Guidelines for Reviewers

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Guidelines for Reviewers

Last updated: April 2018

Thank you for agreeing to review a manuscript for the IEEE Transactions. Per your agreement with the Associate Editor, you are asked to complete the review within six weeks of receipt of the manuscript. (NOTE: if you are reviewing a paper in Transactions on Computational Imaging, you are asked to complete your review in four weeks.) For the review of revised manuscripts, reviewers are asked to complete their reviews within three weeks. Please note, the peer review cycle for Signal Processing Letters is three weeks. Reminders will be sent from the Publications Office in pursuit of these deadlines.

Any questions you may have about this manuscript or the review process should be directed to the Associate Editor. Questions about accessing ScholarOne Manuscripts should be directed to the journal’s coordinator. Please refer to the manuscript ID number in all correspondence with the Associate Editor or the Signal Processing Society Publications Office.

Please utilize the ScholarOne Manuscripts system to submit your review. Associate Editors cannot enter the reviews for you. Signal Processing Society operates on a “single-blind” reviewing system, in which the identity of every reviewer is carefully protected. However, you must ensure that there is no identifying information in the properties of any documents that you upload.

There are two criteria necessary for a recommendation of acceptance for publication: NOVELTY (new or innovative methods or approaches to a problem of engineering, science, or mathematics) and APPROPRIATENESS (a complete, well-written manuscript that falls within the scope of the transactions to which it was submitted).

  1. In assessing novelty, you should be aware that it is acceptable for authors to submit expanded versions of their work that has been previously published in a conference paper, but that the prior work must be cited and the extensions clearly explained in the body of the paper. In such cases, the journal submission should include some new elements, such as expanded theoretical discussion, algorithm refinements, more extensive experiments, and/or new results analysis.
  2. In assessing appropriateness, you should consider the scope of the journal, completeness of the technical work, and quality of the writing. The IEEE does not provide editorial services for correcting grammatical errors, but we can point authors to services that they can make use of at their own expense. For English language help, IEEE recommends the following service for authors: American Journal Experts ( Authors can view the IEEE Author Center "Refining the Use of English in Your Article" for more information.

Conference to Journal Papers.

It is acceptable for conference papers to be used as the basis for a more fully developed journal publication. However, authors are required to cite their related prior work, either in the introduction or in a footnote. The papers cannot be identical, and the journal paper should be justified by a clearly identifiable benefit that its publication offers to the research community beyond the already published conference paper. For example, the journal paper may include additional analysis, novel algorithmic enhancements, added theoretical work, completeness of exposition, extensive experimental validation, etc. The added benefits of the journal paper must either be apparent from a reading of the introduction or abstract, or should be clearly and concisely explained in a separate document that accompanies the submission.

Please score the manuscript according to the following codes:

  1. R - Rejected: to reject the paper. Manuscripts that fall into this category will fail to meet the criteria of novelty and appropriateness, may be poorly written or targeted for a different audience, or require such significant editing that the edit cannot reasonably occur in the timeframe of four to six (publication-dependent) weeks the author is allotted for revision prior to the next review round. The reasoning for a decision of Reject decision should be made clear in the AEs comments. Authors should not be encouraged to resubmit papers that are irredeemable. AEs may encourage resubmission in the decision letter if they feel that is appropriate.
  2. A - Accepted: to accept the paper with no changes. This manuscript requires no additional reviews, although there may be some small fixes--typos, etc.--which the AE indicates must be corrected. This manuscript will, essentially, be published "as is," with no additional action by the reviewers or AE.
  3. RQ - Major Revision: to request major, required revisions that will facilitate a second full review cycle by the original reviewers. This manuscript, although meeting the criteria of novelty and appropriateness, is seriously flawed as to disclosure (either technical or literary or both), and requires a major rework by the author.
  4. AQ - Accepted with Mandatory Revisions: to accept the paper with minor but required changes that the AE can adjudicate directly. This manuscript meets the criteria of novelty and appropriateness, but requires a few fixes, usually of the technical variety (more than typos or grammatical corrections). , which are considered to be quite minor, but which the Associate Editor has determined he/she should review one last time prior to approving the manuscript for publication. This decision should not be used if the AE wishes to return the manuscript to any or all of the reviewers; instead, the AE will check for the changes him/herself when the authors submit their revised version.

When submitting comments alongside the scoresheet, the review should consist of the following:

  1. a brief summary of the paper in your own words, pointing out its contributions
  2. a discussion of the novelty and importance of these contributions
  3. a list of major comments that may motivate rejection or require major revision
  4. any other minor comments and corrections.

The comments should be detailed enough to help the author amend the manuscript and prepare it for publication, or help the authors understand why the manuscript is considered unacceptable for publication at this time. Your comments are also important to the Associate Editor because reviewers frequently disagree in their assessment and detailed comments help the Associate Editor to make a decision.

In completing this and all sections of the form, avoid personal remarks, even if you may have formed some strong negative opinions about the manuscript. Reviews should be constructive and courteous and the reviewer should respect the intellectual independence of the author. If you have comments that you do not think should be read by the author, there is a separate field on the score sheet where you can enter confidential comments to the Associate Editor.

Remember that manuscripts should not grow appreciably and, when appropriate, probably should contract a bit. Authors should not state the obvious in their papers, but only refer to established research by providing a reference. The desirable published manuscript length for regular papers is 10 pages; for the Transactions on Multimedia the published manuscript length is 8 pages; and the Signal Processing Letters the manuscript length is 4 pages. So, please help the author identify, through your review, how the paper can be improved to save space while still making full scientific disclosure.

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.

In some cases, you may have the opportunity to review a paper that makes a particularly valuable contribution. If you think that the manuscript is award-quality, please complete the appropriate section. It is very helpful to us in identifying such papers.

In very rare cases, you may find that you suspect author misconduct (including plagiarism or duplicate submission) associated with the paper that you are reviewing. If so, you should contact the Associate Editor handling the paper immediately and be prepared to provide documentation explaining the allegations. All such cases are handled confidentially and should not be discussed with anyone other than the Associate Editor.

Reviews should provide objective evaluations of the research. If you cannot judge a paper impartially, you should not accept it for review and you should notify the Associate Editor.

Examples of conflicts of interest are:

  1. shared institutional affiliation with one of the authors
  2. collaboration on a publication or research project in the past five years
  3. supervision of the author's PhD or post-doctoral work.

A manuscript should only cite papers that are directly related to the topics covered in the manuscript and the authors should explain how each paper relates to the manuscript. Listing several papers without such explanations is unacceptable. Information contained in a manuscript under review is confidential. For more information, please see the IEEE PSPB Manual: 8.2.1 Publications Principles.

Once again, thank you for serving as a reviewer for the Transactions of the IEEE Signal Processing Society and for your timely response. Your participation is invaluable to the peer review process.


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