Peer Review—Magazines


IEEE Software Author Guidelines

The Author Center provides details, organized alphabetically, on what IEEE Software magazine requires when submitting a manuscript for review. Please select from the menu below.



Mission and scope

IEEE Software's mission is to build the community of leading and future software practitioners. The magazine delivers reliable, useful, leading-edge software development information to keep engineers and managers abreast of rapid technology change. The authority on translating software theory into practice, the magazine positions itself between pure research and pure practice, transferring ideas, methods, and experiences among researchers and engineers. Peer-reviewed articles and columns by seasoned practitioners illuminate all aspects of the industry, including requirements and design, software construction, development tools, process improvement, project management, software maintenance, testing, and much more.

In addition, IEEE Software's departments offer editorials; interviews; roundtables; information on current trends, people, and projects; quick how-to's; book reviews; as well as empirically based executive summaries on technologies, practices, and methods.

Please consult our editorial calendar for more information on special issues and submission deadlines. To propose a special-issue topic, see our special-issue proposal instructions or contact if you have further questions.

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IEEE Software is a magazine, not a journal. Articles should be understandable to a broad range of developers who want information they can apply in their daily work. Writing should be down-to-earth, practical, original, and comprehensible to all readers, regardless of their specialty. Don't assume that your audience has specialized experience in any particular subfield. Explain terms and concepts and avoid jargon and academic language.

Use active instead of passive voice ("We discovered ..." rather than "It was discovered ...") and straightforward declarative sentences. In an introduction of two to three paragraphs, tell what the article is about and why this topic is significant. Avoid repetition of results and signposting (indications of what will follow or references to previous or subsequent sections). If you must use acronyms, define each one on its first appearance. When you mention a person in the text, include the full name on first reference and only the last name subsequently. Conclusions should not summarize but instead outline future goals or lessons learned. We allow footnotes only when essential in tables; otherwise, extra notes are placed in parentheses in the text.

Once we accept your article for publication, IEEE Software staff editors will work with you to prepare the article to meet our style requirements, editing it according to our requirements regarding length, presentation, grammar, and style (see our Editing Philosophy). Editing includes copy editing (grammar, punctuation, and capitalization), style editing (conformance to the Computer Society magazines' house style), and content editing (flow, meaning, clarity, directness, and organization). We are happy to correct any errors inadvertently introduced during the editing process but must adhere to our style guidelines for consistency throughout the magazine. The editing process begins four to ten weeks before publication and takes two to three weeks.

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Types of articles

Regular manuscripts: Besides specific topics of interest, we seek articles that fit particular genres, such as industry experience reports, case studies, tool reports, and so on. We strongly encourage submission of surveys, tutorials, and short, practitioner-oriented articles. For structuring in-depth technical articles, please consult Steve McConnell's "How to Write a Good Technical Article" (pdf) and Hakan Erdogmus's "Tips for Software Authors" (pdf).

Special-issue manuscripts: These articles cover a specific topic scheduled on our editorial calendar. Please be sure to select the appropriate issue (manuscript type) when uploading your manuscript. For more information and to see upcoming special-issue topics, see our editorial calendar.

For more information on the qualities that we are looking for in submissions, see What we are looking for in submissions.

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Topics of interest

We're looking for articles on the following topics:

Project management and software economics

  • ROI of process improvement
  • Cost-effectiveness of software processes, practices, and techniques
  • Business aspects of software development
  • Planning and performance tracking of software projects
  • Risk management of software projects

Programming paradigms and languages

  • Language technology—trends and latest developments
  • Programming idioms and patterns
  • Domain-specific languages

Distributed, embedded, and enterprise systems development

  • Deployment of distributed, enterprise, real-time and embedded software
  • Engineering of secure software
  • Development of Web-based systems
  • Service orientation and related technologies, standards, and approaches

Software processes and practices

  • Investigation of development methods, processes, techniques, and practices
  • New software development paradigms
  • Collaborative and geographically distributed software development
  • Using and developing open source software

Software development infrastructure

  • Development tools and platforms
  • Integrated development environments
  • Application frameworks and middleware

Human and social aspects of software development

  • Collaboration and communication in software teams
  • User involvement and orientation in software development
  • Roles, responsibilities, and culture in software teams
  • Use of awareness, presence, and social computing approaches to support software developments
  • Psychology of programming
  • Qualitative, field, and observational studies of software practitioners

