Guest Editor Information for Journals

Guest Editor Information

The Review Process

IEEE Review Process Statement (Section 8.2.2.A)

The policies contained in this Section 8.2.2.A shall apply to the Editors of all regular technical periodical IEEE publications, except IEEE SPECTRUM and Society newsletters. At no time should a manuscript be accepted or published in an archival journal without prior review of the complete manuscript by two or more independent referees conversant with the pertinent subject area.

IEEE requires that referees treat the contents of papers under review as confidential information not to be disclosed to others before publication. It is expected that no one with access to a paper under review will make any inappropriate use of the special knowledge that access provides. Contents of abstracts submitted to conference program committees should be regarded as confidential as well, and handled in the same manner.

Periodicals which are published in cooperation with non-IEEE organizations must have a review policy that ensures the quality of the papers. The policies of the non-IEEE organizations should be generally consistent with the IEEE requirements contained in this Section 8.2.2.A.

To access Section 8.2.2.A – The Review Process in its entirety, visit the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual (PDF).

The Role of the Guest Editor

Generally, guest editors (GEs) will want to go through all special-issue submissions, weed out the papers that can be administratively rejected, and then assign reviewers to the others. Generating a reviewer pool by confirming with referees ahead of time, even before the submission deadline, helps guarantee adherence to our schedule. You will want to ask reviewers to complete and submit their comments to you within three weeks of receiving a copy of the paper. Note that guest editors may not act as reviewers.

Authors should be instructed to submit their papers via ScholarOne Manuscripts. They are to specify exactly which special issue they are submitting to by making the proper selection in the “Manuscript Type” drop-down menu on the first screen of the submission process.

Since the review process for special issues should be placed on a fast-track schedule, authors will be given a solid deadline for completing their major and minor revisions: generally two months and two weeks, respectively. Authors should also submit a summary of their changes and responses to the reviewers’ original comments. Major revisions should go back to the original reviewers for a second round of reviews with another two-week deadline, by ensuring that their original concerns were addressed.

Minor revisions are to be reviewed by the GE only, unless you need one of the reviewers to ensure that their remaining concern(s) were fully addressed. The authors should be given two weeks to make their minor changes, and the GEs should take no more than one week to review them and make final recommendations.

In an effort to adhere to our strict page budget, we are trying to better enforce our long-standing page limitations and formatting guidelines with our authors. In order to help them adhere to these guidelines, we need your support by suggesting ways to maintain the lengths of their manuscripts should you decide to ask the author to add new content.  Please offer suggestions as to what they can remove so their manuscripts still adhere to our page limitation and formatting requirements detailed on the author center page.

Deadlines for Special Issues

Because the proposed schedule gives GEs essentially six months to complete the peer review process for special-issue papers from start to finish, we strongly encourage you to follow a faster-paced review schedule by doing the following:

  • Assign reviewers within two weeks of the submission deadline. Note that guest editors may not act as reviewers.
  • Give reviewers four weeks to review their papers.
  • Enter recommendations within two weeks of receiving reviews (the EIC receives a week to evaluate your recommendations and enter decisions).
  • Give authors four weeks to revise their manuscripts.
  • Give reviewers another three weeks to conduct a second review.
  • Enter recommendations within two weeks of receiving reviews (the EIC receives a week to evaluate your recommendations and enter decisions).
  • Give authors two weeks to make any necessary minor changes before a final recommendation is made.
  • Enter recommendations within two weeks of receiving minor revisions (the EIC receives a week to evaluate your recommendations and enter decisions). All special-issue materials must be received no later than 16 weeks before the scheduled publication date (depending on the frequency of the publication). It is important to conduct an initial review before reviewer assignment to weed out poorly written papers or those that are not within scope of the special issue. We also encourage GEs to confirm with reviewers ahead of time, so that they know what to expect and agree to the time commitments. A good opportunity to do this is during the special issue’s corresponding workshop or conference.

Call for Papers Template

Click here to download the CFP template. (.docx)

Submit the completed form with your special issue/section proposal to the journal EIC and peer review support specialist. Contact information is found on each publication’s “About” page.

Making Decisions on Manuscripts

The editor will determine the disposition of the manuscript, based on remarks of the reviewers, and the editor’s own assessment of the manuscript. The editor’s recommendation must be well justified and explained in detail. If the editor’s recommendation conflicts with the reviews, or if the reviews conflict with each other, editors must be careful to explain the basis of their recommendation to help avoid an appeal of their decision. In cases where revisions (major or minor) are requested, these should be clearly indicated and explained in the “Comments to Authors” section of the recommendation form. The editor must then promptly convey this decision to the author. The author may contact the editor if instructions regarding amendments to the manuscript are unclear. All decisions are final.

  • Accept: An accept decision means that an editor is accepting the paper “as is” and with no further changes whatsoever. The paper will not be seen again by the editor or by the reviewers.
  • Major Revision: A major revision means that the paper should go back to the original reviewers for a second round of reviews. We strongly discourage editors from making a decision based on their own review of the manuscript if a major revision had been previously required. This may cause problems in the future if reviewers were to see a published paper that they did not have a chance to re-review.
  • Minor Revision: The minor version may not go back to the reviewers, if the editor feels the revisions are sufficient / appropriate. Any revision in length by more than 10% should be a “Major Revision”.
  • Reject: The manuscript is not suitable for publication.
  • Resubmit as “New”: This may be an alternative decision to asking for a second major revision.
  • Administrative Reject: The editor rejects the manuscript without assigning it to reviewers due to significant deficiencies.
  • Out of Scope: The manuscript does not fall within the scope of the journal. We ask that you please suggest a more suitable journal for submission.

Second Major Revision

If a paper has already gone through two rounds of reviews, the option of a second major revision is not available.

There is no rule against a second major revision as such; however, we strongly advise against it since the authors were already given specific instructions in the past and did not fulfill the requirements. If a major overhaul is required to the current version of the paper before it can be considered for the journal, we suggest closing the current file and recommending rejection. This will give the authors an unlimited amount of time to thoroughly revise their paper and resubmit it as new.

A recommendation of “Resubmit as New” is available. Editors may recommend that the author resubmit the paper as new as an alternative to asking for a second major revision. If you wish, we can instruct the authors to request the same editor be assigned to their new paper, increasing the chances of an expedited review. Overall, this procedure will help avoid damaging the journal’s submission to publication time, which is one of the foundations of its highly regarded reputation.

Writing an Editorial

  • Editorials should give a brief overview of the special issue, giving a short introduction to each paper. Manuscripts should be referenced in the order they are to appear in the publication. To protect the identity of the reviewers, no reviewers lists will be published. However, it is encouraged to acknowledge the general contributions of the reviewers as part of the editorial.
  • Editorials cannot be regular papers. Special issue guest editors are also prohibited from submitting papers to their own special issues. Submitting to one’s own special issue may be misunderstood by certain members of the journal’s readership as unethical.
  • Editorials should be no more than two pages in length, including guest editor biographies and photographs. Biographies should be moderate in length, otherwise they will be edited.
  • Editorials should not include references unless absolutely necessary, and even then they should be limited to a maximum of four.
  • Editorials must include each guest editor’s complete and current affiliation and contact information.
  • Editorials must be submitted in an editable format, such as a Word document or text sent via e-mail. Guest editors are responsible for reviewing the galley proofs of their editorial for accuracy of typesetting and communicating any corrections to IEEE Computer Society staff within 72 hours of receipt.