'virtuous' open-access: there is no charge to read the journal, nor to publish in it. The copyright of the papers remains with the authors, under a Creative Commons license.

---  Editorial Board  ---

The inaugural Editors-in-Chief are Javier Esparza (TU München) and Uri Zwick (Tel Aviv U.). The entire Editorial Board can be seen at (see below as well).

---  Organization and a bit of history  ---

The project built on groundwork laid in the Council of the EATCS, and started in 2019 and underwent a long gestation. From the start, we wanted to have a thorough discussion with a wide representation of the community, on how to best implement the guiding principles sketched above. It was deemed essential to make sure that all fields of theoretical computer science would feel at home in this journal, and that it would be recognized as a valid venue for publication all over the world.

This resulted in the creation of an Advisory Board, composed of representatives of most of the main conferences in the field (currently APPROX, CCC, COLT, CONCUR, CSL, FOCS, FoSSaCS, FSCD, FSTTCS, ICALP, ICDT, ITCS, LICS, MFCS, PODC, SoCG, SODA, STACS, STOC, TCC) and of so-called members-at-large. The composition of this Advisory Board, which may still evolve, can be consulted at

---  Logistics and answers to some natural questions  ---

- The journal is published by the TheoretiCS Foundation, a non-profit foundation established under German law.

- TheoretiCS is based on the platform, in the spirit of a so-called overlay journal.

- The Advisory Board, together with the Editors-in-Chief and the Managing Editors, devolved much of their efforts to designing and implementing an efficient 2-phase review system: efficient in terms of the added-value it brings to the published papers and their authors, and of the time it takes. Yet, as this review system relies in an essential fashion on the work and expertise of colleagues (like in all classical reputable journals), we cannot guarantee a fixed duration for the evaluation of the papers submitted to TheoretiCS.

- Being charge-free for authors and readers does not mean that there is no cost to publishing a journal. These costs are supported for the foreseeable future by academic institutions (at the moment, CNRS and Inria, in France; others may join).

- The journal will have an ISSN, and each paper will have a DOI. There will be no print edition.

---  Editorial Board  ---


    Javier Esparza (Technische Universität München, Munich)
    Uri Zwick (Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv)

Managing  Editors

    Antoine Amarilli (Institut polytechnique de Paris, Télécom Paris)
    Nathanaël Fijalkow (CNRS, Bordeaux, and The Alan Turing Institute of Data Science, London)


    Martin Abadi, Google, USA
    Andris Ambainis, U. of Latvia
    Albert Atserias, UPC, Barcelona
    Haris Aziz, UNSW, Sydney
    David Basin, ETH Zürich
    Patricia Bouyer, CNRS, Paris-Saclay
    Nicolò Cesa-Bianchi, Università di Milano
    Anuj Dawar, Cambridge University
    Luc Devroye,  McGill University, Montreal
    Jacob Fox, Stanford University
    Mohsen Ghaffari, ETH Zürich
    Georg Gottlob, Oxford University
    Anupam Gupta, Carnegie-Mellon University
    Venkatesan Guruswami, Carnegie-Mellon University
    Johan Håstad, KTH, Stockholm
    Ravi Kannan, Microsoft Research India, Bengaluru
    Anna Karlin, University of Washington, Seattle
    Ken-ichi Kawarabayashi, National Institute of Informatics, Tokyo
    Valerie King, University of Victoria
    Robert Kleinberg, Cornell University
    Naoki Kobayashi, University of Tokyo
    Elias Koutsoupias, Oxford University
    Xavier Leroy, Collège de France, Paris
    Katrina Ligett, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
    Rupak Majumdar, MPI-SWS, Kaiserslautern
    Joseph Mitchell, State University of New York at Stony Brook
    Mehryar Mohri, Google and New York University
    David Mount, University of Maryland
    Anca Muscholl, Université de Bordeaux
    Danupon Nanongkai, University of Copenhagen
    Moni Naor, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot
    Catuscia Palamidessi, Inria, Palaiseau
    Michał Pilipczuk, University of Warsaw
    Jean-Francois Raskin, Université Libre de Bruxelles
    Peter Sanders, KIT, Karlsruhe
    Davide Sangiorgi, Università di Bologna
    Nitin Saxena, IIT Kanpur
    Alistair Sinclair, UC Berkeley
    Ola Svensson, EPF Lausanne
    Gregory Valiant, Stanford University
    Stephanie Weirich, University of Pennsylvania
    Virginia V. Williams, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    James Worrell, Oxford University
    Mihalis Yannakakis, Columbia University, New York

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