Special Issue Guest Editor Guidelines

Special issues play a critical role at IEEE Intelligent Systems. Special issues assemble high-quality work on timely topics of broad appeal, encouraging new research on such topics and in many cases defining emerging research directions and laying the foundation for future innovations. Many of the impactful and highly cited papers at IEEE Intelligent Systems have been published as part of special issues.
The success of special issues is largely dependent on special issue guest editors (GEs). In these Guidelines, we provide detailed information about preparing a special issue proposal for IEEE Intelligent Systems, the proposal evaluation process, and in case of acceptance of a special issue proposal, the responsibilities of the GEs and the workflow to complete the editorial tasks. Please contact the IEEE Intelligent Systems lead editor Dale Strok at for additional information.
• Special Issue Proposal  (for each of these bullets, please make internal anchor points to the sections below)
• Proposal Evaluation
• Call for Papers
• Submission and Review Process
• Guidelines for Making Recommendations
• Deadlines for Special Issues
• Publication Guidelines
Special Issue Proposal
The theme of a special issue has to be relevant to the main topic areas covered by IEEE Intelligent Systems. A successful special issue is expected to be on a timely research topic of broad interest to IS readers. Its scope has to be focused yet of broad appeal.
The themes are derived from two sources: (a) through internal discussions among the members of the magazine’s Advisory and Editorial Boards; (b) proposed by prospective GEs. This document mainly covers (b).
To start the special issue evaluation process, GEs should submit a special issue proposal to the IEEE Intelligent Systems lead editor Dale Strok at All special issues must go through an open solicitation process (i.e., invitation-only special issues are not permitted).
The proposal should contain at least the following sections:
1. Proposed Special Issue Title: Clear, crisp, meaningful. Try to make it no more than six words.
2. Proposers’ Information: Names, affiliations, contact information (postal address, electronic address, telephone number, and fax number), and bios (up to one page, including a list of the five most relevant publications). Note that to ensure a smooth editorial process, we strongly encourage you to include one member of the current IS editorial board as a co-GE. If at the proposal stage, the prospective proposers have not yet got an agreement from a member of the editorial board to join, please go ahead to submit the proposal. The editorial board will provide specific suggestions after the proposal is accepted.  Typically a special issue will have more than two GEs to share the workload.
3. Introduction. Explain the theme and how it fits in the larger context of artificial intelligence and intelligent systems. Describe its relevance to IEEE Intelligent Systems readers: importance, timeliness, target audience, applicant relevance, and so on.
4. Market Analysis. Examine recent publications in the past 3 years, including related conferences and workshops, as well as special issues on similar topics from journals and magazines (including IEEE Intelligent Systems). Justify why a new special issue is needed or would fill an important gap.
5. Draft Call for Papers.  Please find sample CFPs on the IEEE Intelligent Systems website (
6. List of Potential Reviewers and Authors. IEEE Intelligent Systems is a peer-refereed publication. All manuscripts must be refereed and cannot be guaranteed acceptance. The GEs are encouraged to proactively invite submissions from major research groups or researchers, but these submissions have to go through the same review process as other unsolicited submissions.
Proposal review
The IEEE Intelligent Systems editor in chief (EIC) decides whether to accept or reject a proposal after consultation with the members of the Editorial and Advisory Boards.
First, the EIC or an appointed associate EIC will study the proposal and form an initial opinion. If the proposal is deemed not suitable, the proposers will be informed of the decision right away.
If the proposal passes the initial round of evaluation, a review panel, usually consisting of two members of the editorial and advisory boards, will carefully evaluate the proposal and submit a recommendation to the EIC, who will make the final decision. The evaluation cycle is expected to be around one month. The comments from the review panel will be provided to the proposers. The EIC and the review panel may request additional information or a revised proposal based on the need for clarification, redirection, or rebuttal of reviewer comments.

Call for Papers
When preparing special issue submissions, authors are expected to follow the author guidelines ( and submission details (, just as if they were preparing a regular issue (nontheme) submission.
Solicit from authors original work that has not been published elsewhere. Papers that have appeared in a conference proceedings may be submitted but must undergo our detailed technical review process. To be accepted, a significant portion of the content must be new. Tell submitters that you cannot accept any manuscripts; you recommend them to the editor in chief, who makes final decisions.
Encourage authors to suggest appropriate multimedia that could accompany their article.
The CFP should contain a proposed timeline. This timeline needs to be approved by the IEEE Intelligent Systems editorial office.
Month 0: EIC approval; begin active manuscript acquisition/soliciting; distribute call for papers on the Web, in print, through professional emailing lists, among others.
Month 4: Submissions due.
Month 6: Reviews due; the initial round of decisions made and authors notified; authors sent reviews and asked to revise.
Month 7: All revisions due.
Month 8: The second round of reviews completed; GEs make final recommendations to the EIC, who makes final decisions. The publications coordinator sends final-decision letters to authors. All manuscript files are due at Publications Office.
Month 9: Introduction due.
Month 10: Final versions edited, published.

Distribute the call at appropriate conferences and workshops. Send it to other publications (such as user group newsletters) and discussion lists (such as SE World). Send a note and the call to the prospective authors you know, encouraging them to contribute either as authors or reviewers. Use the target list you provided in the proposal; reviewers, colleagues, and other board members might be able to suggest additional names. It is your responsibility to actively solicit submissions and to make sure that we receive a significant number of high-quality submissions.
As a rule of thumb, if the total number of submissions is below 10, the special issue runs the risk of being cancelled. In that case, the GEs will manage the review process as associate editors do, and accepted papers will be included in the non-theme section of the magazine.

Submission and Review Process
All authors have to use ScholarOne Manuscripts to submit their papers.
The publications coordinator will tell you how to access the ScholarOne system as a GE. There you will see all of your theme's submissions and their review status (except, of course, your own submissions).
It is very important to conduct an initial review before assigning reviewers to weed out poorly written or conceived papers and those that are outside the special issue's scope. The EIC will consider the latter group for possible review as nontheme articles. If you don't want to consider a submission, you may reject it outright, suggest alternative publications that could be more suitable, or tell the publications coordinator to refer them to the EIC for nontheme consideration. The Publications Coordinator will inform the author once you submit specific comments to include in the letter.
The GEs send the other submissions to three reviewers each, the publications coordinator and the system monitor deadlines. Try to confirm with specific reviewers ahead of time, so that they know what to expect and agree to the time commitment.
When each manuscript finishes the review process, you will be informed. The lead editor might also review manuscripts, making suggestions about length, organization, number and type of illustrations, title length, appropriateness, and fit. Reviewers should not worry about or make comments about grammar or spelling. Staff editors will collaborate fully with the authors on magazine style and content.
Before making recommendations to the EIC, you must have at least three reviews.

Peer review policies
Special issue submissions are handled exactly the same way as regular submissions as far as the peer review process is concerned.

Publication guidelines
Guest editors' introduction
The introduction should discuss the theme topic in the context of the academic literature and practice, presenting recent results, future directions, and important trends and their implications and getting across to the reader why this topic is important and timely. The introduction should not summarize the articles, but instead explain how they relate to the topic and to each other; try to motivate the reader to read them. It could include a tutorial or overview to introduce concepts and terminology, enabling readers unfamiliar with the topic to understand the articles. It should be no more than four magazine pages (2,500 words, including 100 words for figures and tables).