(My question is probably badly formulated, sorry for this.)

TheoretiCS is an overlay journal in Theoretical CS (hence charge-free and in full open access), launched two years ago. From my point of view it has all the desirable qualities (including a gorgeous layout), and it has been endorsed by some very famous researchers.

However, it does not seem to work that well: there were only 10 papers published in 2023. In comparison, its “brother” LMCS published almost 30 papers in its second year, even though 1° it publishes papers about a small subset of its research area, 2° open access was a less omnipresent topic at the time (in 2006; since then LMCS has become the main journal in the logics-in-CS community, and section B of TCS has almost disappeared).

Do you have any guesses why this is the case? Were there already prominent similar journals, or is it for some reason more difficult to get rid of Spr!nger and Elsev*er in some communities?

(I'm still young and naive, so please forgive me if I'm writing nonsense.)


2 Answers 2


Disclaimer: I'm managing editor for TheoretiCS.

It is true that TheoretiCS is not as well known as it may be in some research areas within Theoretical Computer Science. But in many respects it is already quite successful.

The goal of TheoretiCS is to publish the very best papers in Theoretical Computer Science. This means that counting the number of accepted papers is not very relevant here. The acceptance rate is very low, much lower than other journals, and the accepted papers of very high quality. In December 2023, after exactly two years of existence, around 100 papers have been submitted, which in itself is a success. Some evidence that most of them are of very high quality: the acceptance rate of reviewers invitation is very high. The explanation is probably that researchers typically agree to review interesting papers.

I concur with Bartosz Bednarczyk that earning a reputation for a journal takes a long time, because rankings are slow to pick things up. But I'm confident that TheoretiCS is on the right tracks!

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ An additional possible explanation for high acceptance rate of reviewers invitation is that researchers are motivated to participate in a paradigm change in the publication process. Of course this is an added bonus, it does not undermine the other point. $\endgroup$
    – Denis
    Dec 30, 2023 at 20:37

One of the reasons is that TheoretiCS is relatively new, and hence it is not listed in national rankings and/or the CORE rankings.

In Poland for instance (long story short), every researcher collects points from his/her publications and then such points determine the ranking of your university out of all universities in Poland (higher ranking implies more prestige and extra funding). This (from the bureaucratic perspective at least) implies that sending your paper to a low-quality journal rather than theoretics is better.

(I'm not saying that this is reasonable, but this is how the grading system in Poland works)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think this point about prestige can be made also without mentioning explicit journal rankings: For the theoretical computer science community, it is not yet clear what is the "level" of TheoretiCS. $\endgroup$
    – Laakeri
    Dec 31, 2023 at 8:22

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