Peer Review—Magazines


Write for Computer: Author Guidelines

Computer publishes diverse types of editorial content. Feature articles—which include Cover Features, Computing Practices, Perspectives, and Research Features—provide a strong mix of case studies, opinion pieces, and solutions to technical problems. Computer periodically publishes Special Issues on leading-edge topics that have been proposed by guest editors. Authors can submit manuscripts for publication as Computing Practices, Perspectives, or Research Features on any topic within Computer's scope at any time. All articles are peer-reviewed before publication.

In addition to feature articles, Computer publishes numerous columns to which you can contribute. If you're interested in contributing to a column, please contact the column editor or Carrie Clark Walsh, Computer's Managing Editor.

These author guidelines describe how to prepare a manuscript for publication in Computer. Once your manuscript is completed and in compliance with these guidelines, we invite you to submit it for peer review by following the online submission process in our ScholarOne Manuscripts Author Center.


Computer covers all aspects of computer science and engineering, technology, and applications. Because most of our readers are developers who want information they can apply in their daily work, the best editorial for Computer keeps the developer's perspective in mind. Articles must be relevant to practice, stressing meaningful applications of principles to important problems. Case studies should include enough detail so that readers can relate them to their own situation.

Research Features should be written at a level of abstraction that will be understandable to Computer's broad readership. Computing Practices articles should clearly state the applicability of the concepts. Perspectives should provide a stimulating commentary on a topic of general interest to computing professionals.

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Writing style

Today's readers need to grasp information quickly. Extremely long articles presented in a passive writing style don't meet this need. Authors should strive for active verbs and straightforward declarative sentences, making every effort to help readers understand the concepts presented. An article should be comprehensible to all Computer readers, regardless of their specialty or research focus.

At least 15 percent of article length should be tutorial, describing the principles or techniques of existing approaches and their advantages and disadvantages. A brief literature survey does not satisfy this requirement. Articles should have sufficient introductory material—a minimum of one paragraph, and no more than five paragraphs. They should also include a brief conclusion—ideally, one or two paragraphs—that doesn't merely repeat the introduction or summarize the article but reflects on lessons learned or points to the future.

Articles should be augmented with relevant tables, drawings, charts, graphs, screen captures, or photographs. Text and any accompanying illustrations that are tangential to the main thrust of the article should be put into sidebars, which should contain at least 250 words.

Please note that accepted manuscripts will be edited, often extensively, to convey the magazine's unique voice and to conform to our style.

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Manuscript length

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

Feature articles shouldn't exceed 6,000 words (minimum 4,500 words), including text, bibliography, and author biographies. Columns shouldn't exceed 2,500 words (minimum 1,500 words), including text, author biographies, and table text. Each figure and table is counted, on average, as 300 words. Any article that exceeds these word counts may be rejected automatically without going through the review process. Article titles shouldn't exceed nine words.

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Feature articles should contain no more than 12 references to other published works. Authors should include a References section at the end of their manuscript, with citations listed in numerical order following the sequence in which the works are cited in the text. Sidebars can contain additional references; these shouldn't duplicate any of the citations in the References section at the end of the article. Columns in Computer don't have a References section; a limited number of references may be included parenthetically in the text. Important websites mentioned in all feature articles and columns should be followed by the URL, in parentheses, upon first use.

1. the author's name, the full title of the work, the publisher, the date of publication, and, in the case of articles or chapters within a work, inclusive page numbers. If page numbers aren't available or the work cited hasn't been formally published, a URL must be provided so that readers can access the work online.

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All illustrations must be cited in the text, numbered sequentially, and have captions that identify the subject and briefly describe what is going on. Graphs should show only the coordinate axes (or at most the major grid lines) to avoid dense, hard-to-read illustrations. Line drawings should be clear so that our graphic artist can reproduce them using the magazine's visual style. To minimize potential layout problems, related figures described within the same section of text should be grouped together when practicable and identified as parts (a), (b), and so on.

To achieve the best print quality, please submit a separate electronic image (rather than an embedded or derivative version)—preferably in a graphic format such as TIFF, EPS, or PS—for each figure we will be publishing with your article. The figures we publish in Computer are usually at least 4 inches (24 picas) wide. If you send an image that is 4 inches wide, it should be at least 1,000 pixels. Larger images should have a proportionately larger number of pixels (multiply the inches by 270 to get the approximate number of pixels).

If you're sending an image off the Web, it must be at least 4 inches wide. If you're sending screen shots, they should be approximately 12 inches wide. To capture screen shots, use a large monitor set at its highest resolution. Our production artist can reduce these images to 4 inches and process them to achieve the required resolution. If your original images are smaller than 12 inches, using a large monitor set at its highest resolution will help achieve a better screen shot. Please don't use a format that compresses the file. We prefer not to use GIF or JPEG images because they can be grainy or blurry in print.

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Biographical sketch


Manuscripts accepted for publication should be accompanied by a brief biographical sketch for each author. Biographical information should include only the following information: Current title or position, up to three research interests, highest academic degree, discipline in which the degree was awarded, granting institution, membership in relevant professional societies (such as the IEEE Computer Society and the ACM), and e-mail address.


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Copyright form and clearances

The author must secure all necessary copyright clearances. A completed IEEE copyright form must be submitted before the article can be published in Computer. All manuscripts submitted for publication should be original. Manuscripts published or under consideration for publication elsewhere won't be considered. Manuscripts published in conference proceedings with limited circulation may be considered for publication in Computer if they're exceptionally important or contain substantial new results. For more copyright information and an online copy of the form, please refer to

If you or your company would like to order bulk copies of the issue in which your article will appear, please visit the IEEE Computer Society reprints page for prices and details.

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How to Submit

The IEEE Computer Society employs a secure, Web-based manuscript submission and peer-review tracking system. Authors who wish to submit to Computer must use ScholarOne Manuscripts to upload their submissions to this all-electronic system. The first-time user must create a new account. The site provides detailed instructions on usage.

ScholarOne Manuscripts is an efficient tool that significantly reduces the time required for the peer-review process. For more information, please see our submission guidelines and requirements located in the Computer's Author Center.

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Special issue proposal submissions

Computer welcomes proposals from experts in a computing niche who would like to serve as guest editors of a special issue. Send them to Guidelines for proposing a special issue are also available.

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Checklist for accepted manuscripts

Does your manuscript include:

  • No more than 6,000 words (minimum 4,500 words), including references and illustrations, for feature articles, and no more than 2,500 words (minimum 1,500 words, including illustrations, for columns
  • Reproducible figures submitted as separate files
  • No more than 12 references (in-text references only for columns)
  • A biography of each author
  • A 100 word abstract
  • Keywords
  • A signed copyright form (only one signature required in the case of multiple authors)
  • Permission letters for reprinted material
  • Coordinating author's e-mail address, complete mailing address, phone and fax numbers
  • Mailing address for each coauthor

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