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Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics

We Subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP's community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

Split This Rock uses an anonymous judging system to arrive at the contest winner. This is how we do it:

1.    We accept submissions via Submittable and use its tools to ensure that all identifying information is hidden from our contest readers throughout the selections process.

2.    We ask entrants not to include their names or contact information within the document they upload to Submittable or its title.

3.    Staff members who participate as readers and have a Submittable status that allows them to see identifying information are given hard copies of the poems to read without names and contact information.

4.    A staff member who is not participating as a reader serves as contest coordinator to manage the process of sharing poems with all readers via Submittable and as hard copies without identifying information. 

5.    When we receive emailed or hard copies of entries that include identifying information the contest coordinator removes this information before uploading them to Submittable and/or sharing it with readers. (We only accept emailed or hard copies of entries from people for whom Submittable is inaccessible or who have contacted us in advance about special circumstances.)

6.   The contest coordinator compiles a document of the selected poems (up to 20), without identifying information within it, to be forwarded to the judge.

7.   Close friends, relatives, students, and former students of the judge, are excluded from the contest. Likewise, the current Board of Directors, Staff, Teaching Artists, and DC Youth Slam Team members of Split This Rock are excluded, as are members of their immediate families. If any of the selected authors fall under these categories they will be disqualified, and a replacement will be chosen from among the finalists. As poetry is a relatively small community, and the contest entries are judged anonymously, we feel acquaintance and participation in a workshop taught by the judge should not be a disqualifying factor, so long as none of the poems in a manuscript is recognizable to the judge. Anyone wondering if they might be a “close friend” probably is. It seems silly to define friendship, but for the purposes of this contest, we'll call a “close friend” anyone with whom we have direct correspondence (either written or verbal) once a month or more. And please remember that if a poem is recognizable to the judge, it will be disqualified.

Phone: 202-787-5210