Sofware design and architectures

  • Capturing and using architectural knowledge and decisions
  • Reasoning about software architecture
  • Development of software product lines
  • Model-driven approaches
  • Design patterns
  • Aspect-orientation
  • Design methods and paradigms
  • Software quality and testing

Approaches to software quality assurance

  • Verification, validation, and testing techniques
  • Process improvement frameworks and approaches
  • Software process and quality measurement
  • Industrial experience with formal methods

Education and training

  • Critical reviews of bodies of software engineering knowledge
  • Software engineering education and curriculum development
  • Certification and licensing of software practitioners


  • Requirements acquisition, specification, analysis, validation, management, and evolution
  • Requirements specification languages and tools
  • Requirements engineering processes
  • Requirements prioritization and negotiation techniques
  • Relationship between architecture and requirements


  • Professional standards, personal liability
  • What can an individual do with a standard?
  • Road maps for how organizations can apply standards

Empirical results/evidence

  • Case studies and experience reports of software engineering projects
  • Controlled and quasi-controlled experiments of software development techniques
  • Artifact studies of software systems
  • State-of-practice surveys and interview studies with software practitioners

If you think we should be interested in some other topic, by all means tell us!

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All manuscripts submitted must be original. Articles published (completely or in significant part) in other magazines or journals will not be considered for publication in IEEE Software. We will consider papers published in conference proceedings if they contain important or interesting new results, but they will be reviewed again by the magazine's reviewers, independent of the conference's reviewing process. If a manuscript has been published or is being considered for publication elsewhere, the author must include that information in the submission cover letter. If such an article is accepted for publication in IEEE Software, the author is responsible for securing permission from the copyright holder.

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IEEE Software is looking for succinct, practical, readable articles that will appeal to experts and nonexperts alike.

Articles should not exceed 4,700 words, including all text, the abstract, keywords, bibliography, author biographies, and table text. Each table and figure counts as 200 words (to account for white space needed). Any article that exceeds this word count may be rejected automatically without going through the review process. Use as few words as possible to convey your meaning—4,700 words is the maximum, not the goal. Include a title page containing your submission's title and the names, affiliations, and contact information of all coauthors.

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We accept Word, plain text, Postscript, and PDF files. Any file that you upload to Manuscript Central will convert into a PDF. Do not submit outlines or abstracts via Manuscript Central. If you want feedback on an abstract, email it to

Our system has size limitations on individual files. Please do not attempt to upload a file larger than 20 MB.

Set the paper size in your text document to 8 1/2 inches wide by 11 inches high rather than A4. Margins should be at least one inch on the left and right and at least 1.5 inches from the top and bottom. Your manuscript must have page numbers on every page at least one inch from the bottom of each page.

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Putting the article in context

We encourage Further Reading lists, lists of important URLs, and Related Work sidebars to help readers understand the context, relevance, and significance of your work.

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Please number your references in the order in which they appear. On average, an article should have no more than 15 references, sometimes more in well-justified situations such as survey or tutorial pieces. Cite only published or scheduled-for-publication material that the public can easily access. Avoid listing multiple references for standards or methodologies that are well known to the community and Software's readership.

Citations must include full publication information—for articles, this means listing all authors, the article name, the publication's full name, the volume, issue number, month, and year of publication, and the pages cited. For conference proceedings, we need all authors' names, the article and proceedings titles, the proceedings publisher's name (not the conference's location), the year of publication, and the pages cited. (examples appear in the CS Style Guide)

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Illustrations, graphs, and multimedia

We strongly encourage the use of visual presentation of your ideas. All illustrations must be submitted inline, cited in the text, numbered, and accompanied by descriptive, clear, and complete captions. Graphs should show only the coordinated axes (or at most the major grid lines) to avoid dense, hard-to-read illustrations. Detailed graphics guidelines are available here. We also encourage the use of code fragments to illustrate important ideas or techniques. They may be inserted inline or treated as figures. If your article is accepted, be prepared to submit separate files for each figure. Please provide high-quality, high-resolution files for best results.

We often redraw line art to conform to other figures in the magazine. See our graphics guidelines for full details on resolution and file formats.

Supplemental material might include videos, extra graphics, and extended code samples. We prefer that you submit this type of material after discussion with IEEE Software's publications coordinator.

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IEEE Computer Society magazines do not publish footnotes. Please do not include footnotes in your submission.

