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IEEE Signal Processing Society
Guide For Associate Editors

Published: May 1999
Last revised: November 2015


1.0. Background

2.0 Amendments to this Guide

3.0. Membership Status, Term of Service, Duties and Responsibilities, Workload

4.0. Author Misconduct

5.0. Timely Publication

6.0. Publication Quality

7.0. Correspondence Articles

8.0. Overview Articles

9.0. Award-Quality Manuscripts

10.0. Summary

11.0. ScholarOne Manuscripts: Helpful Links!

12.0. Publication Activities Webpages

13.0. SPS Publication Webpages

NOTE: Please note that some of the instructions on specific functions in ScholarOne Manuscripts may vary slightly among the SPS ScholarOne Manuscripts portals. Each journal has its own portal that may include variations specific to that journal. Therefore, if any of the following instructions do not seem to apply to the portal you are using, please contact the journal administrator for clarification.


Thank you for agreeing to be an Associate Editor (AE) for one or more of the transactions, or the Letters of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. The role of the AE in scholarly publishing is a very important one: management of the peer review of manuscripts by members of the peer community. Peer review of all papers that appear in transactions, journals, or letters publications is required by the IEEE and papers are selected for publication only on the bases of merit and appropriateness.

The AEs for the publications of the IEEE Signal Processing Society are responsible for the consistently high marks our transactions and letters receive from the peer community. By assuring the selection of appropriate reviewers to identify quality manuscripts, and by efficiently managing the peer review process, the quality--and therefore the value--of a publication is increased.

The AEs are supported by staff who help with the paperwork side of the peer review process. However, there are interactions that can only be performed by the AE to foster communication between the AE and the reviewer and between the AE and the author. These communications produce the value added by each AE.

Although you may currently be serving as an AE or reviewer for one or more publications of other IEEE Societies, the procedures set out for the transactions and letters of the IEEE Signal Processing Society may differ significantly. Heretofore, we request that you read through this entire guide to understand review requirements, timelines and how you will interact with the staff Publications Office, the reviewers, and the authors in fulfilling the important role of AE.

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1.1. Publication Mission.

Publications play a major role in implementing the purpose of the IEEE as defined in its constitution and in its vision and mission. Throughout the world IEEE publications serve to advance the theory and practice of electrical and electronic engineering as well as allied arts and sciences, to enhance the professional standing of the Institute's members, and to promote the constructive use of technology for the public welfare.

(IEEE Policy and Procedures, 6.1, 1999)

As an organization of the IEEE, the IEEE Signal Processing Society is responsible for assisting this mission.

More specifically, the Society has established the goal of publishing original, high quality manuscripts pertaining to its fields of endeavor, as established in the Society's Field of Interest.

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1.2. IEEE Signal Processing Society Field of Interest.

Signal processing is the enabling technology for the generation, transformation, extraction, and interpretation of information. It comprises the theory, algorithms with associated architectures and implantations, and applications related to processing information contained in many different formats broadly designated as signals. Signal processing uses mathematical, statistical, computational, heuristic, and/or linguistic representations, formalisms, modeling techniques and algorithms for generating, transforming, transmitting, and learning from signals.

(IEEE Signal Processing Society Field of Interest Statement Amended June 2010)

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1.3. Publications of the IEEE Signal Processing Society.

The IEEE Signal Processing Society fully sponsors publication of the following transactions

IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing (publication begun 1976)
IEEE Transactions on Image Processing (publication begun 1992)
IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing (renamed from Speech and Audio Transactions in 2006, TSA publication begun 1993)
IEEE Signal Processing Letters (publication begun 1993)
Joint IEEE Transactions on Multimedia (begun 1999).
IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security (publication begun 2006)
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing (publication begun 2007)

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Amendments to this Guide will occur following amendments to procedures by the IEEE Signal Processing Society Publications Board, in response to changes in policy by the Society's Board of Governors, or by the IEEE Publications Board or Board of Directors. The Guide will be updated as necessary, to record changes to IEEE or Society policy and/or procedures, affecting the Society's publications.

Amendments in procedure may be recommended to the Society's Publications Board by writing to the Society's Publications Office at (or by fax to 732-235-1627).

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3.1. Membership Status.

An AEis required to be a Member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, except in rare cases, to be determined by the VP of Publications. There is no such requirement for reviewers or authors, however.

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3.2. Term.

AEs shall be appointed by the Editors-in-Chief (EiC) and shall have an initial term of no more than three years. After their initial term, AEs may be extended up to one additional year for exemplary service. During their formal terms, AEsshall be voting members of the Editorial Board for the publication to which they were appointed. It shall be understood that, regardless of the formal term of service, AEs shall serve until their workload has been completed; however, voting membership on the Editorial Board shall be for the formal term only. AEs may serve more than one term; however, such terms shall not be consecutive and shall have a minimum break of two years between service.

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3.3. Duties and Responsibilities.

