Reviewing Technical Papers

Reviewing technical manuscripts is an intellectual process that includes both subjective and objective elements. The reviewer must be objective in the sense of eliminating any personal bias s/he may have toward the author or the subject matter. At the same time, the reviewer must evaluate the paper in terms of his/her own experience in and knowledge of the specialized technical field. This involves more than checking a list of possible impressions, for the reviewer will almost always have some reactions that cannot be anticipated in a formal review form.

The Manuscript Central "Paper Profile" form has been designed to stimulate thought so that the reviewer can evaluate the merits of the paper and fit the evaluation into recommendations conforming with IEEE standards for technical paper publication.

The following few suggestions may be helpful when conducting a review.

  1. Write a summary of what the paper intends to study to show you understand the paper well.
  2. Identify the strength and weaknesses in the paper. Be more specific in terms of originality, significance, correctness, timeliness and presentation. When it is weak in any of the aspects, be more concrete. For example, instead of just saying "the method is not novel", give specific reference(s) by saying that "this method was already known in...". Try to provide more constructive information to help our colleagues.
  3. When suggesting authors to check or specific works, from yourself or others, first analyze whether it is really necessary to request a specific work to be referenced. As such action can influence authors and be maliciously abused, we are trying to avoid it in IEEE TVT. For example, if you just want to say that the literature survey is lacking, there is no need to request specific papers to be cited. Merely requesting a more thorough survey of the literature of a specific area is enough. You may request specific papers to be checked only if there are papers that use exactly the same ideas as the submitted manuscript. Members of the editorial board have the right to remove references from reviews that they feel are not necessary for the comments. If you mention your own papers in the review, make sure to include more papers with different authors to avoid leaking your own identity or causing suspicion of other author(s) being a reviewer.
  4. Try not to use inflammatory words in your review comments just as you do not want to receive similar words in a review for your own submitted paper.
  5. When uploading your review as a file, be aware of leaking your own identity. Word files may contain tracking features while PDF files may contain your authorship. It is always better to create a PDF file and remove the authorship (under the property of the file, go to the field "author," delete the author's name and then press Enter on your keyboard.)