Guidelines for Editors-in-Chief

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Guidelines For Editors-in-Chief

Created: April 2018
  1. ScholarOne Manuscripts (S1M)
  2. Publishing Operations Publications Portal (POPP)
  3. Nominating New Editorial Board members
  4. Assigning SAE and/or AEs
  5. Assessing Overview Articles
  6. Assessing Special Issue Proposals
  7. Posting "Immediate Reject" Decisions
  8. Extended Peer Review Process
  9. Ensuring Compliance with IEEE Policies
  10. Overseeing the Publications TAB PRAC Review
  11. Determining Annual Page Budget
  12. Writing editorials
  13. Supporting Publication Production


Thank you for agreeing to serve as Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of a publication of the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS). As EiC, you are responsible for supervising all facets of the peer review process for the publication over the course of your term. You will work with a team of Associate Editors (AEs), Senior Area Editors (SAEs), where applicable, and SPS staff to ensure timely peer review and quality publication. The role of EiC is essential for the publication of scholarly, peer-reviewed transactions, journals, letters, and magazines; the EiC oversees the entire peer review process and is the decision maker in situations of ambiguity or conflict. Your time as EiC is valuable to the academic community as we foster new ideas and advance technologies.

1. ScholarOne Manuscripts (S1M)

You will use your “Editor-in-Chief” Center in S1M to perform your EiC duties. From there, you will be able to see all papers assigned to you as EiC that are currently in peer review. You can also search for papers using the “Search” options on the right side of your screen.

For help using S1M, please see: ScholarOne Manuscripts website and additional resources on S1M..

Your SPS Publication Staff person is also available to provide S1M assistance.

2. Publishing Operations Publications Portal (POPP)

The IEEE Publishing Operations Production Portal is your connection to the IEEE Publishing Operations journal and magazine production process. It is intended to streamline interactions between IEEE volunteers with publications roles and the IEEE Publishing Operations editorial staff. This tool was designed to provide you with detailed information about journal and magazine production status, enabling you to interact with our production system to make decisions about page budgets, manage issue contents, and view useful reports.

To view your publication in POPP. To set up your POPP EiC account and for tutorials on POPP, you can contact Jeff Cichocki (at

General EiC responsibilities:

  1. Nominating new Editorial Board Members
  2. Assigning SAEs and/or AEs to manuscripts
  3. Assessing Overview Article submissions
  4. Assessing Special Issue proposals
  5. Posting “Immediate Reject” decisions on papers deemed technically unsound, out of scope, or illegible due to poor English usage
  6. Ensuring compliance with IEEE policies
  7. Overseeing the publication’s Technical Activities Board (TAB) Periodicals Review and Advisory Committee (PRAC) review
  8. Determining annual page budgets
  9. Writing editorials
  10. Supporting Publication Production

NOTE: Please note that some of the instructions on specific functions in S1M may vary slightly among the SPS S1M portals. Each journal has its own portal that may include variations specific to that journal. Further, some journal peer review processes vary as well. Therefore, if any of the following instructions do not seem to apply to the portal you are using or the publication for which you are EiC, please contact the journal administrator for clarification.

3. Nominating New Editorial Board members

On the 1st and 15th of every month, EiCs are welcome to send nominations to the SPS Publications Board. The nomination should include the nominees’ CVs and nomination forms. The Publications Board has two weeks to assess the nominees and, if there is no objection, the nominee is then approved to be an SAE or AE. At this time, notification should be send to the SPS Publications Staff and the staff will grant the new SAEs/AEs access in S1M and add his/her name to the publications’ webpage and email aliases, etc.

4. Assigning SAE and/or AEs

For some publications, the EiC is not the person who selects SAEs and AEs.  In some cases, the EiC designates the SPS Publications Coordinator to do this task. The SPS Publications Coordinator selects the S-AEs and/or AE based on EDICS.

If the EiC wants to assign SAEs and AEs, then he/she should keep track of the editors and how many papers are assigned to each. SAEs may receive a total of six papers per week, but no more than two per day. AEs may receive between two and three original manuscripts per month.

If the SPS Publications Staff is responsible for assigning SAEs and AEs, then the staff will select SAEs and AEs based only on the EDICS they have selected for themselves in S1M.

For SPS publications, it is usually the AE who posts decisions on all papers, except “immediate rejects.” See “Posting ‘Immediate Reject’ Decision” below.

5. Assessing Overview Articles

If an EiC receives an Overview Article proposal, the EiC has to send the proposal out to the Editorial Board for feedback and then to the Publications Board for final decision.

For full details on Overview Articles, please go to: Overview Articles page

6. Assessing Special Issue Proposals

When an EiC receives a special issue proposal, it is the EiC’s responsibility to send the proposal for vetting. For J-STSP and SPM, the EiC should send the proposal to the Senior Editorial Boards. For the regular transactions, the EiC should send the proposal to the Publications Board.