The AE, as a member of the Editorial Board of the publication, is responsible for ensuring that the publication maintains the highest quality while adhering to the publication rules and procedures of both the Society and of the IEEE. The AE is responsible for handling manuscripts and communications with authors, as well as advising the EiC on questions related to special issues, overview papers, new AE nominations, suitability of a paper for the transactions, plagiarism, etc. In their advisory role, the AE attends Editorial Board meetings at major SPS conferences. The process for handling regular papers and letters is described in this section. The process for handling comments, corrections and errata is covered in section 7.

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3.3.1. Immediate Reject Assessment.

In order to reduce the burden on reviewers, papers that are clearly not suitable for publication in the transactions may be rejected by the EiC. Such decisions are referred to as “Immediate Reject.” In some journals, Senior Area Editors assist the EiC in identifying papers that should be immediately rejected. This process is described in separate guidelines. For journals that do not have Senior Area Editors, the AEs assist with this process.

After being notified that s/he is assigned a manuscript, the AE should first read the paper highlights to determine whether it is suitable to send out for review. Within 7 days, the AE should alert the EiC when a paper is a candidate for Immediate Rejection, providing a summary of the reasons for this decision.

A paper is a candidate for an Immediate Rejection if it is:

  • clearly out of scope for the journal,
  • of limited novelty (e.g. a straightforward combination of theories and algorithms that are well established and are repeated on a known scenario, no new experimental data or new application)
  • based on insufficient experimental data,
  • inadequate bibliography, and/or
  • poorly written (e.g. has a large number of grammatical errors, illegible figures, etc.).

A paper that is a resubmission of a previously rejected manuscript may also be a candidate for Immediate Reject. To be reconsidered, the submission must include a cover letter indicating the previous submission and summarizing substantial changes made to address reviewer comments and/or rebutting those comments.

Only the EiC can make the decision of Immediate Reject. S/he may consult with other AEs in making this decision.

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3.3.2. Identifying and Securing Reviewers.

The most important role of the AEis the identification of appropriate reviewers for each manuscript and for securing the agreement of the reviewers to conduct the review in the allotted time. This is central to the peer review process and triggers activities in the Publications Office and within the ScholarOne Manuscripts (S1M) system that set the peer review of a manuscript in motion. Therefore, it is extremely important that reviewers understand the time frame established for conducting the peer review and agree to the schedule. Additionally, that accurate contact information (in particular the e-mail address and telephone number) for each reviewer is maintained in the S1M reviewer database. When a reviewer is chosen, the associate editor must check any inaccuracies regarding the reviewer's information in the S1M database, or enter this information for reviewers not yet included in the S1M database. Corrections to the reviewer's information can only be made by the reviewer or the IEEE Signal Processing Society's publications staff.

Reviewers are principally identified through peer contact, through the reviewer database in the S1M system, or from references listed at the end of the manuscript. In rare circumstances, it may be necessary for the author to suggest possible expert reviewers, when a field is extremely narrow or new; in this case the AE may request that the author provide at least six (6) names of potential reviewers. This expedient should be used only in exceptional cases since using these reviewers may compromise the confidentiality of the review process. In such cases, it is preferable to use references in papers published by the suggested reviewers as an augmented pool from which to draw potential reviewers. Eventually, the Society's Publications Office hopes to provide suggested reviewers drawn from individuals who have published in one of the Society's transactions and whose submission EDICS match the EDICS of the paper to be reviewed. Note that IEEE Xplore, and other databases can be used effectively to augment the reference list and database entries of the S1M system.

1. Select reviewers across a range of ability: the more experienced, senior reviewer is balanced by more junior reviewers.

2. Request only one, but certainly no more than two, reviews from a single individual within a time span of three months.

3. The AE needs to find no fewer than two independent reviewers who accept to review the manuscript by the agreed deadline, however, the AE is strongly encouraged to obtain at least three independent reviewers to facilitate decisions in cases with mixed reviews. The S1M system expects AEs to assign a minimum of three reviewers. However, if the AE feels confident with the first two reviews, the AE may edit the "# reviews required to make decision" from three to two and proceed with decision. The AE by IEEE policy may not serve as a reviewer on any paper for which he/she is AE.

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3.3.3. Communicating with Reviewers.

Sometimes reviewers have questions or identify problems. The first line of communication, when problems arise concerning the review itself, is the AE. The AE must be available for such communication, probably by e-mail or phone, and responsive to such requests.

S1M automatically sends reminders to reviewers when they are late in returning reviews. However, when reviews are very late, the AE should send a personal note to establish a new deadline or determine that a new reviewer must be invited.

Reviewers may also contact the AE with an allegation of plagiarism or multiple publication. In such cases, the EiC should be informed immediately, and confidentiality should be maintained. Handling of such cases is described in Section 4.

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3.3.4. Communicating with Authors.

AEs will likely communicate with the author(s) more than once during the peer review process.

