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I would like to extend to all our readers a warm welcome to a new year, and take this opportunity to comment on the state of our journal and various changes that have taken place. TMC is overall in robust health, and is clearly the journal of choice for researchers in mobile computing, as demonstrated by a high impact factor that has grown rapidly in recent years. It is now the third most cited Computer Society journal, and is ranked among the top 10 journals in information systems and telecommunications.
Perhaps the most significant trend for TMC during the last year or two has been a significant increase in the number of submissions, from around 400 in 2007 to close to 550 during the past year. Needless to say, this has brought challenges for the editorial process, with the peer review burden increasing quite significantly, a discernible decrease in average submission quality, and an increase of papers in newer areas that were not as well represented on the Editorial Board. Furthermore, the furious pace with which related conferences have grown means that getting an adequate number of high quality reviewers in a timely fashion has become much harder. While we continue to do well in average submission-to-decision and submission-to-publication times, there are an increasing number of papers that have seen unacceptable delays, and a gradual build up of backlog that is concerning.
To address these issues, we have been taking many steps. First, we are becoming more hard-nosed about papers that are on the periphery of TMC’s scope. In previous years, as TMC was growing, there was a desire to accommodate these papers, but that is a luxury that we are increasingly unable to afford. For example, submissions in areas such as sensor networks and lower layers that do not offer a substantive treatment of TMC-relevant topics such as computing, location/context awareness, mobility, higher layer networking, energy management, etc., will increasingly be administratively rejected, and the authors will be recommended to send their papers to journals more focused in those areas.
Second, we are subjecting papers to a higher degree of initial scrutiny to determine whether it is worthwhile to devote resources for a full review, and administratively rejecting papers of doubtful quality upfront. I expect this reliance on initial screening will only increase as we get an increasing number of papers that clearly have not been vetted through conferences and are not at all ready for an archival journal review.
Third, we have aggressively expanded the size of the Editorial Board to reduce the burden on individual Associate Editors, and also added expertise in areas where we receive more papers. In this context, it is my pleasure to introduce the following new Associate Editors who were added in recent months: Suman Banerjee, Levente Buttyán, Thomas Hou, Mary Ann Ingram, Neal Patwari, Konstantinos Psounis, Lili Qiu, Andreas Terzis, and Qian Zhang. Collectively, they bring expertise in sensor networks, delay-tolerant networks, security and privacy, wireless internetworking, cross-layer and physical-layer issues, cognitive networks, localization mechanisms, and mobility management. I would like to thank them for agreeing to serve on the Editorial Board. Their biographies are included on the following pages.
In addition, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our departing Associate Editors whose terms finished during 2009 or who stepped down for personal reasons: Robert Istepanian, Rohit Negi, Stephan Weiss, and Suresh Singh. All four of these Associate Editors contributed immensely to TMC, and I truly appreciate their dedicated service during their tenures.
One area where the journal still needs to improve is in better reflecting the diversity of mobile computing. Papers submitted to TMC continue to be dominantly in mobile and wireless networking, and we would like to see more papers on systems issues of mobile computing, such as OS support, energy management, novel platforms, human factors, applications, etc. In an attempt to reinforce that TMC is actively soliciting such papers, in the coming months, there will be a special section of top papers drawn from MobiSys 2009. I would really like to encourage authors to submit results from their best systems research as papers to TMC. We have a number of well-regarded systems researchers on the Editorial Board who will provide a thoughtful and fair review and decision process, which, unlike the up/down decisions at conferences, provides for a meaningful dialogue between the authors and the reviewers that often helps improve the paper.
Last, I would like to thank our readers and authors for their continued support of TMC, and also the members of the Editorial Board, the Steering Committee, and the Computer Society staff for their help in making this journal succeed. Please feel free to send me your feedback and suggestions about the journal and its direction. I look forward to hearing from you.
Mani B. Srivastava