Author guidelines


XRDS publishes a variety of submitted 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 settings
  • Interviews with top researchers or inspirational people
  • Conference or 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 emailing

Style, tone and audience

The XRDS audience is primarily undergraduate and postgraduate computer science students. XRDS is not a computer science journal. We don’t want your recycled conference papers, nor do we want parts of your thesis – we want the really exciting bits. 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. Where you can, inline references 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 text, rather than having half a page of references.


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 image.

A short article, also known as a column, is typically 800-1,300 words and accompanied by one diagram or image.

If you cannot provide all of the required images, then the ACM will seek stock images for the article. Hence, we encourage that you provide all of the required images to have the most control over how your article will look in print. Do not embed your images into the document. Send them separately and clearly mark in the article where they should be positioned, along with the name of the image file.

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:

  • “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 your idea.

Editorial calendar

XRDS publishes every issue under a theme. Please check the editorial calendar to see the upcoming themes to see if your submission will fit into a future edition.

Submission process

XRDS uses automated editorial management software in order to handle article invitations and submissions. The following steps will guide you through submission of an article.

  1. Go to and create an account, then log in.
  2. Click on “Submit New Manuscript” in the “New Submissions” box.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to select the article type, write the title, add authors, classifications and additional comments.
  4. Then, upload your manuscript, author bio and copyright agreement, along with any additional images or figures that you are including with your article.
  5. Click “Build PDF for my approval” to build a PDF from your submission.
  6. Click through to the “Submissions waiting for author’s approval” form to examine the PDF that has been built by selecting “View submission” from the “Action” column.
  7. If you are happy with this, click “Approve submission”. The article is now submitted to XRDS.

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

Example articles

To get an idea of articles that have previously been submitted to XRDS, then a variety of magazines are available online at

We also have an example article template available to download.

ACM copyright release

All authors need to sign and return the ACM copyright release form. The version for XRDS is the “Journals Copyright Form”.

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