The AEwill determine the disposition of the manuscript, based on the remarks of the reviewers and the AE's own assessment of the manuscript. The decision must be well justified and explained in detail. In the case where revisions (minor or major) are requested, these should be clearly indicated and explained in the decision. The AE must convey promptly this decision to the author. The author may contact the Associate Editor if instructions regarding required amendments to the manuscript are not clear.

The author may contact the AE to ask for an extension, or the AE may need to contact the author when a revision is overdue. Extensions of more than 2 weeks are possible under special circumstances but require EiC approval. See Section 5.2.7 for more information.

The author may contact the AE about timing of the decisions. The AE should respond by either providing a reminder of the standard decision time or acknowledging that the decision is overdue and stating that they are actively working to bring this to closure. The author may contact the AE to object to a decision. These AE should respond saying that the concerns are being forwarded to the EiC.

An author may, at any point of the peer review, choose to withdraw a manuscript from consideration. The status of such manuscripts is WD.

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3.3.5. Communicating with the Society's Publications Office.

An important communications interface is the one between the AE and the staff of the IEEE Signal Processing Society's Publications Office. As much as possible, this communication should be via e-mail, which provides fast movement of critical information. Copies of e-mails generated using the S1Mdatabase are automatically recorded in the database and, thus, assist in building a complete file on a manuscript. Yet, the Publications Office must be copied on all of your correspondence because it assists in building a complete file on a manuscript, eliminating the retention of large amounts of paper by AEs (the Publications Office retains a master file for six months following publication), and because it triggers "next steps" in the manuscript handling process.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, when an AE anticipates being out of contactfor two weeks or more, that the Publications Office be notified of the absence and be provided with at least one means of emergency contact (e-mail, phone, or fax). An AE IS NOT RELIEVED of editorial duties during any protracted absences such as extended vacations or sabbatical. In such events, the Publications Office must be provided with and updated on full contact information. In the case that a long absence or reduced load is necessary for personal reasons, the AE must make arrangements with the EiC and the EiC will communicate the plan to the Publications Office.

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3.3.6. Blind Reviews.

Reviews of manuscripts submitted to Society publications are "blind" reviews: the identity of each of the reviewers is never revealed to the author or others. The AE must assure that the identities of the reviewers are kept confidential.

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3.4. Workload.

As a norm, an AE shall not be assigned more than three manuscripts per month on average during his/her term of service. This does not mean that each AE WILL receive three manuscripts each month, but Associate Editors covering popular EDICS categories may be more active than those covering more esoteric EDICS. Occasionally, a higher workload may be assigned to keep papers moving quickly, but if such assignments are frequent, then the AE should recommend to the EiC that new AEs be nominated. Any difficulties with workload should be reported IMMEDIATELY to the Publications Office. Temporary relief can be administered to assure that workloads do not fall behind.

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Author misconduct includes data misrepresentation/fabrication, plagiarism, and multiple publication. Author misconduct is unacceptable and may be actionable by the IEEE, as described in the guidelines for authors and the PSPB Operations Manual.

IEEE defines plagiarism as the use of someone else’s prior ideas, processes, results, or words without explicitly acknowledging the original author and source. Plagiarism includes verbatim copying someone else’s work without appropriate credit and using someone else’s work without clear delineation of citation.

Duplicate submission of a single journal manuscript to two different journals is considered self-plagiarism, as is submission of two different journal manuscripts which overlap substantially in language or technical contribution. Authors may only submit original work that has not appeared elsewhere in a journal publication, nor is under review for another journal publication. Limited overlap with prior journal publications with a common author is allowed only if it is necessary for the readability of the paper. If authors have used their own previously published work as a basis for a new submission, they are required to cite the previous work and briefly indicate how the new submission offers substantively novel contributions beyond those of the previously published work. It is acceptable for conference papers to be used as the basis for a more fully developed journal submission. Still, authors are required to cite the related conference papers; the papers cannot be identical; and the journal publication must include novel aspects.

If an AE suspects author misconduct, s/he should immediately contact their EiC to determine the proper course of action. The AE may be asked to provide documentation explaining the allegation, including markup of regions of the manuscript involved and an electronic version of the plagiarized source. The EiC will take over the communication with the authors and with any reviewer making an allegation.

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As mentioned in the introduction above, the IEEE has established – as a strategic goal – the publication of manuscripts within six months of submission. The IEEE Technical Activities Board, in support of this goal, has established a guideline for publication in less than one year from date of submission.

At the time of publication of a manuscript, three dates are listed along with the manuscript: the formal date of submission of the manuscript (the date the manuscript is received by the Publications Office), the final revision date (the date the final revision is received by the Publications Office), and the date of the AE’s letter or e-mail finally approving the manuscript for publication (the accept “A” status date). These three dates are the landmarks for measuring the time from submission to publication.

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5.1. Manuscript Submission.

All of the transactions of the IEEE Signal Processing Society publish, in each issue, "Information for Authors" to guide the submission process.

