Editorial policies

1. Publication standards

1.1. Scope

Compositional phenomena, construed broadly.

Compositionality refers to complex things that can be built by sticking together simpler parts. We welcome papers using compositional ideas, most notably of a category-theoretic origin, in any discipline. This may concern foundational structures, an organising principle, a powerful tool, or an important application. Example areas include but are not limited to: mathematics, computation, logic, physics, chemistry, engineering, linguistics, and cognition. Everything considered applied category theory, or which is cross-listed on Arxiv under the subject math.CT, is in scope. However, a manuscript need not invoke any category theory to be considered in scope.

Related conferences and workshops that fall within the scope of Compositionality include Symposium on Compositional Structures, Categories, Logic and Physics, String Diagrams in Computation, Logic and Physics, Applied Category Theory, and Simons Workshop on Compositionality.

1.2. Acceptance criteria

Our acceptance criteria are correctness, significance, and clarity. Papers must also adhere to standard ethical principles.

  • Correctness refers to the technical quality of the research described. Compositionality only publishes papers whose arguments have been thoroughly checked, and deemed to be mathematically correct.
  • Significance refers to the impact of the article. Compositionality only publishes work that will advance the study of compositional methods in mathematics, science, and engineering. The scope of this is intentionally broad: we publish research articles across theoretical mathematics, scientific case studies, computational and engineering techniques, as well as expository articles and literature reviews. Note that expository articles and literature reviews can be significant by virtue of clear, comprehensive, and timely explanations of important techniques or results.
  • Clarity refers to the quality of exposition and presentation. Manuscripts submitted to Compositionality must be clear in language, consistent in terminology and notation, well-organized, and strike a good balance between details and concision.
  • Standard ethical principles refer to principles such as the ones described in the Compositionality Code of Conduct. In particular, we ask that the material has not been published or submitted elsewhere, requires appropriate credits to pre-existing results and insights, has objectivity in exposition, and is open about limitations of methods and results.

1.3. Copyright and Licensing

The articles are distributed under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 license: users are free to copy, distribute, transmit. Authors grant the journal non-exclusive publication rights and retain their own rights without restriction.

1.4. Publication rate

No targets. Compositionality does not aim for a pre-set number of published papers per year and there is no target rejection rate. The quality of every paper is evaluated independently of other submissions according to the criteria listed above.

1.5. Name changes

Accessible, comprehensive, invisible, and simple.

Compositionality is committed to accessible, comprehensive, invisible, and simple name changes for all authors. As an arXiv-overlay journal, our policies are enacted within the framework of the arXiv name change policy, according to the following principles.

  • Accessibility: name changes should be available to authors upon request without legal documentation, unnecessary barriers, burdens, or labor placed upon the author making the request. Authorial name changes to previously published articles may be requested by an author for any reason, including name changes due to marriage or divorce; nonwestern naming structures; or gender identity. Non-binary or trans authors who wish to request a change to a previous publication are particularly encouraged to contact the editors. Authors will not be asked to provide official or legal documentation of the name change, and all requests will be kept confidential by the editors. If applicable, any pronoun changes may be requested at the same time.
  • Comprehensiveness: any request for a name change will result in removal of the earlier name from any and all Compositionality repositories. This extends to both the metadata and the PDF of the article. Although some publication flows may be out of the scope of Compositionality, the editors will make efforts to ensure that name changes are reflected in reprints and downstream publications.
  • Invisibility: name changes should not draw attention to the gender identity of an author, nor create a clear juxtaposition between the current name and the previous name. In order to maintain the author’s privacy, name changes will not be announced, nor will any notices be published that draw attention to the changes. Co-authors will not be notified of the change.
  • Expediency and Simplicity: name changes should be implemented in a timely manner, and with a minimum of bureaucratic overhead. Once received, requests will be processed in an expedient manner and will not require deliberation by the editorial/publication board.

2. Peer-review procedures

2.1. Handling of submissions. Submissions are handled by the EpiSciences software. Authors must submit their papers to the ArXiv before submitting them for review at Compositionality.

2.2. Assignment of editors. Assigning editors is the responsibility of the Coordinating Editors. Coordinating Editors assign each incoming submission to a knowledgeable handling editor not affected by conflicts of interest. Authors may provide suggestions.

2.3. Assignment of reviewers. Assigning reviewers is the responsibility of the handling editor. Handling editors by default invite two reviewers. Authors may provide suggestions.

2.4. Deadlines. Compositionality does not impose strict deadlines, but works actively to ensure timeliness of the review process. In the initial request, reviewers are asked to submit their review within 30 days, but different timelines may be accorded between reviewers and handling editor.

2.5. Decision notifications. Decision notifications are sent to authors and reviewers. Upon decision, authors and reviewers receive a notification letter from the editor, enclosing the editorial decision and anonymised reviewer reports.  The reports are to be considered confidential. Appeals will only be considered under exceptional circumstances.

2.6. Editorial transparency. All editors can see all submissions. All submissions, reviewer reports, and decisions are visible to all editors except those who have a known conflict of interest. Authors are informed which editor is handling the submission.

2.7. Blinding. Compositionality uses single-blind review. The authors are known to reviewers, but the reviewers are not known to the authors.

2.8. Conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest must be declared. Editors and reviewers declare potential conflicts of interest regarding each submission and, if appropriate, exclude themselves from handling that submission. Conflict of interest may be due to personal, professional or economic relationships. As a guideline, editors and reviewers should not have collaborated with authors within the preceding two years.

2.9. Open review. Review material may be published as commentary. At the discretion of the manuscript’s handling editor, commentaries may be published alongside accepted manuscripts. These are usually written by reviewers, and based on existing pre-publication materials (e.g. reviewer reports and author replies).


3. Editorial board and policy changes

3.1. Composition of the editorial board: broad, selected by the steering board. The editorial board should be broad enough to cover the main subfields of applied category theory and math-CT. Editors and Coordinating Editors are selected and discharged by the steering board, with open calls for editors whenever needed.

3.2. Editorial term: two years by default. Editors serve two-year terms by default, with no limit on the number of successive terms. Withdrawing editors are expected to finish handling the submissions assigned to them.

3.3. Editorial policy revision: every two years. The editorial policies will be reviewed by the steering board, with feedback from the editorial board, every two years. There will be an exceptional revision after the first year of operation. Editors may also suggest policy changes at any time.