Guidelines for Special Issue Proposals

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Guidelines for Special Issue Proposals

Updated 2 September 2021

The publication of special issues by the Transactions of the Signal Processing Society (SPS) is an important component of the activities of the Society. Special issues deal with timely topics of broad interest and should be organized by recognized experts in the area. They should also attract articles of the highest quality.

In order to ensure both timeliness and quality, it is imperative that guest editors have established recognition in the field. It is also important that authors and Guest Editors (GEs) adhere strictly to the time schedule and deadlines of the editorial process. In this regard, guest editors will need to select reliable reviewers.

The following are general guidelines for the establishment and structure of the special issue, and are categorized by these four issues:

  1. Submitting a proposal for a special issue.
  2. Selection of special issues.
  3. Responsibilities of GEs.
  4. Avoiding conflicts of interest by GEs.

I. Submitting a Proposal for a Special Issue

Special Issue Proposals:

The Editor in Chief (EIC) of the journal/transactions can request suggestions for special issues from the publication’s editorial board twice a year. EICs may also encourage special issue proposals from recognized experts in a particular field. The EIC will collect proposals of Special Issues and bring them to a vote by the Publications Board.

Special issues should have at least three, but no more than five GEs, who are selected generally using the same standards used for Associate Editors of Regular Society Transactions. At least one of the GEs must be a member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society and preferably also of IEEE. GEs should be from different institutions, and be recognized as experts in the proposed topic area.

The GEs should appoint a Lead GE (LGE), who will manage the review process and act as the contact person with the administrator of the journal.

The EIC will initiate communication with the LGE following the receipt of the proposal.

A special issue proposal should include:

  • A White Paper, highlighting the importance of the topic to the technical community, and GE names.
  • A sample Call for Papers (CFP), including the title of proposal, a description of the proposed topic, why it is timely, and relevant areas covered by the special issue.
  • For each GE, a one page brief bio outlining his/her education, research interests, employment history, selected relevant publications, awards, and other pertinent information, including performance on the management of previous issues.

The Guest Editors should work with the EIC and the SPS admin to create a timeline for the review process.

II. Selection of Special Issues

Once the final CFP is completed, proposals of special issues are discussed and voted upon by the members of the Publications Board of the Signal Processing Society. The EIC will inform the proposers about the decision of the Publications Board, with an explanation of the decision and recommendations for revisions and resubmissions when appropriate.

III. Responsibilities of Guest Editors

Finalizing the CFP

Once a special issue has been approved, the GE team should prepare the final CFP, in consultation with the EIC and with the Signal Processing Office. The CFP should direct authors to the system submission (Scholar One), the Transaction webpage, and the Society’s “Information for Authors” for guidance on submitting a paper to the special issue. GEs need to create, refine, and submit the finalized CFP within three weeks of approval.

The final CFP should announce the final schedule with specific dates, namely:

  1. Submission deadline
  2. Review completion dates
  3. Notification of acceptance
  4. Final manuscript due
  5. Publication date

It should be noted that the Transactions and journals recommend the time from final CFP announcement to submission deadline be 6 months.

GEs should handle all aspects of manuscript review, and should adhere to the strict special issue schedule. This is to make sure that deadlines are followed closely under the full responsibility of the GEs.

Please note: papers that are not accepted for the special issue may be considered as regular papers in the journal (this does not apply to J-STSP).

For more information on GE responsibilities following final CFP approval, please refer to "Guest Editor Responsibilities."

IV. Avoiding Conflicts of Interest

1.) A GE cannot appear as author or co-author on more than one submission to the special issue and no more than 3 papers in total in the special issue may have a GE as author or co-author.

2.) If a GE submits a paper to the SI, that paper will be handled by the EIC of the Transactions. The EIC will be responsible for either handling the paper directly or appointing an AE to handle the paper. The EIC will also be responsible for ensuring that the paper goes through the same rigorous review procedure.

3.) To ensure a high-quality special issue and to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, the GEs are reminded that the following people are excluded from taking part in the review process of a particular paper:

  • 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.

If a GE is in any of the above categories, the GE cannot handle a paper: 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.


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