Within this guide, please be familiar with the following terms and how they are used during the peer review process:

  1. Original Submission: An original submission is a manuscript that has not been submitted to that specific publication before. Original manuscripts appear in the system with a simple ID number. Note: A manuscript is still considered “original” if it was submitted and rejected within any other publication. Any paper still in review within another publication MAY NOT be submitted to any SPS publication.
  2. Revision: A revision is a manuscript that already received either an AQ (accept with mandatory revisions), AQE (accept with mandatory English usage revisions), or and RQ (major revisions) decision in a previous round of review. These manuscripts appear in the system with an ".R1," ".R2," ("Revision-1," "Revision-2"), etc. suffix at the end of their ID numbers.
  3. Resubmission: A resubmission is a paper that received an R (reject) decision in a previous round of review. Authors may resubmit after rejection only once to whatever publication from which the manuscript was rejected. To resubmit a manuscript, authors will have to submit as a new manuscript, submitted their “response to reviewers” as supplemental documents for review. Authors should also provide a cover letter that includes the previous rejected paper’s AE name and ID number. Resubmitted manuscripts appear in the system with a simple ID number. Note: if a manuscript was rejected from a different publication, authors do not need to provide background information of the rejected version unless requested by the AE or reviewers. Authors need only provide information about rejected papers when resubmitting (i.e. submitted again) to the same publication that previously rejected the manuscript.
  4. Special Issue Paper: A special issue paper is a paper submitted to a specific special issue being organized by a special issue Guest Editorial Staff. Authors should only submit to a special issue after careful consideration of that special issue’s Call for Papers, which outlines the scope of the special issue.
  5. Comment, Correction, and Errata: See section 7.0 of this guide.
  6. Overview Article: See section 8.0 of this guide.

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5.1.1. New Submissions.

All new submissions are entered electronically by the authors via the ScholarOne Manuscripts portal: ( (For Transactions on Multimedia use: Staff and Associate Editors will access the manuscript electronically via this system. An e-mail is generated to notify all authors and the staff of the successful submission.

Upon submission to the ScholarOne Manuscripts system, the manuscript is issued a Manuscript Tracking Number, which is an entry into the database containing the author's(s') contact information, the electronic version of the manuscript, the review status, all communication to the authors and reviewers, and other pertinent information necessary to track the manuscript through peer review.

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5.1.2. Manuscript Verification.

The Publications Office staff checks the submitted materials to determine that the manuscript meets submission requirements and that all electronic files are legible and do not contain undefined/corrupted fonts.

Requirements for submission include:

  • One electronic copy formatted single-spaced, double-column to establish with the author, associate editor, and reviewers the estimated final publication length if the manuscript were to be published as received
  • Names of ALL authors (including identification of the Corresponding Author and a BACKUP contact author, in the event the corresponding author cannot be reached), their complete contact information, and affiliation should be included on BOTH the manuscript itself and on S1M where authors are asked to provide information regarding "Author & Institutions."
  • A recommended EDICS (Editorial Information Classification Scheme) identifier, which allows automated selection of the next available Associate Editor to manage the peer review of the manuscript
  • An abstract of no more than 200 words for a regular paper, stating the scope of the paper and summarizing the author's conclusions so that the abstract itself may be useful in information retrieval. Comment Correspondences need not have an abstract, but if one is included it should be no more than 50 words.
  • A cover letter disclosing if the submission has been previously reviewed by any IEEE journals, or if it is a resubmission of a previously rejected paper. In the latter case, a detailed response to the reviewers’ comments and an explanation of revision should be included.

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5.1.3. Manuscript Submission Length.

Authors are required to provide an electronic copy of their manuscript in single-space, double-column format. The single-spaced, double-column copy will be used by the Publication Office as a measure of the estimated length of the paper if it were published on submission. The initial submission must be no longer than 13 pages for a regular transactions manuscript, 24 pages for an overview article, 2 pages for a comment correspondence, and 4 pages for a letters manuscript. Revised versions of overview articles and regular transactions papers may exceed these limits by up to 3 pages. AEs are asked to monitor the length of papers throughout the review process. Exceptions to page limits may be approved by the EiC in consultation with the VP Publications.

The Society's Publications Board has established ten (10) pages as the appropriate length for the finalized transactions manuscript, for regular papers. Authors who exceed the guidelines are required to pay Mandatory Over length Page Charges, as described in the “Information for Authors” for the associated periodical.

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5.2. Peer Review Schedule.

After the manuscript has been received and has met appropriate submission criteria, an Associate Editor is selected by the Publications Office, by matching the EDICS and taking into account the workload of each Associate Editor to assure that, as a norm, no Associate Editor is assigned more than three manuscripts per month.

The transactions published by the IEEE Signal Processing Society will function according to the following standard timeline and every effort will be made to keep all parties to the peer review to this schedule.

See Section 12.0 for helpful ScholarOne Manuscripts links.

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5.2.1. Step 0: Step 0: Compliance Tests: 1-3 Business Days.

The SPS Publications Staff checks the manuscript for submission criteria, such as format and length.

