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Editorial—State of the Transactions

David J.

Pages: pp. 193-194

It was another good year for the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence ( TPAMI)—a year with more and better papers and a more competitive publication environment. It was also a year of some challenges.

There are two major sets of metrics that are commonly used to evaluate the performance of a journal: citation statistics, which assess the significance of the papers published, and editorial statistics, which characterize the flow of papers through the editorial process. Certainly, the former is connected to the latter. A vibrant and healthy journal starts with authors submitting their most important papers. Between conferences and journals, authors have a great deal of choice about where to publish. They want a prestigious journal where their papers will receive a fair review in a timely manner.

Starting with citation statistics, the most widely used measure is the impact factor which is the average number of times papers published in the two previous years referenced by journals in the given year. Based on the publications tracked by Thomson ISI, TPAMI papers were cited 14,708 times in 2006 and the impact factor in 2006 was 4.3, up from 3.8 in 2005. TPAMI is the IEEE's most cited publication, the second most cited journal in all of electrical engineering, and the fifth most cited journal in all of computer science.

In 2006, TPAMI received 912 submissions, up from 749 the year before. The acceptance rate is about 25 percent. The peer review cycle has been improving and the average time from submission to first decision is three months, and the average time from submission to acceptance is nine months. It is worth noting how favorably the submission to first decision time compares to that of conferences. The reason for the length of time between submission and acceptance is that many papers undergo a major and a minor revision and, consequently, require additional reviewing. There is an asymmetry between accepted and rejected papers since those that are rejected (the majority) leave the review process more quickly. TPAMI posts accepted papers digitally in the CS Digital Library and IEEE Xplore in advance of the printed version, providing early access to readers. Once papers are posted online, they are considered published and with this new posting online upon acceptance, submission to publication has been dramatically reduced.

In 2007, TPAMI published a very successful special issue on Progress and Directions in Biometrics, edited by Josef Kittler, Davide Maltoni, Lawrence O'Gorman, Salil Prabhakar, and Tieniu Tan. The issue received 85 submissions, of which 19 were accepted. Handling this many papers was a daunting task for the guest editors.

Looking toward 2008, there are two special issues in the works: First, we are pleased to announce that TPAMI will be having a special section devoted to the award-winning papers from the 2007 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR). There have always been very strong ties between the major conferences in our field and TPAMI, and it was high time for the best papers at the conferences to be recognized by TPAMI. Please note that these papers are still fully reviewed by TPAMI. Second, papers are under review for a special issue on Real-World Image Annotation and Retrieval. This issue points to the large scale applications that are becoming possible as the methods of computer vision and machine learning become more effective and robust.

The year (2007) started with a conversion of the Web-based software for tracking manuscripts through peer review to a new system (Manuscript Central v3.0). The new version has a backend which is much more secure and a user interface which has been updated to provide more information to authors, reviewers, and editors and a more contemporary look and feel. While security, unless violated, is invisible to the user, the new interface is inescapable—the response has been mixed. While many bugs were fixed and most of the more serious issues have been addressed, there is still much to be done. We apologize to all who were inconvenienced.

We would like to thank everyone who helps to make TPAMI a great journal, starting with the authors who submit their best works to TPAMI. The largest group is composed of the reviewers who collectively provide about 2,500 each year. Reviewing can be very rewarding, but it is also a heavy commitment and we appreciate the efforts and time these reviewers put into TPAMI and the community for which they are volunteering. For seasoned researchers, reviewing is a chance to see research results before they hit the press—a sneak preview—and to provide a valuable service to the community. For a novice reviewer, the first few dozen papers will highlight to the reviewer what makes a good versus a poor submission. Papers that are published are among 25 percent of submissions passing through the sieve and can be viewed as "positive training examples." The other 75 percent of submissions are "negative training examples," and these are only accessible to reviewers. The implication from a pattern classification perspective should be apparent to readers of this editorial.

We would also like to thank the Associate Editors (AEs) who make a long term (four year) and ongoing commitment to the journal. The AEs are among the top researchers in the field, and their time is very valuable. They must make personal decisions about how much time they devote to their own research agendas versus how much they provide to advance the research of the community as a whole.

The Associate Editors-in-Chief (AEICs) provide an enormous amount of help and expertise to the Editor-in-Chief. For starters, they are now sharing in the process of assigning Associate Editors to each paper. They help establish policies, select new Associate Editors, handle appeals, and choose special issues. With Zoubin Ghahramani joining David Fleet as an AEIC, the journal has AEICs with expertise in both computer vision and machine learning.

Finally, we express our gratitude to those at the IEEE Computer Society who contribute so directly to TPAMI. Everyone who has submitted a paper to TPAMI, served as reviewer, or worked as an editor knows Elaine Stephenson, the TPAMI assistant. Elaine keeps papers moving very efficiently through the review cycle. Many thanks to Julie Hicks, the Production Editor, who somehow keeps the flow going even as we publish hundreds of additional pages each year. In December 2007, Suzanne Wagner (formerly Werner) will be leaving as Peer Review Supervisor to work with a newly formed conference services group. Suzanne has been an immense pleasure to work with and she will be missed. Jennifer Carruth will assume Suzanne's duties, and she has a great deal of experience as a Senior Peer Review Administrator and will bring her own mark to TPAMI.

David J. Kriegman, Editor-in-Chief

David Fleet, Associate Editor-in-Chief

Zoubin Ghahramani, Associate Editor-in-Chief

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