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Submitting Contributions to GAP

The GAP group encourages users to make their GAP related work available to other users. There are two main categories of external contributions to GAP, those that have been formally accepted in a refereeing process, and those that are just deposited.

Irrespective of this distinction, you may consider organizing and maybe distributing your code in the form of a GAP package. The page Information for GAP Package Authors give detailed advice how to do this.

Submitting Material for Formal Refereeing

The author of a contribution that is intended for formal acceptance should begin the process by notifying the Chair of the GAP Council by emailing, providing full information where the complete material has been placed.

Submitting Deposited Contributions

You are also invited to provide material that is not intended for formal refereeing. To tell us about such material, contact (Packages can also be put into this category while refereeing is in process.)

The Refereeing Process

At its June 1997 meeting in Oberwolfach the GAP Council established the category of "formally accepted" contributions, and agreed upon the following procedures for refereeing.

Materials submitted for formal acceptance as part of the GAP distribution, typically packages or proposed additions to the GAP library, will undergo an additional review resembling the refereeing process for journal articles. As with submitted journal articles, authors will have the option during the review process of withholding their contributions from being made public in the /deposit directory.

Upon being notified of the author's intent, the Chair, acting as editor-in-chief, will notify the Council about the submission and will designate a member of the Council as the associate editor responsible for the submission. The associate editor may draw upon the services of additional referees, including experts familiar with the programming issues involved, to determine whether the material is suitable for formal acceptance or to recommend revisions. Once the responsible editor concludes that the contribution is ready to be part of the GAP distribution, it will be announced to the GAP Forum and listed on the GAP Web page, and the materials will be included in the next appropriate release of GAP.

The author should not alter the submitted material during the refereeing process without notifying the editor.

The intent of the formal review process is not only to encourage the development of the best possible GAP materials but also to provide authors with recognition for their professional contributions more or less equivalent to that for publication of a journal article. In particular, referees are expected to apply standards comparable to those they would use for articles. It is not unusual for a referee to propose extensive modifications as conditions of acceptance.

A referee will consider the following basic questions in reviewing a submitted GAP package.

  • Does the package do what it claims to?
  • Is its functionality a significant addition to GAP?
  • Does the package interact smoothly with the existing GAP library and packages?
  • Does the package employ appropriate GAP functions and data structures?
  • Is the main documentation clear and complete enough?

This last point is especially important. The installation of the package must work as described in the installation guide, without help from system staff. The package's documentation should include straightforward and quick examples to help the user test the installation, the examples of the manual must really work the way the manual says, and the overall documentation should be organized sensibly.

The referee will also ask how the package reacts to unexpected or very special input. Does it work for the trivial group, the empty list, etc?

Adherence to these standards is critical both for maintaining reliably high quality in the GAP distribution and for providing package authors with credible professional recognition of their work.

The Council is actively seeking contributions, not only for formal acceptance, but also for all of the /deposit subdirectories. If you have materials that might be suitable, please consider making them available to the whole GAP community. Please also feel free to write directly to any member of the Council about possible contributed materials or about any other GAP-related matters of which the Council should be aware. We provide a list with the names and current mail and email addresses of the members of the GAP Council.