If the manuscript is non-compliant in one or more criteria, the manuscript is rescinded and the authors are informed. Problems with pdf legibility (e.g., missing fonts) are resolved by interaction with the corresponding author(s).

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5.2.2. Step 1: AE Assignment: One Week.

Manuscripts passing the compliance test and the initial screening step (if the journal has this mechanism) will be assigned by the SPS Publications Staff or the EiC to the next available AE based on EDICS and AE workload. Upon selection of the AE, S1M sends an e-mail message to the AE, notifying the AE that the manuscript is in his/her AE Center. If the AE has a conflict of interest with any of the authors on a manuscript that has been assigned to them, s/he should alert the Publications Staff and the EiC so that it can be reassigned. Conflicts of interest include recent collaborators and colleagues in the same institution.

If one of the authors on the submitted manuscript is the EiC, the VP Publications will handle the paper decision, but the reviewing process may be managed by an AE assigned by the VP Publications or SPS Publications Staff.

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5.2.3. Step 2: Assignment of Reviewers: Two Weeks.

  1. The AE selects qualified reviewers. The AE can choose from existing entries in the S1M reviewer database or has the option of entering new reviewers into the S1M system. Note: searching by name in the S1M database is more effective if only a few characters of the last name are entered. Reviewers with accent marks or other special characters in their names will not show up unless the name is precisely typed. Problems also occur in names of Asian reviewers where submission of the name may have been done last-name-first or with names of reviewers from some Spanish-speaking countries where two family names are used. For this reason, the broadest possible search is recommended and new entries should be created only if the reviewer does not already have an S1M account. Reviewers do not like to maintain multiple accounts because it causes them to miss work assignments. The merging of two accounts, which must be done by Publications staff, is time consuming and error prone because of the size and complexity of the files. Thus, duplication of accounts is to be avoided. Further, AEs are required to check existing reviewer information and provide updates for inaccurate or outdated information to the staff, who are the only ones who can amend the reviewer file.
  2. The AE has to click on the "invite" button for the reviewer to be invited. The system sends an e-mail message to the reviewer inviting him/her to review the paper. This e-mail includes the abstract of the paper. The AE has the option to edit the contents of the e-mail, as well as the e-mail address of the reviewer.
  3. The reviewer has to respond to the invitation. The invitation will include "agree" and "decline" links, allowing reviewers to automatically reply; however, reviewers may also contact the AE or journal administrator with help "agreeing" to review papers. This should be immediate (not to exceed 3 days).
  4. For reviewers who do not respond quickly enough, the system will generate reminder-e-mails for the invited reviewer. The reminder often has the desired effect of eliciting some response.
  5. Both the reviewer and the AE on behalf of the reviewer have the ability to “agree” or “decline” in the system. Once a reviewer has “agreed” to review the paper in the system, an e-mail message to the reviewer is generated that can again be edited by the AE. After the "agreed" button has been clicked and the e-mail sent, the manuscript appears in the S1M Reviewer Center of that reviewer. For security reasons, the reviewer's password is sent separately, upon request, to the e-mail address known to the system. NOTE: At this point, it is essential that the e-mail address of the reviewer be accurate. If the reply from the reviewer indicates new contact information, this has to be entered into the S1M system by the SPS staff BEFORE the "agreed" button can be clicked.
  6. The AE should guarantee that at least three reviewers accept the assignment to review the manuscript by the agreed time. The AE should invite initially at least four reviewers, and not more than six. Having more than three reviewers accept the reviewing assignment may greatly reduce the risk of delays later.

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5.2.4. Step 3: Monitoring the Peer Review Process: Six Weeks.

  1. If the review is not returned in six weeks and one day, S1M sends a gentle reminder; this is a general, non-editable, e-mail message. It is a global reminder. A second reminder is sent within ten days of the first. The AE is copied on each of these e-mail messages and these messages are also stored in the database and accessible to the AE through the AE Center. The messages are sent in the name of the SPS Publications staff.
  2. If a reviewer does not respond within 5 days after the second reminder, the AE should contact him/her directly. If the reviewer still does not provide the review promptly, it is essential that the AE look for a replacement reviewer and request an early review. Note that active involvement of the AE is critical as most significant delays occur at this point.
  3. When a reviewer uploads the review, the reviewer needs to formally submit the review by clicking the "submit” button. Only then does the system accept the review and generate e-mail messages to the AE and the SPS Publications staff notifying them that the review is completed and posted to the system. There is a provision for file attachments to enable detailed comments to the authors and (perhaps separately) to the AE. The reviewer needs to make sure that his/her identify is not revealed in the attachments to the authors.
  4. When all the reviews of "agreed" reviewers have been posted, S1M generates another message to the AE informing him/her that all reviews have been posted.

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5.2.5. Step 4: AE Decision: One Week.

