Nomination Process for the Test of Time Award

Each year, the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) selects a paper recipient for its Test of Time award. You may also be interested in the Nomination Process for its two candidate awards.

Comparison with other SIGCSE-affiliated Test of Time awards:

  • The SIGCSE Technical Symposium, ITICSE and ICER have already or will soon celebrate all-time award papers. Can those papers qualify for this award? Yes, this award draws from a larger pool than each of those awards.

Nomination Process:

  • What paper can receive this award? The ACM SIGCSE Test of Time Award recognizes an outstanding paper published in a conference sponsored or co-sponsored by SIGCSE (this includes ITiCSE working group reports that are published in the conference proceedings) or in an ACM journal at least 10 years prior (i.e., for 2020, papers must have been published before Dec 31, 2009). Also, the paper must not have any current SIGCSE Board members (including the immediate past SIGCSE Board chair) as a coauthor. No work can win the award more than once.
  • What if a paper has been nominated in the past but didn’t win? The SIGCSE Board will maintain a database of past nominations and may identify up to two papers that will be considered without re-nomination for up to three years; however, a fresh nomination for any paper (especially if it highlights new evidence of impact) is always welcome.
  • What information is needed for a nomination?
    1. A printable copy of the paper being nominated, together with a complete citation (limit 25 words);
    2. A statement of the date and venue of the first publication of the nominated work;
    3. A brief summary of the technical content of the paper and a brief explanation of its significance (limit 750 words);
    4. An endorsement letter signed by at least two current SIGCSE members (the letter without signatures needs to fit on two pages). The signatures do not have to be vectorized or rasterized images; just the name and affiliation of each person who has agreed to sign the endorsement is acceptable; indicate the total number of signatures.
  • Who can nominate? A nominator must be a SIGCSE member. Self-nominations are not allowed. SIGCSE Board members cannot nominate or endorse any papers.
  • When must a nomination be submitted? The deadline for nominations is October 1st. If October 1st falls on a weekend then the submission date will be the following Monday.
  • How do I submit a nomination? The nominator prepares (1)-(4) above, and sends them electronically to the SIGCSE Vice Chair by October 1st. All documents should be sent in PDF form as attachments in a single email message.

Selection Process:

  • Who reviews the submissions and makes the decision? The award winner will be chosen by the Test of Time Awards Committee selected by the SIGCSE Board. The committee will include representatives from the major SIGCSE conference (the SIGCSE Technical Symposium, ICER, ITiCSE, and CompEd) committees (for the conferences held in the annual year of the award presentation) and the TOCE editorial board. The Award Committee is free to use any other sources of information in addition to the ones required in the nomination package (e.g., citation counts if they are not provided). The members of the committee will review the materials and make their decision during a videoconference meeting after the submission deadline. Members with a conflict of interest with any nomination must withdraw from the committee and may be replaced by a qualified individual selected by the SIGCSE Board Chair in consultation with the SIGCSE Board.
  • How do I find out the results? After the board has selected the winner, the author(s) will be contacted by the Vice Chair and told that they have been selected to receive the award. The nominator of the winning paper will also be contacted.
  • When are the winners recognized? The winner will be announced on the SIGCSE listserv, and on the SIGCSE.org web site. They will also be recognized recognized at one of the annual ACM SIGCSE-sponsored conferences (SIGCSE Technical Symposium, ITiCSE, ICER, or CompEd), respecting the preferences of the recipient and practical limitations.

How to make a strong nomination:

  • What is the difference between the "brief explanation of its significance" summary and the contents of the endorsement letter? The significance summary is a statement of the impact on computing education and practice, whereas the endorsement letter is the testimonial evidence to support that claim.
  • What is in a strong endorsement letter? The letter should explicitly address the impact on computing education practice and research. Significant impact can be demonstrated through citations, adoptions and/or adaptations of techniques and practices described in the paper by others, techniques described in the paper that have become widely recognized as best practices, or other evidence the paper is a seminal work in the domain of computing education. For example, how many individuals or institutions are now adopting these practices? If the work has been widely cited, give the details of that.
  • How many signatures are needed on the endorsement letter? An endorsement letter must be signed by at least two current SIGCSE members, more signatures would certainly make the case stronger. You may want to consider asking those notable in computing education with enough years of experience necessary to provide perspective that the work has stood "the test of time". "Notable" might mean they are an award winner, a full professor, an author of a successful textbook, or some other reason. Strive for breadth of support, you are trying to make the case that the work has impacted the broader computer science education community; signatures from a large number of people all at different institutions around the world make a stronger case than signatures from a few people all at the same institution.
  • Should you involve the nominee authors? It can be easier to nominate a paper and collect data to show their impact if you can involve the authors. They know better than anyone else what they have done and the impact of their work; you will have to make this choice.
  • When should you start the process? The deadline for SIGCSE awards is October 1 every year. It is best to start the process about 1-2 months before. That will give plenty of time to find people to sign the endorsement letter, and provide time to collect impact data if needed.
  • Only one award is made annually. You may need to nominate the paper more than once. Do not assume that if the paper is not selected the first year it is nominated that it will never be selected.
  • Re-use of material from previous nominations. The committee will maintain a database of past nominations and may identify up to two papers that will be considered without re-nomination for up to three years; however, a fresh nomination for any paper (especially if it highlights new evidence of impact) is always welcome.

For any additional questions or guidance send email to:

Dan Garcia
UC Berkeley
ddgarcia.sigcse.vice.chair@gmail.com