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Author biographies

Articles should be accompanied by a short biographical sketch. It should contain, in the following order, your current position and technical interests, prior applicable professional experience, education, professional affiliations, and address.

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Abstract, keywords, and taxonomy

The abstract should be no more than 150 words and should describe the overall focus of your manuscript.

Keywords should closely reflect your topic. IEEE Software provides keywords that are taken from the ACM taxonomy. (This is an extended version of the ACM Computing Classification System; Copyright © 2003 ACM, used with permission.)

We recommend that you enter a minimum of two keywords when uploading your manuscript. Expert reviewers in your topic area are assigned to your manuscript by keywords.

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Columns and departments

Columns are usually about 1,400 to 2,000 words. Contact the specific column editor to see if he or she is accepting submissions and what the particular guidelines are. You may also contact lead editor Brian Brannon.

From the Editor in Chief: EIC Forrest Shull offers his thoughts and insights into the profession and practice of software development.

On Computing: This column discusses Grady Booch's thoughts on how the story of computing is the story of humanity. Editor: Grady Booch.

Impact: All kinds of new applications and infrastructures depend heavily on software, with far-reaching implications for society and business. One goal of this column is to build better quantitative insight into how software impacts various businesses. How the product uses the software and how the company built it are equally important. Columnists: Michiel van Genuchten and Les Hatton.

Insights: This column offers a place for your software stories, but be sure to include analysis; extract lessons learned; and provide useful, concrete results. Columnist: Olaf Zimmermann.

Letters: Let us know what you think of IEEE Software. We welcome your suggestions on anything, from critiques and ideas for topics to comments on our feature articles. Please send your letters to and include your full name, title, affiliation, and email address. Published letters are edited for clarity.

The Pragmatic Architect: This column brings the practicing software architect's perspective to a discussion of the practices and state of the art of software architecture, design, and development. Columnist: Eoin Woods.

Reliable Code: This column relates to the development of stronger methods for software analysis, code review, and testing. Columnist: Gerard Holzman

Requirements: This column reports on all aspects of requirements and requirements-related activities throughout the software life cycle, especially on how new development practices affect requirements, and making innovative requirements techniques available to the widest audience. Columnist: Jane Cleland-Huang.

Software Engineering: This column provides abbreviated transcripts of interviews from Software Engineering Radio targeted at professional software developers with tutorials on specific topics and interviews with well-known experts from the software engineering world. Columnist: Robert Blumen

Software Technology: This column provides concise, hands-on information on technology that's just hitting the market or that's somewhere on the hype cycle. It offers guidance for those who don't get all the latest consulting and analyst reports and who don't have the time to cover all the relevant journals, conferences, and trade shows. Columnist: Christof Ebert.

Sounding Board: This department highlights short opinion pieces from valuable members of our community: new ideas, interesting challenges, controversial views, different viewpoints. These pieces will also be available on the magazine's website for your comments, rebuttals, or disagreements. Editor: Philippe Kruchten.

Tools of the Trade: This column explores the interplay between software development and the specific tools we can apply to the problem at hand. Columnist: Diomidis Spinellis.

Voice of Evidence: This department presents an overview of the studies and experiences available on a particular topic. Rather than detail research methodologies, it looks at whether the results and experiences to date paint a consistent picture about the effects of a given technology or phenomenon. Editor: Tore Dybå.

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Submission guidelines

First-time authors

Help is available for first-time authors. If you'd like to submit a one-page abstract of your article for editorial feedback, email the editor in chief.

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Derivative work, concurrent submissions, resubmissions, and multiple submissions

  1. We don't accept articles under review by another publication.
  2. We don't allow resubmission of articles that have previously been rejected by IEEE Software.
  3. We don't look favorably on short versions of journal or conference papers.
  4. We don't accept papers that have been published elsewhere, whether in other periodicals, books, edited volumes, or formal proceedings, and whether in print or digital form.
  5. We expect the authors to disclose any derivative works and their sources.
  6. Failure to disclose multiple related submissions or derivative works may result in IEEE publication sanctions against the authors.
  7. For more information, refer to the relevant IEEE policies.

We do not allow submission to more than one publication at one time. If we determine that a manuscript has been submitted to another publication before IEEE Software's review process is completed, your manuscript will automatically be withdrawn.

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Duplicate submissions

We do not accept duplicate submissions of manuscripts. Please do not attempt to enter or upload a modified version of a manuscript that is already in the system as a new submission.