  1. At the point where at least two reviews are available and the six-week deadline has passed, the AE should look at the reviews and possibly make a decision, even if all of the requested and agreed reviews are not in. If the AE is comfortable enough with the reviews already submitted, he/she can go forward with a decision based on the available reviews. If that is the case, the AE has to click the button "decline review" on all of the other agreed reviewers. This will generate a polite message to the remaining reviewers thanking them and informing them that the decision has been made. The AE should edit the e-mail to make it a "friendly" communication.
  2. The AE, based on the reviews of the manuscript, determines whether or not, and under what circumstances, the manuscript can be published. An AE may decide (see also Section 8):
    • R - 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 six weeks the author is allotted prior to the next review round. The decision of R should be made clear in the AEs comments. Authors should not be encouraged to resubmit papers that are irredeemable.
    • A - To accept the paper with no changes. This manuscript requires no additional reviews, although there may be some small fixes--typos, etc.--which the Associate Editor indicates must be corrected. This manuscript will, essentially, be published "as is," with no additional action by the reviewers or Associate Editor.
    • AQ - 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.
    • AQE - To accept the paper with minor but required changes, specifically regarding the use of English in the manuscript, that the AE can adjudicate directly. This manuscript meets the criteria of novelty and appropriateness, but requires a few fixes, usually 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.
    • RQ - To provisionally accept the paper with major, required revisions that will require a second full review cycle by the original and/or additional 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.
  3. The AE posts the decision through the ScholarOne Manuscripts system. This is a two-step process. First, select the decision and the system asks: "Are you sure." Until the AE presses the "finalized decision" button, the decision is not yet submitted. At this point, a template e-mail to the authors is generated that should be edited by the AE, and the reviews are automatically appended to the end of the e-mail. NOTE: Any attached files for the author posted to the system by the reviewer are not attached to the e-mail for security reasons (virus prevention). The attachments are made available to the author in their Author Center.
  4. The AE needs to confirm the contents of the attachment files, when reading the reviewers' comments and before making the decision, assuring that the reviewers' identities are not included in any attachments.
  5. The AE decision should elaborate on the comments of the reviewers. The relevant points can be emphasized and irrelevant or inappropriate comments can be deemphasized. In the case of mandatory revisions, the AE has to specify precisely what revisions are required to make the paper acceptable.
  6. The AE's decision is to "reject" or “accept” is a FINAL decision in the system.
  7. Note that it is appropriate, and it is encouraged, for the AE to send a thank-you note to a reviewer after he/she has sent in the review.
  8. Copies of the AE's decision letter and the reviews are automatically sent to all of the reviewers who have submitted a review of the manuscript. The AE will consider the comments of the reviewers and make his decision. Upon clicking "commit decision," an editable e-mail template will appear for the AE to inform the authors (and reviewers via blind copy) of the decision. (To ensure that the template appears, be sure your pop-up blockers will allow pop-ups from S1M.) This is out of courtesy to the reviewers who bear the disposition of their review as well as having the benefit of the other blind reviews. Access to the reviews is also important when a reviewer is asked to review a revised submission, since it enables an understanding of the changes made by the author(s), along with the author's(s') response to the reviewers.

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5.2.6. Step 5: Revision of Manuscript: 3 Weeks (AQ) or 6 Weeks (RQ).

  1. The author is required to upload the revised version of the manuscript within six weeks. If the revision cannot be made within this period, the author has to contact the AE and the journal administrator and agree upon an amended resubmission date. The AE can agree to extensions of up to two weeks. Longer extensions should be approved by the EiC. Authors who do not upload their materials to S1M on schedule and do not respond to attempts to contact them regarding the material may have their manuscripts withdrawn as a matter of process. This WD status can only be entered by the SPS Publications Office staff after the approval of the EiC.
  2. The author also has to click on the reply to reviewers; comments, and enter a point-by-point summary of the changes he/she/they have made to the paper, as recommended by the AE and reviewers' comments. These author comments are entered into text format with no equations. There is a provision for uploading a separate pdf file with a formatted reply that can include equations. Additionally, it is recommended and encouraged that the comments to the reviews be uploaded along with the author’s revision files (under “upload files” during the submission process). Uploading the comments in this second area ensure that the comments will appear in the pdf proof for both the AE and the reviewers.The author also has to click on the reply to reviewers; comments, and enter a point-by-point summary of the changes he/she/they have made to the paper, as recommended by the AE and reviewers' comments. These author comments are entered into text format with no equations. There is a provision for uploading a separate pdf file with a formatted reply that can include equations. Additionally, it is recommended and encouraged that the comments to the reviews be uploaded along with the author’s revision files (under "upload files" during the submission process). Uploading the comments in this second area ensures that the comments will appear in the pdf proof for both the AE and the reviewers.
  3. When the author submits the revised manuscript and clicks the "submit" button, S1M generates an e-mail to the AE and the SPS Publications Office staff that notifies them that the revision has been submitted.

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5.2.7. Step 6.1: Review of Revised AQ Manuscript: Three Weeks.

