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It is my pleasure to present a brief update on the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems ( TPDS) in this issue. The page budget for TPDS was somewhat increased for 2011 (by about 10 percent) and now corresponds to about 12.5 full size papers per issue. Our rigorous review process contributed to matching the number of accepted papers with our current “allowance.” We were able to reduce the important backlog that TPDS has by converting some regular papers (14 double column pages) into short form (8 double column pages) plus a supplementary file which is posted online (the limit is expressed in terms of file size and can fit a very large number of additional pages). The converted papers remain regular ones, and normally the content moved to the supplementary file includes parts of the article that normally receives much less attention from readers (lengthy proofs, appendices, detailed simulations, pseudocodes, etc.). As a “side-effect,” the readability of these articles has been improved. For example, a number of time consuming lengthy pseudocodes were replaced in the main short form part with concise and intuitively clear descriptions of corresponding algorithms.
It appears that this conversion of the regular paper into the short form (for printing in the hardcopy of TPDS) and supplementary file (for adding next to the short form on the online TPDS) is a new idea within the IEEE Computer Society (CS). Therefore, it is not surprising that many authors contacted me for additional explanations about the process, and I had to directly convince many editors and authors that the conversion is not primarily about downgrading a paper, but about page budget gains and increased readability. Further, in the February 2010 issue, my editorial contained my advice for writing articles in computing and related disciplines, and the proper way of presenting research contributions in a way that will minimize the time for a reader to grasp the essence of the contribution, and increase the use and citations to the article. This also appears to be a unique initiative among EICs, not only within the CS.
The editorial board of TPDS voted with large majority to move TPDS to the OnlinePlus publication style in 2012. This would slightly increase the TPDS page budget (the largest cost comes from the file preparation which is needed for online TPDS as well) from savings in printing and distributing hardcopies. The Transactions Operations Committee voted in 2009 “to have all CS titles migrated away from primarily print by 2015.” The number of subscriptions to printed copies has decreased. For TPDS, it is down 11 percent-15 percent from 2009 to 2010. OnlinePlus is the mostly online model, which replaces the traditional printed copy with a CD (which may include audio clips, interactive supplemental material, interviews with our community members, blogs, etc.) and abstract booklet. Authors still get a traditional print copy of the issue they are published in, to address tenure review concerns, and concerns of submitting to an online-only title. The IEEE Computer Society can also send letters signed by the EIC or VP of Pubs (etc.) confirming publication in a specific issue as needed.
TPDS improved the processing time for articles. The average time from submission to the first decision is now under three months (it was about four months in previous years). This is comparable to conferences in our areas, with the advantage of submitting any time. The average time from submission to the final decision is also under three months; however, this time differs greatly among papers which are rejected and those who are undergoing one or more revisions. TPDS also improved greatly on the processing delay for the oldest manuscript without a decision, and on 30 September 2010, it was 168 days. Our board is doing its best to deliver all decisions within six months (during the initial months of my term, some cases had close to a delay of 18 months).
TPDS is a truly international journal. The contact authors of 121 papers accepted between January-September 2010 were from the US (51), China (15), Canada (10), Korea (7), Hong Kong (6), Taiwan (6), Germany (5), Spain (4), Australia (3), Italy (3), Netherlands (3), Czech Republic, France, Greece, Iran, Portugal, Singapore, Turkey, and the UK (1 each). Submissions were also considered by (contact) authors from Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the UAE. This is a remarkable list of 48 countries.
Tarek Abdelzaher, Manish Parashar, and Michel Raynal have completed their four year terms and retired from the Editorial Board recently. I very much appreciate their time and effort in processing the papers. I also take this opportunity to welcome and introduce two distinguished researchers to the Editorial Board of TPDS. Roberto Baldoni and Xiuzhen Cheng were appointed as new Associate Editors in October 2010. Their short biographies and areas of research are given. I am confident they will contribute to further enhancing the quality and timeliness of TPDS. I congratulate the CS staff, Associate Editors, and reviewers of TPDS for a job well done. I also thank the authors for sending high quality papers for publication to our journal. I wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year.
As always, I invite comments and suggestions from authors, reviewers, and readers on how to improve the quality of this transaction. I also seek your help in spreading the word about TPDS to your colleagues. I look forward to hearing from you.
Roberto Baldoni received the PhD degree from the University of Rome La Sapienza, where he is currently a full professor leading the Distributed Systems group and the MIDdleware LABoratory (MIDLAB). He conducts research in the areas of distributed computing, overlay-based systems, middleware infrastructures, event-based systems, and cloud computing. He is the author of more than 50 papers in international journals and 100 in international peer-reviewed conferences. He is a member of the IFIP WG 10.4, IEEE, ACM and of the steering committees of ACM DEBS that he chaired in 2008. He has served in various capacities for numerous international conferences. Recently, he acted as vice TCP chair of ICDCS and TCP cochair of SRDS. He received the IBM Faculty Award (2010), the Science2Business Award (2010), and the ACM Recognition of Service Award (2002). Moreover, since 2004, he has coordinated large European projects in the field of secure systems and networked embedded systems. In the past, he has been a visiting researcher at INRIA, Cornell University, and EPFL.
Xiuzhen Cheng received the MS and PhD degrees in computer science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, in 2000 and 2002, respectively. She is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at George Washington University, Washington DC. Her current research interests include cyber-physical systems, wireless and mobile computing, sensor networking, wireless and mobile security, and algorithm design and analysis. She has served on the editorial boards of several technical journals and the technical program committees of various professional conferences/workshops. She also has chaired several international conferences. She worked as a program director for the US National Science Foundation (NSF) from April to October in 2006, and from April 2008 to May 2010. She received the NSF CAREER Award in 2004. She is a member of the IEEE.