For jointly owned publications, the EiC should send the proposal to the editorial board of the publication for comments and feedback; afterward it should be submitted to the Steering Committee (SC) or Technical Liaison Committee (TLC) for final approval.

Special Issue Resources:

Guidelines for Special Issues

IEEE J-STSP Guest Editor Responsibilities

IEEE J-STSP Procedure for Submitting Special Issue Proposal

Guidelines for Signal Processing Magazine Special Issue - Guest Editors

7. Posting "Immediate Reject" Decisions

For SPS publications, the EiC is the only person who may post “Immediate Reject” decisions. An “immediate reject” is a paper without full peer review. SPS typically requires a minimum of two reviews for any paper sent to peer review, but “immediate reject” papers may be done without any reviewer input.

A paper is a candidate for an Immediate Rejection if it is: 

  1. clearly out of scope for the journal;
  2. of limited novelty (e.g., a straightforward combination of theories and algorithms that are well established and are repeated on a known scenario, no new experimental data or new application);
  3. based on insufficient experimental data;
  4. inadequate bibliography;
  5. poorly written (e.g., has a large number of grammatical errors, illegible figures, etc.).

In cases where the EiC questions the technical content of a paper, he/she should request the assistance of two other editors (SAEs or AEs) to decide if it should go to peer review. If the two editors agree on the immediate reject, the EiC is still the only person who can post that decision within S1M.

When the decision letter is sent, it should include input from editors who provided feedback.

8. Extended Peer Review Process

To ensure quality reviews, the Signal Processing Society has created an Extended Peer Review process. The Extended Peer Review process allows Reviewers to have a conversation about an article outside of the ScholarOne (S1) system, while still remaining anonymous. This process is now available if further discussion or clarification on the article decision is needed. The AE will initiate this process by contacting the SPS journal administrator and open a discussion forum. The SPS journal administrator will create a post in our Extended Peer Review system and invite the Reviewers to have a discussion. The AE and Reviewers will discuss the merits or specific point of the submitted article in order to come to a decision consensus. Once the discussion is closed, the AE will post the final decision in S1.

9. Ensuring Compliance with IEEE Policies

Please be familiar with the IEEE Policies.

Please be familiar with the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) Operations Manual Manual. Specifically, Section 8 “Procedural and Operational Decisions.”

Ensuring a Timely Peer Review Process

The peer review process for each publication varies slightly. Some publications have SAEs while others do not. Also, some publications review only special issues or letters, which makes their processes different from the regular transactions.

For all publications, S1M flags any papers with overdue tasks to make it easy to see where delays are occurring. The EiC should work with the SPS Publications Staff to help any SAE or AE who is having difficulty finishing peer review tasks within the allotted timeframe. In some cases, the delays may occur with the reviewers, in which case the AE should either attempt to contact the overdue reviewer and decide upon an extension, invite more reviewers, or discuss other options with the EiC.

To get a good, general idea of the peer review time for your publication, you can check the POPP under the “Metrics” section or you can view you “At-a-Glance” report within S1M.

Reviewing Cases of Alleged Author Misconduct

The IEEE and SPS take author misconduct very seriously. Specifically, please see the “Allegations of Misconduct” under Section 8.2.4 of the PSPB Operations Manual.

Signal Processing Society publications use single-blind review. The articles in this journal are peer reviewed in accordance with the requirements set forth in the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual. Each published article was reviewed by a minimum of two independent reviewers using a single-blind peer review process, where the identities of the reviewers are not known to the authors, but the reviewers know the identities of the authors. Articles will be screened for plagiarism before acceptance.

10. Overseeing the Publications TAB PRAC Review

Every publication is reviewed by Periodicals Review and Advisory Committee (PRAC) every five years (or after the first two years for new publications). The PRAC review is a way for the Technical Activities Board (TAB) to assess the health of the publication. PRAC will send the EiC the review form and the EiC, along with SPS Publications Staff, will have approximately six months to fill out the form. The review is usually done in-person at one of the IEEE Board Series meetings and is usually attended by the publication’s EiC and VP of Publications.

However, it is possible that your term may begin and end before the publication actually comes up for review.

11. Determining Annual Page Budget

The EiCs work with the SPS Publications Staff early each year to prepare page budgets for their publications for the following year. Staff will track trends and provide a proposed page budget for the EiCs to consider. Typically, the process starts at the beginning of the calendar year and the final budgets are presented to TAB at the June IEEE Board Series meetings.

12. Writing editorials

EiCs are encouraged to write incoming and outgoing editorials. The incoming editorial should appear in the January (or first) issue at the beginning of your term and the outgoing editorial should appear in the December (or last) issue at the end of your term. These editorials should be between two and three pages long and should be submitted to the SPS Publications Staff and IEEE Publications Department about two months before the publication date. It is recommended that the editorials be sent to the VP of Publications for review as well as the SPS Publications Staff.

13. Supporting Publication Production

For some publications, the EiC may need to work with the IEEE Publications department on approving Tables of Content and selecting cover images for the publication. You can track your production processing by viewing your publication’s portal in POPP.


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