Editorial: Acknowledging TKDE's Fine Past, and Looking to an Even Better Future
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1997 (Vol. 9, No. 1) pp. 1-2
1041-4347/97/$31.00 © 1997 IEEE

Published by the IEEE Computer Society
Editorial: Acknowledging TKDE's Fine Past, and Looking to an Even Better Future
Farokh B. Bastani Editor-in-Chief
Introduction
IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering was started nine years ago by three eminent visionaries who foresaw the emergence of a new engineering discipline that fused artificial intelligence with data management. In those preworld-wide-web days, terms such as "information overload," "search engines," and "intelligent agents" had not yet been coined, let alone permeated our daily lives.
Since then, and with the advent of data warehouses, multimedia information systems, digital libraries, geographical information systems, and the accelerating flood of information gushing forth from satellites and space probes, time has borne out the visions of Professors C.V. Ramamoorthy, P. Bruce Berra, and Benjamin W. Wah. It is now clear that new methods are needed to cope with the phenomenal growth in the quantity and variety of information, and many of these need to integrate AI concepts with those of data engineering.
It is indeed a great honor to be the new editor-in-chief of this premier journal but, at the same time, it is a great challenge to follow in the footsteps of TKDE pioneers of the high caliber of Professors Ramamoorthy and Wah. I am deeply grateful to Prof. Carl Chang and the search committee for entrusting TKDE to me. My goal over the next two years is to serve TKDE readers as best I can, and especially to enhance the value of TKDE to knowledge and data engineering professionals in today's rapidly changing world.
2. Accelerating the Publishing Process
Just as computer technology has enabled the acquisition and transmission of reams of information, it has significantly shrunk product development cycles and windows-of-opportunity for industry. Today, everything is changing much faster than ever before; this has certain ramifications even for an archival journal such as TKDE. To maintain its relevance, one constant challenge is to find ways of speeding up the transfer of new ideas from researchers to practitioners.
Another (often overlooked) challenge is to explore ways of transmitting new realities from practitioners to researchers, especially those in academia. While there are fundamental research results that transcend technology, it is also true that dramatic technological advances can render irrelevant entire lines of research; these paradigm shifts are currently occurring with increasing frequency.
One prerequisite for ensuring that TKDE can keep pace with rapidly evolving technology is to speed up the paper selection and publication process. The time lag in making papers available to readers consists of the review time, the revision time, and the publication delay due to our existing backlog of papers. Under the capable stewardship of Professor Wah, the reviewing time is now fairly short for most papers submitted to TKDE. However, for a variety of reasons (excessively long papers, reviewers who are not available for a revised version, unusual circumstances affecting an editor, etc.), the processing time for some papers can be longer.
The Editorial Board will work collectively to reduce the review time in general, and especially its variance. Authors can help by reducing the size of their papers, since those that exceed 25 pages often tend to require much more reviewing effort. Authors can also reduce the total time by revising their papers as soon as possibleno later than six weeks. To eliminate delays due to our publication backlog, we are investigating ways to enable qualified subscribers to obtain electronic access to TKDE papers as soon as the papers are accepted and typeset.
3. Facilitating Readability
While archival journals are fountainheads of new ideas, they are not always in a form that appeals to busy practitioners, who constitute the major portion of IEEE members. Hence, in addition to speeding up access to accepted papers, we will explore ways of facilitating the readability of TKDE papers. This can take the form of
  • extended summaries of the papers,
  • auxiliary tutorial material, such as additional figures, and
  • detailed examples that may be posted electronically to complement the published version.
Also, we will continue to actively solicit comprehensive survey papers on all aspects of knowledge and data engineering. These will be handled by the TKDE surveys editor, Prof. David Spooner, who will present a special selection of research surveys later this year. We will also explore the possibility of helping organize tutorials and state-of-the-art presentations at various conferences based on recent TKDE papers. A committee of industry representatives is being organized to help identify ways in which we can improve our service to practitioners.
4. Producing the Best Possible Product
To further ensure that TKDE publishes interesting and relevant papers in a timely manner, we will actively solicit innovative and high-quality papers. The strict reviewing standard of many computer science conferences provides an excellent opportunity for short-circuiting the publication delay without sacrificing quality. It enables the early identification of good papers in nascent areas of interest to us and reduces the number of review cycles. We will work with selected conferences to obtain enhanced versions of their best papers for accelerated reviewing by TKDE.
In general, I hope that you will consider TKDE as the first forum for your papers in the knowledge and data engineering areas. As discussed above, we will do our best to present your papers to a broad segment of professionals.
In addition, we will institute special annual awards to recognize the best paper(s) published in TKDE.
5. Acknowledging Our Reviewers
The following pages acknowledge TKDE reviewers for 1995-1996. I would like to join Professor Wah in expressing gratitude to them for maintaining TKDE's high standards.
If you would like to be a reviewer of TKDE papers, please send an e-mail message to me listing the areas that you would be interested in reviewing and your contact information (address, phone, e-mail address, etc.).
TKDE Editorial Board members will be encouraged to nominate reviewers who are consistently on time and provide in-depth reviews to be appointed to join them on the Editorial Board.
6. Honoring Professor Ramamoorthy
Finally, here is a special announcement. Professor Ramamoorthy was not only instrumental in establishing this journal, but has also made numerous seminal contributions to computer science. In addition, he has served the IEEE Computer Society in many leadership capacities. The December 1997 issue of TKDE will honor "Professor Ram" (as he is affectionately called by his friends) on his 70th birthday, and will recognize him on his significant contributions over the past three decades and as a founding father of this journal.
To observe this important occasion, we would like to make the December 1997 edition one of the best in TKDE's history. It will include invited papers by key experts in this field. We would also like to solicit additional papers, especially comprehensive survey papers on knowledge and data engineering topics.
If you would like to submit a paper for the December issue, please send them to me by April 15, 1997. In the submission letter, please clearly indicate that the paper is being submitted for the special edition of TKDE honoring Professor Ramamoorthy. Papers whose processing cannot be completed on time for this special issue will automatically be considered for future issues.
  • F. Bastani is with the Department of Computer Science, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-3475. E-mail: fbastani@uh.edu.

Manuscript received Jan. 16, 1997.

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