Peer Review—Magazines


 

Guest Editor Center



These guidelines apply to all special-issue submissions. Guest editors should not submit their own manuscripts for their special issues.  You may contact an administrator for additional information.

Deadlines for Special Issues
Guidelines for Making Recommendations
Page Limitations & Text Formatting Requirements
Peer Review Policies
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Deadlines for Special Issues

It is important to conduct an initial review before assigning reviewers to weed out poorly written or conceived papers and those that are not with the special issue's scope. We encourage Guest Editors (GEs) to try and confirm with specific reviewers ahead of time, so that they know what to expect and agree to the time commitment.

Because the schedule gives us only five months to complete the peer review process for special-issue (SI) submissions, from start to finish, we strongly encourage you to follow this review schedule closely:

Week 0: Manuscript submissions due.

Week 2: GE assigns reviewers to all submissions (rejecting some prior to review as needed).

Week 6: Reviewers submit their reviews.

Week 8: GEs submit their recommendations (via Manuscript Central) to the Editor in Chief.

Week 10: EIC makes decisions.

Week 11: EIC sends decision letters to authors, with revision recommendations as required.

Week 15: Authors submit revised articles.

Week 16: Administrator sends revised "major" submissions back to the original reviewers.

Week 18: Reviewers submit new reviews.

Week 21: GEs review the revised articles (accepts, minors, and majors) and make recommendations to the EIC regarding what to include in the issue, the number of pages allocated to each article, and what (if anything) the authors still need to address during the staff editing cycle.

Week 24: EIC makes final decisions and sends out decision letters.

Week 26: Final articles sent to the Administrator.

Do not accelerate this schedule without the concurrence of the EIC and the lead editor.

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Guidelines for Making Recommendations

The Administrator will tell you how to access the system as guest editor, and you can see all of your theme's submissions and their review status. Manuscript Central will keep track of all the submissions.

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 EIC to consider the submission for a nontheme issue. The EIC will inform the author of the final decision. Please include the manuscript ID in all correspondence.

The Review Process

Within a one-week period, the Editor should invite five  reviewers using Manuscript Central. We have found that reviewers are less likely to decline if contacted by the Guest Editor directly. Once you assign the reviewers or they agree to review via the url within the invite letter, Manuscript Central will then send the reviewers the manuscript information. The author can check the status of the review process at any time.

Unless the Guest Editor makes specific arrangements with a reviewer, the deadline to return a completed review is three weeks. If a reviewer requests additional time to complete a review, please record the extension in MC or ask the Administrator to record the extension. Otherwise, MC will send automatic reminders based on the three-week schedule. Reviewers should not worry about or make comments about grammar or spelling.

Note: We will not publish any submission that does not go through the review process via Manuscript Central.

Note: If the reviewer responds to the invitation to review via email, you must record the reviewer's response of Agreed from the "Invited Response" pull-down menu. Otherwise, the reviewer will not receive the manuscript information allowing him/her access to the manuscript and review form.

The Recommendation Process

The MC will monitor deadlines and notify the Guest Editor when all or enough reviews are received. At that time, the Guest Editor may post a recommendation of accept, reject, major revision, or minor revision, and send the recommendation to the Editor in Chief. The Editor in Chief will make a decision and will notify the author of the decision, blind-copying the Guest Editor.

Remember your total page allocation when you consider which articles you want to accept. Your recommendations to the EIC should fall into these categories:

REC. TO ACCEPT: You DO want to include the manuscript in your special issue, and you feel that the changes the author needs to make (if any) are slight enough that they could be easily addressed in the editing process by our staff editors.

REC. TO REJECT: You DO NOT want to include the manuscript in your special issue.

REC. TO MAKE MINOR REVISIONS: You do want to include the manuscript in your special issue, but you feel that there are relatively minor changes the author needs to make before it is edited. We give the author a few weeks to complete the revisions before he or she resubmits. You will review the resubmitted manuscript and then decide whether to recommend it to the EIC for acceptance.

REC. TO MAKE MAJOR REVISIONS: You might want to include the manuscript in your special issue but the author needs to make significant changes before you can decide. Normally, we give the author a month to complete the revisions. Once the revised version is returned, we send it back to the original reviewers for a second round of reviews.

The EIC makes final decisions; The EIC sends out the decision letters, customizing each one with specific comments you provide. The Administrator works with authors of accepted manuscripts to obtain their publication materials and advises about our staff's editing process. The lead editor may then look over manuscripts, making suggestions about length, organization, number and type of illustrations, title length, appropriateness, and fit. Staff editors will collaborate fully with the authors on magazine style and content (to make sure the manuscript flows, is direct, and organized—see our Author Resources page for more information on our editing style).

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Page Limitations & Text Formatting Requirements

The EIC will give the GEs a specific page allocation for all the theme papers, including the GE introduction. The GEs decide how many of those pages go to each paper.

We accept plain text, Word, Postscript, and PDF. Files uploaded to Manuscript Central will convert into a PDF. Files cannot exceed 20 Mbytes.

The pages should be set to 8 1/2 inches wide by 11 inches high. Margins should be at least one inch on the left and right and at least 1.5 inches from the top and bottom. Authors must have page numbers on every page, at least one inch from the bottom of each page.

