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I would like to begin this report by thanking the associate editors who have completed their term since September 2009: Vijay Atluri, Claudio Bettini, Sharma Chakravarthy, Diane Cook, George Kollios, Charles Ling, Bongki Mong, Dimitris Papadias, Divesh Srivastava, Dacheng Tao, and Domenico Talia. At the same time, I would like to formally welcome the associate editors who have since joined the editorial board: Brian F. Cooper, Graham Cormode, Elena Ferrari, Juliana Freire, Wook-Shin Han, George Karypis, Hiroyuki Kitagawa, Nikos Mamoulis, Joerg Sander, S. Sudarshan, Haixun Wang, and Aidong Zhang. I would also like to thank Divesh Srivastava for his role as an associate editor-in-chief, and Jian Pei for taking on the additional role of an associate editor-in-chief. Without their contributions, the reviewing process would not have been possible.
Next, I would like to survey the progress that we have made in the past year. As could be observed from the list of newly appointed associated editors, we have made a conscious effort to recruit well-established researchers of diverse background, strengths, and geographical locations around the world. We will continue to look for highly qualified editors who are committed and dedicated in handling the review process.
The number of submissions in 2009 is about 860, an increase of 25% over the number in 2008. For 2010, we expect a slight dip in terms of the number of submissions although we do not have the final number at the time of writing this report. As mentioned before, it is our primary goal to improve the quality of the journal. As we are well aware, the number of submissions does not reflect the quality of a journal; rather, it is the quality of the papers, the citations of the papers, and in turn, the impact factor that reflect the quality of a journal. Upholding the emphasis on quality, we have substantially lowered our acceptance rate of papers from 23% to 17% over the last two years. The reviewing process consumes much of the associate editors and reviewers’ time, making it important for the journal to attract better quality submissions. We have therefore been more critical in the screening of submissions before assigning them to reviewers. As in 2009, many papers that are out of the scope of the IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE) were administratively rejected. I have also spent time to randomly check submissions with cross-checking software, and have rejected a number of papers where the authors did not declare prior work clearly or where material from papers belonging to others were found.
With the dedication of the associate editors and more aggressive administrative rejects, we have further reduced the turn-around time of the first review from three months in 2009 to two and a half months in 2010. With a shorter turnaround time, we hope to attract better quality submissions and provide more timely issues. With the fusion of technologies, it is getting harder to clearly classify a paper based on a single area. Further, the idea reported for a particular area or application could often be applied to another. Therefore, I have removed category headers for papers from the cover page of the journal. In so doing, I further hope that readers will be encouraged to read more papers contained in the journal.
To further improve coverage of the journal, we have worked with the Steering Committee of the IEEE International Conference of Data Engineering (ICDE) to publish extended versions of its best papers each year as a special issue of TKDE. The best papers of ICDE 2009 appeared in this year’s August issue, and guest editors of the special issue of ICDE 2010 best papers are working on the next issue.
In the new year, we shall continue to enhance the editorial board as well as the quality and composition of the papers we publish. I seek your support in this effort as a good journal will benefit most of us, especially our graduate students.
I would like to conclude this note with thanks once again—to all of our associate editors, guest editors, reviewers, and authors for their hard work, understanding, and support. Thanks very much indeed.
Beng Chin Ooi