  1. The Associate Editor reviews the amended AQ manuscript and makes the final decision ("accept" or "reject") using the S1M system.
  2. For revisions of AQ decision papers, the Associate Editor is encouraged to make a decision based on the changes made without returning the manuscript to reviewers for another round of review. AEs may change the "# reviews required to make decision" to "0" (in the case of AQ revisions ONLY), which will prompt the system to alert the AE that he may now make a decision on the paper.
  3. AEs may return AQ revisions to reviewers, but ONLY for clarification. In these cases, AEs may return the manuscript to only a portion of the reviewers if clarification is only needed from one or some of them. The AE may change the "# reviews required to make decision" to any number, depending on how many of the reviewers he needs clarification from before making his decision.
  4. The "accept" e-mail contains information on final manuscript submission. The SPS Publications Office staff is copied on the message.


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5.2.8. Step 6.2: Review of Revised RQ Manuscript: Three Weeks.

  1. The AE invites, once again, the reviewers that previously agreed to review the manuscript by clicking on the "agreed" button. This provides access to the reviewers to the revised manuscript and sends an e-mail message to notify the reviewers of its availability. If additional reviewers are needed, they can be invited following the procedures in Step 2 (sec 5.2.3), but this should only be for exceptional circumstances, e.g. if one of the original reviewers is not available.
  2. Reviewers re-review the RQ manuscript, as amended, and provide comments as in Steps 2-3, above.
  3. The Associate Editor makes a decision: A (accept), R (reject), AQE or AQ (accept with minor mandatory changes). If the manuscript requires other than the most minor amendment, the manuscript must either be rejected by the Associate Editor or withdrawn by the author. No manuscript will be accorded the status of RQ more than once. That is, no manuscript will receive more than two full rounds of peer review.
  4. The "accept" e-mail contains information on final manuscript submission. The SPS Publications Office staff is copied on the message.

    NOTE: AEs may not change the "# of review required to make decision" down from 2 for RQ revisions. For RQ revisions, AEs much acquire, at least, two reviews.

    At this point, the review process is finalized and the AE has no further access to the manuscript in S1M.

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5.2.9. Step 7: Final Submission: 2 Weeks.

The author submits the final production materials online via ScholarOne Manuscripts according to the guidelines included in the e-mail of the final decision. Upon receipt of all materials, S1M sends an automatic acknowledgment. The author has two weeks (14 days) to provide the finalized manuscript in proper format.

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5.2.10. Step 8: Assembly of the Issue:

The SPS Publications Office staff assembles the table of contents and the finalized manuscripts for each issue of the transactions and letters. The staff then submits the issue to production 12 weeks prior to the cover date of the issue. Thus, in May, the staff are preparing the August issue for transmittal to production. The publication date of the finalized manuscript is affected by any existing backlog as well as delays caused by the authors themselves in submitting complete materials in appropriate formats.

NOTE: for a basic timeline of peer review, please click here.

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5.3. Reports available to the AE.

In the main menu of the Associate Editor Center is an item, "Reports." Clicking on this bring up various lists: Manuscripts Accepted; Manuscripts Rejected; Manuscripts Received By Decision; Outstanding Revisions. For more information, review the S1M Cognos Users Guide:

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6.1. Novelty and Appropriateness.

The two most important scores a manuscript will receive are:

  • Novelty: Does the manuscript disclose new science, or contain fresh new approaches to established science?
  • Appropriateness: Is the manuscript a good "fit" for the publication, appealing to the publication's "audience?" Is the manuscript "complete," not requiring propping up by other work to permit understanding of the disclosure.

These criteria must be affirmative for the manuscript to be accepted.

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6.2. Disclosure.

The transactions are published in English. The manner of disclosure of the author's findings must be sufficiently literate in English to convey the author's ideas. While current trends in academic writing show a preference for "active voice" (making the author an active player, rather than a passive observer, in the science), such considerations are not necessary to the selection of a manuscript for publication. However, manuscripts that are loosely written and repetitious, and that restate established scientific principles, instead of merely providing the appropriate reference to such science, will require reworking. It will be up to the reviewers and the Associate Editor to determine whether this is an easy fix (accomplished in a one more round of reviews), or a major undertaking (in which case the author probably should be advised to withdraw the manuscript and resubmit it after major revamping has occurred).

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7.1. Definitions.

There are three types of short correspondences that may be submitted to the transactions:

(A) Comment Correspondence: a short note that comments on a paper or correspondence previously published in the same transactions. A Comment Correspondence, and any rebuttal thereto, must be focused on technical matters only and may not contain any personalized or ad hominem remarks.

(B) Corrections: A short note, typically from one of the original authors, which provides a correction to errors in equations or proofs that were missed in the review and proofing process.

(C) Errata: The IEEE publishes errata due to production errors introduced after the publishing process.

Corrections/Errata from the original authors should be sent directly by email to the Editor-in-Chief. Comment correspondences items are submitted in the same manner as regular manuscripts but will be reviewed as described below.

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7.2. Review Procedure for Comment Correspondence.

