An online peer review process is used through Manuscript Central. The overall peer review process is summarized with the following steps.
- Author submits paper.
- Administrator checks that electronic file is readable and conformal to the author's guideline and then passes it to Editor-in-Chief.
- Editor-in-Chief runs the cross-reference check via professional similarity check software, and, if passed, asks an editor to conduct review process.
- The assigned editor checks for scope and conflict of interest.
- The assigned editor requests reviewers.
- The assigned editor passes information to reviewers that agree to review paper.
- Reviewers review paper.
- The assigned editor collects reviews.
- The assigned editor notifies reviewers that did not send in a review that their help is no longer needed.
- The assigned editor makes a preliminary decision.
- Editor-in-Chief reviews preliminary decision. If approved, a letter is sent to author with a copy to the assigned editor. Separate emails sent to each reviewer with decision and copies of all reviews. If preliminary decision is not approved, the paper is returned to the assigned editor with explanation of what to do next.
- If paper is accepted or rejected, then no further action needed.
- If the decision is "accept with minor revisions" or "reconsider, major revisions," then the author may submit a revised paper, response to reviewers, and response to Editor-in-Chief. When this occurs, the assigned editor is informed via an automatic email.
- The assigned editor decides whether second round of review is needed. If so, the author passes information to the reviewers. For reviewers of the original paper, step 5 is skipped. However, step 6 must be performed (using the "agreed" button in the tool at Manuscript Central).
- Steps 8 and 9 are repeated for the revised paper.
For a "correction" item, you may evaluate the validity of the correction without outside review, or you may send it out for one or more reviews. For "comments" and "reply" items, the following apply:
- Ideally, one of the authors of the item being commented on should be assigned as a reviewer. This author should ideally be the submitting author of the item being commented on. To minimize compromising the anonymity of this reviewer, at least one independent reviewer should also be assigned.
- Once the comments item is accepted, the submitting author of the item being commented on needs to be invited by the assigned editor to submit a reply within a reasonable amount of time (2 months). The reply should be submitted as a correspondence item using the online tool. The Editor-in-Chief will assign this reply to the same assigned editor that handled the comments item. The assigned editor should review the reply, as well as the same independent reviewer used for the comments item.
- The Publishing Editor will wait to publish both the comments and the reply items together.
Note that the submitting author for the paper being commented on can be determined from the online tool by the Editor-in-Chief. The submitting author may delegate responsibility of the reply to another of the authors. The submitted author may choose not to reply at all.
Receiving a Paper
You will receive requests via email from the Editor-in-Chief to conduct reviews of papers. The paper will have been uploaded electronically and assigned a paper number, which should be given in all correspondence. An initial examination of the paper will have been made to make sure the electronic form is readable.
The first task is to take a look at the paper and check for the following:
Does this paper fall within the scope of the Transactions? If you think it may not, contact the Editor-in-Chief. Ultimately, it is the Editor-in-Chief's responsibility to determine whether the paper falls within the scope of the Transactions.
Do you have a conflict of interest? For example, if the authors are affiliated with the same company or university as you are, you need to raise this issue with the Editor-in-Chief. In general, when there is a conflict of interest, the paper is reassigned to another editor.
You may occasionally receive papers directly from an author. You should contact the author with a note explaining that papers should be submitted electronically using the online tool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I enter a new reviewer's name into Manuscript Central?
A. When you log into Manuscript Central and go to your Editor Center, you will see a list of options numbered 1 through 10. Option #8 is User Administration. Select this option and complete the information for the new reviewer in the given form. IMPORTANT: At the bottom of the form, be sure to select "Yes" when asked if this person is a reviewer. Also, don't forget to click the "Add User" button at the bottom of the screen. This is how Manuscript Central will know to enter this person into the database and generate the necessary letters.
Q. I get reminder notices for late reviews, do I need to do something?
A. Yes. You should formulate an email to the reviewer asking about the status of the review. The notices are not currently sent automatically to the reviewers. This gives you an opportunity to customize the message.
Q. One of my reviewers complains about the quality of the figures or equations, what can I do?
A. In this case, the authors will have to upload a new version of the manuscript. Please send an email to System Administrator with a request. Make sure you include the manuscript number.
Q. I want to look at a review I did previously, but it's not in my Center any more.
A. When you go to your Editor Center, you will see the main menu on your left and some search boxes on your right. You can enter searches in those boxes to locate previously reviewed manuscripts. If you leave all the boxes empty, it will show you list of all the reviews you managed.
These guidelines are based on materials provided by Norman Beaulieu, Editor of IEEE Transactions on Communications, in 2000. While some of the material has been taken directly, quotation marks have not been used to ease reading. The original materials acknowledge the efforts of Jim Lesh in 1985. An electronic form of the materials was provided by Elizabeth Benoit and Carla Zittlau. Also, feedback provided by Associate Editors has helped to refine this document.
The current document was created by Dr. G. Bottomley, updated by Drs. T.F. Wong and W. Zhuang, and is maintained/revised by the current Editor-in-Chief.