Articles should not exceed 8,000 words, including all text, the abstract, keywords, bibliography, biographies, and table text; about 10 figures; and references (note that standard magazine format calls for 15 references but articles can exceed this number if the references are relevant to the article's content). You may recommend reject of any article exceeding this word count, without going through the review process. Articles should not exceed 8,000 words, including all text, the abstract, keywords, bibliography, biographies, and table text; 10 figures; and 12 references. You may recommend reject of any article exceeding this word count, without going through the review process. Authors must supply an abstract and at least two keywords when uploading their manuscripts. Each submission should have a title page containing the submission's title and the names, affiliations, and contact information for all coauthors.

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Peer Review Policies

Concurrent Submission: 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 our review process is completed, we automatically withdraw that manuscript.

Duplicate Submissions: We do NOT accept duplicate submissions of manuscripts. Authors should not try to enter or upload a modified version of manuscripts that are already in the system as a new submission. Identical submissions will be immediately rejected.

Preliminary/Conference Version(s): If any portion of a submission has appeared or will appear in a conference proceedings, the author must include a copy of the previously published manuscript along with the magazine submission and a summary of changes identifying the differences between the two.

The GEs and reviewers must check each submitted manuscript to determine whether a sufficient amount of new material has been added to warrant publication. New results are not required; however, the submission should contain expansions of key ideas, examples, elaborations, etc.

If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact Alkenia Winston.

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Guest Editor FAQ

What are my primary responsibilities?

  • Publicize the special issue
    • Write the call for papers, send to staff for posting on the Web site and publishing it in the print magazine. Suggested deadlines for the entire process are available here.
    • Distribute call 12 to 14 months before publication date
    • Distribute widely to your contacts, This is your top priority as a guest editor
  • Manage the review process
    • The review process generally takes 4 to 5 months from the date submissions are received until the date authors submit their final papers to the Publications Office.
    • For a typical schedule for the peer-review process, visit the Guest Editor Center and scroll to “Deadlines for Special Issues.”
    • All reviews must be processed using Manuscript Central, our online peer-review system. Visit the How to Use Manuscript Central page for more information. The Magazine Assistant will assistant you with the review process. She is also available to help you use this system.
    • Each article must be reviewed by a minimum of three qualified reviewers. Assigning more than three reviewers (IEEE Computer Society guidelines recommend five) provides backup. Reviewers are assigned through Manuscript Central (see the Guest Editor Center for more information).  If a guest editor chooses to be one of the reviewers, he/she must register as a reviewer and file a full review.
    • Decision making process
      • Guest editors make their recommendations and final decisions (via Manuscript Central), but have the option of checking with Associate Editors in Chief with any questions, particularly regarding:
        • Papers out of scope
          • Most “out-of-scope” papers are still within the expertise of the guest editors to review, so the guest editors will be asked to manage the review process. If the paper is judged acceptable by reviewers, but it doesn't fit in with your special issue, we can publish the paper as a general queue paper.
          • If you feel the paper is so out-of-scope you cannot find reviewers for it, you may contact Associate EIC about adding it to the general queue for reviewing.
  • Select papers for special issue
    • Goal: Three to five papers (depending on length) for the special issue plus a tutorial or survey, if appropriate. (The remainder of the full-length articles section will contain one or two articles from the general queue.)
    • The page budget for the theme section is roughly 50 pages (including the two pages for your guest editor’s introduction, plus 10 more pages if you include a tutorial/survey). To help you manage this page budget, ask authors to provide you with the word count and the number of figures when they submit their papers. Keep in mind that one magazine page equals 800 words and each quarter-page graphic is roughly 200 words.
    • If you receive too many papers that are acceptable
      • Contact the Associate EIC and discuss options. The usual process is to add overflow papers to the general queue. In a few cases, we have had enough papers to create a second special issue at a later date.
      • To add papers to the general queue, contact the Associate EIC.
    • If you have too few acceptable papers
      • Try to anticipate and manage early
      • Extend the deadline for the call for papers by notifying the Associate EIC and staff.
      • Contact colleagues in the field and ask them to make additional submissions.
  • Write the guest editor(s) introduction (GEI)
    • Generally this is about two pages (at 800 words per page), which briefly introduces the topic and provides short summaries of the papers in the issue.
    • GEI is due one month after final papers are submitted to the Publications Office.
  • Help acquire a tutorial or survey article (if appropriate)
    • Contact the tutorials editor, about whether you plan to acquire a tutorial/survey for your special issue.
    • If you do have a tutorial/survey, the article should undergo the standard review process as noted previously. Note, it must fit within your page budget of 50 pages (10 more  pages are allowed if you supply a tutorial or survey article).

Are there other considerations that I should be aware of when planning my special issue?

  • The Computer Society strongly discourages guest editors from submitting their own papers to their special issue. However, in some special cases, we have allowed guest editor submissions. The reviewing process for such papers is managed by a member of the CG&A editorial board. To avoid any suggestion of bias, only outstanding papers from guest editors will be recommended for acceptance.
  • The CG&A departments can provide alternative venues for content related to the special issue. Department content is managed by the department editors, who make the final decision about publication (see the Department Guidelines for more information). Guest editors are encouraged to suggest possible authors and topics for the departments, but must respect the process and schedules defined by the department editors. Most plan several issues in advance, so it is important to coordinate early.
  • The New Products editors would appreciate names of novel products and tools that you and your authors use in your work. Please send vendor and product names to New Products editor and include a paragraph on how the product(s) is used and why it’s novel.

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