  1. The review of a Comment Correspondence is to be handled similarly to a regular manuscript, except as determined below. The Associate Editor should designate at least two reviewers and should be actively involved in the procedure to guarantee speed. Comment Correspondence should be published rapidly after the original paper, otherwise the comments are obsolete. This should be possible because of the short length of this type of submission.
  2. The authors of the original paper being commented upon in the Comment Correspondence are not to be used as reviewers to eliminate the parallel development by those authors of a competing paper. Further, the AE should avoid using as reviewers all those who may have a conflict of interest with the Comments Correspondence, e.g., individuals who share the same employers as any/all of the authors of the original paper.
  3. In the event a Comment Correspondence is accepted for publication, the AE sends the authors of the original paper a copy of the Correspondence and invites them to rebut the Correspondence within a reasonably short period (approximately 3 weeks). Such rebuttal will be handled by the same AE and peer reviewed by the same reviewers as the original Comment Correspondence. However, the rebuttal is not under any circumstance to be shared with the authors of the Comment Correspondence, preventing the formation of an off-line correspondence loop.
  4. Once both the Comment Correspondence and any reviewed and approved rebuttal are recommended for publication, the Associate Editor shall notify the Editor-in-Chief of the transactions. The Editor-in-Chief will review both the Comment Correspondence and the rebuttal and make the final decision regarding publication of the Comment Correspondence or the Comment Correspondence and the rebuttal.

    If the decision of the Editor-in-Chief is to publish both the Comment Correspondence and the rebuttal, the authors of the Comment Correspondence will be provided with a copy of the rebuttal. However, at this point, the author of the Comment Correspondence will be permitted no further comment (no rebuttal of the rebuttal).
  5. The Comment Correspondence author, upon reviewing the rebuttal, may choose to request that his/her Comment Correspondence be withdrawn. If the Comment Correspondence is withdrawn, neither the original Comment Correspondence nor the rebuttal will be published in the transactions. If the decision of the original Comment Correspondence author is not to withdraw, then the Comment Correspondence and the rebuttal will appear together in a future issue of the transactions. NO FURTHER REBUTTALS will be published.

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Overview articles are intended to be of solid technical depth and lasting value and should provide advanced readers with a thorough overview of various fields of interest. Overview articles are technically more thorough than tutorials, which are intended for readers with little background in a given field and are usually published in the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. Overview articles are expected to be longer than regular manuscripts; their length is allowed to be as much as double the length of regular submissions with exceptions if approved by the EiC.

Authors interested in submitting overview articles are required to consult first with the EiC of their Transactions of choice before submitting a white paper proposal. The EiC solicits input from the Senior Area Editors (if applicable) or the full Editorial Board on whether to encourage submission of a full paper, and then forwards those that are given positive review to the Publications Board for approval. If approved for submission, the overview article is subject to the same rigorous review process as all other regular submissions. It is expected that the time from submission to publication of accepted Overview Articles will not to exceed one year.

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The Society presents a number of paper awards each year. To help identify candidates for these awards, the manuscript review form provides a space that permits each reviewer to indicate whether he/she believes the manuscript is of award quality. If the answer to the question is: "Yes," the reviewer is requested to provide specifics.

The Associate Editors are requested to nominate award quality papers.

Award nominations should be communicated to the Society's Publications Office. The Publications Office will provide copies of the nominations to both the cognizant Technical Committee that has responsibility for evaluating the nomination and to the Awards Board that has responsibility for the final decision.

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The IEEE Signal Processing Society is committed to reducing the time from manuscript submission to publication, realizing that timely publication increases the quality of a journal, and its desirability among top authors as a publication venue for their work. The Society's goal is to publish within the TAB guidelines.

In the review scenario employingS1M, the AEs are relied upon to solicit knowledgeable reviewers who will commit to a review cycle that is speedy, but of sufficient term. TheAE, as "manager" of the peer review of each manuscript assigned to him/her is depended upon to be an active and motivating participant in the peer review process. The role of the Signal Processing Society's Publications Office staff is to support timely processing and enable the peer-to-peer interactions that are so important to the scientific publications process.

The publications supported and/or managed by the Signal Processing Society are well respected journals at the top of the fields they cover. The Society is committed to excellence in all of its activities, and especially in its publications. The IEEE Signal Processing Society is proud and grateful to have you participate in this quest.

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11.0. ScholarOne Manuscripts: Helpful Links!

ScholarOne Manuscripts:

ScholarOne Manuscripts User Guide:

ScholarOne Manuscripts Tutorials:

ScholarOne Manuscripts and Cognos Reporting:

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12.0. Publication Activities Webpages.

SPS By-Laws:

SPS Policy & Procedures:

IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual:

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13.0. SPS Publication Webpages.

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing:

IEEE Signal Processing Letters:

IEEE Signal Processing Magazine:

IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing:

IEEE Transactions on Image Processing:

IEEE Transactions on Information, Forensics, and Security:

IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing:

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