Identical submissions will be immediately rejected.

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Preliminary/conference version(s)

If any portion of your submission has appeared or will appear in a conference, workshop, proceedings, or another periodical (including other IEEE Computer Society magazines and transactions), please include a copy of your previously published manuscript along with your IEEE Software submission and a summary of changes identifying the differences between the two.

Please be aware that editors and reviewers are required to check the submitted manuscript to determine whether a sufficient amount of new material has been added to warrant publication. The IEEE Computer Society's guidelines are that authors should only submit original work that neither has been published elsewhere nor is under review for another refereed publication. If authors have used their own previously published material as a basis for a new submission, they must cite the previous work(s) and clearly indicate how the new submission offers substantively novel or different contributions beyond those of the previously published work(s). Any manuscript not meeting these criteria will be rejected. Copies of any previous published work affiliated with the new submission must also be included as supportive documentation upon submission.

If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact the publications coordinator.

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Copyright form and clearances

Articles submitted to us must be published under the IEEE copyright. At least one author must sign a release form transferring copyright to the IEEE (excepting certain key rights retained by authors) before we can publish an article. The author must secure all necessary copyright clearances. For more information, see our peer review tracking system called ScholarOne Manuscripts or write to Software's publications coordinator.

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Login instructions

The IEEE Computer Society employs a secure, Web-based manuscript submission and peer review tracking system called ScholarOne Manuscripts for all article submissions to IEEE Software. The site itself provides detailed instructions on usage. This tool significantly reduces the time required for the peer review process.

Everyone who submits a manuscript must have a ScholarOne Manuscripts account. If you have previously volunteered in any capacity for the IEEE Computer Society, ScholarOne Manuscripts has emailed you or will email you a login and temporary password. If you do not know or have forgotten your password, please use the Password Help function on the site login page. Please avoid creating a duplicate account.

If you have not volunteered with the IEEE Computer Society or received a new-user email, then click on CREATE ACCOUNT. The required fields must be completed to continue the process.

Also, if you anticipate that you will need to be notified at two email addresses, include the second email address (Primary CC).

If you have technical difficulties with your account, contact Support by clicking the Get Help Now button in the upper right corner of your screen.

Authors must submit a word-processed (.doc or .txt) or print (.ps or .pdf) version that includes all figures and tables; we prefer to have both word-processed and print files. A unique manuscript tracking number will be assigned to your manuscript and should be used when corresponding with the publications coordinator. On the first page of the manuscript, include the title, "Version #...," all author names and affiliations, the date of submission, an abstract, and keywords. In the cover letter, include all authors' mailing addresses, daytime telephone numbers, email addresses, and fax numbers. For articles with more than one author, state who will act as the primary contact with the magazine. Please list all authors who contributed to your manuscript. Should there be any changes to the author's contributions to a manuscript during a major or minor revision, you may update the list of contributing authors as part of the revision process in ScholarOne Manuscripts.

Authors receive five complimentary copies of the issue in which their article appears. Authors may order extra copies as well by contacting their editor.

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Uploading instructions

Detailed information on uploading your manuscript is available here. The system requires you to proof your files before completing the uploading process.

Once you receive a confirmation letter from ScholarOne Manuscripts, the publications coordinator will verify that your manuscript meets IEEE Software's word length requirements and forward your manuscript to the editor in chief for an initial review. If the editor in chief finds that your manuscript is in the scope of the magazine, it will be assigned to an editor.

You can log in to ScholarOne Manuscripts and check the status of your manuscript anytime during the process. Normally, you will receive a final decision in four to six months.

We solicit peer reviews from at least three individuals both inside and outside the manuscript's specialty. Reviewers are assigned to manuscripts based on their expertise. Reviews are used as the basis for acceptance and content revisions. The editor in chief makes the final decision regarding publication. Only about 25 percent of all manuscripts submitted to IEEE Software are accepted, and the manuscripts we publish generally receive very positive reviews.

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Contact information

IEEE Software

10662 Los Vaqueros Circle
Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1314 USA
Phone: +1 714 821 8380
Fax: +1 714 821 4010

Publications Coordinator (submissions)
Ms. Kathleen Henry

Senior Lead Editor (staff contact)
Mr. Brian Brannon

Editor in Chief (volunteer)
Dr. Forrest Shull
Phone: +1 613 991-1018
Fax: +1 613 952-7151

Manager, Editorial Services (staff)
Ms. Jenny Stout

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