Here, we describe the submission and review process for Comments papers in IEEE Computer Society journals.
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Some journals will consider Comments papers, which note an error found in, or a disagreement with, a previously published paper by that journal. Please refer to the specific journal’s Author Information page to confirm whether that journal publishes Comments papers.*
Authors submitting a Comments paper must include the title, DOI, and author list of the previously published paper. When a Comments paper is submitted, the peer review administrator retrieves as much information as possible about the previously published paper and forwards the information to the editor-in-chief (EIC).
If possible, the EIC assigns the Comments paper to the editor who handled peer review of the previously published paper. If that person is not available, it is assigned to another editor whose expertise closely matches the topic. The editor reviews the Comments paper and, if they believe the commenting authors may have a valid point, contacts the previously published paper’s authors with an invitation to review and respond with a rebuttal.
If the previously published paper’s authors agree to respond, they will gain access to the Comments paper as reviewers in ScholarOne. It may be simplest if one author is assigned to act as the reviewer on behalf of the group of published paper authors; alternatively, all authors can be invited to review. The editor is notified when the response/review is submitted in the system.
The following are possible outcomes:
If the published paper’s authors agree with the Comments paper’s authors, but have not effectively disproved all assertions of the Comments paper, the EIC may decide to publish the Comments paper.
If the published paper’s authors disagree with the Comments paper’s authors and have disproved the assertion of the Comments paper, the EIC may decide to reject the Comments paper.
If the published paper’s authors disagree with the Comments paper’s authors, the EIC may decide to have the peer review administrator send the response/review back to the Comments paper’s authors for their counter rebuttal. After receiving the counter rebuttal, the EIC may either reject the Comments paper or choose to publish both the Comments paper and the published paper’s authors’ response. In fairness to both parties involved, if the EIC chooses to publish the Comments paper despite the published paper’s authors’ disagreement, their response should be published too.
In the rare case that the above process is not conclusive for the EIC, the editor may wish to send the Comments paper and the rebuttal to the published paper’s original reviewers. In this case, the reviewers should be given copies of both the Comments paper and the rebuttal to review.