Guidelines for Senior Area Editors

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Guidelines for Senior Area Editors

Please follow the guidelines below.

Published: June 2012

A Senior Area Editor (SAE) should spend about 20-25 minutes prescreening each paper, mostly to check the abstract/title/bibliography and to go over the main claims and the simulations (if any) of the paper. If you spend much more than 25 minutes, you are probably reviewing the paper (rather than just screening it).

The paper is a candidate for an Immediate Rejection (IR) if it is:

  1. out of scope for the journal (a paper with few or no citations to recent signal processing publications is a good suspect);
  2. limited in novelty (i.e. there is no new theory, algorithms, or experimental data);
  3. incomplete, and based on insufficient numerical (simulation/experiment) data and comparisons, inadequate bibliography, or poor description of the context of the work;
  4. incomprehensible, poorly written (e.g. has a large number of grammatical errors, illegible figures, etc.).

A paper that is a resubmission (revised version) of a previously rejected manuscript must include a supporting document indicating the previous submission and summarizing substantial changes made to address reviewer comments in order to be considered for publication. Otherwise, it is a candidate for an Immediate Reject exclusively on the basis of this omission.

Papers reporting experimental findings are welcome, and they do not have to have theoretical contributions. However, they must contain useful insights such as:

  1. previously unknown shortcomings of otherwise well-known and theoretically strong signal processing algorithms;
  2. invalidity of commonly used assumptions that can significantly affect the performance of signal processing algorithms;
  3. significant practical performance improvement;
  4. any findings contradicting the conventional wisdom.

Papers containing primarily mathematical derivations, whose results reveal little useful insights for signal processing or are based on unrealistic assumptions, can/should be rejected without review as well.

Within 5 days, the SAE should alert the EiC when a paper is a candidate for an Immediate Rejection, providing a short summary of the reasons for this decision (about 100-300 words). Only the EiC can make the decision of Immediate Reject. The EiC may occasionally consult with other editorial members in reaching the IR decision.

If the prescreen decision is passing, then the SAE checks the author provided EDICS, corrects them if needed, and notifies the SPS staff to assign the paper to an Associate Editor (AE) based on availability.

The SAE does not assign the paper to an AE directly in order to avoid bias and possible COI cases. Assignment by the staff, or EiC, adds some randomness, and also allows checking for optimum distribution of load among AEs.

If the SAE feels that the paper is not up to journal standards, s/he can either recommend IR to the EIC (with proper justification), or in less obvious cases, initiate a Tier-1 review, if the EIC opts for having Tier-1 reviews for the journal.

Tier-1 review (this option can be used at the journal’s EiC discretion):

The SAE suggests 1-2 more AEs to evaluate the paper. If the outcome is IR, the SAE puts together a justification and sends it to the EIC via the ScholarOne Manuscripts (S1M) system. The EIC decides on whether the paper will be IR-ed, in which case the EIC sends a letter to the author. Otherwise, the paper is sent to review.

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