Guest Editor Responsibilities

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Guest Editor Responsibilities

Updated: 29 June 2018

Once a special issue proposal is approved and the Call-for-Papers (CFP) is announced, the guest editors are responsible for:

Publicity

The more people who know about a special issue, the higher the quality of the papers will be. The Guest Editors (GEs) are responsible for promoting their special issues by distributing the CFP to colleagues, associates, recognized experts in the field, and advertising at relevant conferences, workshops, through personal social media, etc.

The Editor-in-Chief will work with SPS staff to promote the CFP through the SPS membership e-mail list, the SPS website, and through the various society Transactions and the SP Magazine.

Managing Peer-Review

Authorship note: A GE cannot appear as author or co-author on more than one submission to the Special Issue (SI) and no more than 3 papers in total in the Special Issue may have a GE as an author. If a GE submits a paper to the SI, the Editor in Chief (EIC) will manage that paper. The EIC will be responsible for either handling the paper directly or appointing a GE (or an Associate Editor) to handle the paper.

Peer Review Steps:

  • SPS staff will initially check submissions for basic administrative compliance (duration: 2-3 days), and then forward submissions to the Lead Guest Editor (LGE).
  • The LGE assigns all papers to GEs (including himself/herself) (duration: 7 days).
  • GEs secure at least 2 qualified reviewers per paper, although 3 reviewers are strongly recommended (duration: 2 weeks).
  • To ensure a high-quality special issue and to avoid conflict of interest concerns, a GE cannot handle a paper if it falls into any one of the following categories:
    • Any person in the same organization as any of the authors.
    • Any research collaborators of any of the authors.
    • Present or former students, advisors or any people closely connected to any of the authors.

In the event of a conflict of interest, another GE should be selected. If all the GEs fall into the above categories for a particular paper, the EIC should take over the review of the paper.

  • GEs cannot act as a reviewer for the papers they manage, but another GE from the special issue may review a paper he/she is not managing, and for which he/she is also not an author.
  • If the GE thinks the paper should be immediately rejected (the paper is out of scope, poorly written, etc.), the GE should contact the LGE; the LGE will prepare a list of IR papers to send to the EIC. Please note: only the EIC can post the immediate reject decision in the system.
  • Initial review period should last around 6 weeks.

First Decisions:

  • It is strongly recommended that the GE team meets via conference call or email to discuss first decisions as a group: first decisions are a strong indication of which papers will ultimately be accepted in the special issue.
    • Authors whose papers receive an AQ decision are given 3 weeks to return their revision.
    • Authors whose papers receive an RQ decision are given 6 weeks to return their revision.
  • When revisions come back into the system, papers given an AQ decision in the last round do not need to go to another round of formal review: GEs can decide if the paper has addressed all reviewer comments (the GE team may want to discuss second decisions as a group, however).
  • Revisions that received an RQ decision in the last round must be assigned at least two reviewers to review the paper (usually the reviewers who reviewed the initial version of the paper).
  • Second review period is 3 weeks, even for RQ revisions.
  • When all required reviewers are returned, the GE has one week to make a decision.  Second round decisions must be either A, AQ, or R: most special issue schedules will not allow for two RQ decisions.
  • Final decisions should be one of the following decisions:
    • Accept for the Special Issue
    • Accept for the regular issue
    • Reject
  • GEs must adhere to the page budget when accepting papers; if the GE team believes it may exceed the stated page budget, it must consult with the EIC and supporting staff for approval.

For regular journals (not J-STSP), papers that do not fit in the special issue (due to time or page budget restraints) can be published in subsequent issues as regular papers with EIC approval. The LGE, in consultation with the other GEs, will make the decision about which papers will be considered for a regular issue of the journal. It is the responsibility of the Guest Editors to continue taking care of the papers that have been selected as regular papers.

Special Issue Organization and Editorial

The GEs select the order in which the papers will appear in the SI. The Lead GE will coordinate the writing of the editorial in consultation with the other GEs.

The editorial should be of moderate length (no more than 3 total printed pages) setting the scope of the SI, motivation, and importance of the topic.

The editorial should:

  • Introduce the topic.
  • Acknowledge the general contributions of the accepted manuscripts, and possible new research avenues in the area to be explored.
  • Discuss how the papers interrelate and what aspects of the discipline they cover (or do not cover).
  • Avoid an itemized list of "mini-abstracts" for each of the papers, since each paper has its own abstract already.
  • Acknowledge the service of the reviewers as part of the editorial.
  • Include GE bios and photographs (no more than 75 words) at the end of the editorial.
  • Be submitted in an editable format, ideally as a Word document, by e-mail, to the SPS publications staff and to the EIC within one month from the date of acceptance of the last paper for the special issue
  • Be approved by the EIC.
  • The LGE will be responsible for approving the galley proofs from the IEEE production staff.

Important Notes

  • Peer review must be conducted through SPS’s Paper Submission System (Scholar One: or for T-MM)
  • Initial submissions should not exceed 13 pages; revisions should not exceed the 16-page limit. Papers are required to be in a double-column, single-spaced format. Please note: papers accepted for publication will be subject to over-length page charges of $220 per page, starting on the 11th published page.
  • GEs may have to edit the automatic deadlines appearing in the messages to the reviewers to match the specific deadlines of the special issue.
  • Keep the issue page budget in mind: in some instances, GEs may need to require authors of accepted papers to shorten their manuscripts so that the SI page budget is not exceeded.
  • Due to the specific schedule for each SI, papers that require major revisions may not be suitable candidates for the SI; authors of such papers may be encouraged to submit their work as a regular paper.*

* It is essential that GEs and authors are aware that there are no regular papers in J-STSP and papers submitted to a specific call may only be published in the journal issue corresponding to that call.

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