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Editor Guidelines

Being an Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications (TWC) is a recognition of your technical achievements, deep expertise, and prominent stature in the wireless research community, as well as a significant responsibility.  I greatly appreciate your service to the journal, and also expect a high level of dedication and commitment to excellence from all members of the Editorial Board.

Some important things for you to know are now laid out.

  • Please immediately sign up for the TWC Editors email list, which is a Google group called “twireless-communications-editors”.  I use this list for making all important announcements to the Editorial board.  Please be sure to select a subscription option that results in you actually receiving the emails sent to the group (under 10 a year).  Quick link: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/twireless-communications-editors

  • You will be added as an Editor shortly to both the TWC webpage http://www.comsoc.org/twc as well as the printed Transactions.   If you do not see yourself added after about 1 month (webpage) and 3 months (journal), let us know.  You will also be added to ScholarOne Manuscript Central as an Editor.

  • Your initial appointment is for one year, renewable afterward for 2 years on 2 occasions.  Thus, Editors retire automatically after a full term of 5 years, but can retire sooner if they prefer, or may be retired by the EIC at any time (for example if the timeliness and rigor of the editorial decisions is below expectations).

  • The target workload for an Editor is 1.5 papers/month, or 18 papers a year.   Papers are assigned to you by your Area Editor, after a screening for both content (topic, writing, technical quality) and correct formatting by the Executive Editorial Committee and the Editorial Office. Only papers that pass both screenings are sent to an Area Editor.  You can work with your Area Editor to help tune your assignments to topics you have expertise in and/or are interested in.   You should return to the Area Editor any paper where you have a conflict of interest, or the possible appearance of such a conflict, with any of the authors.

  •  For each paper, you will need to immediately solicit 3 high quality reviewers, ensure the reviews are returned on time, and are of a quality commiserate with the stature of TWC.  In particular:

    • At least two of the reviews should be “solid” and detailed.  Some instructions and/or guidelines for such reviews can be found here.

    • The reviewers should also not have any conflicts with the authors, and also should be drawn from a diverse pool to insure different points of view, i.e. not close collaborators with each other.  They should include at least one high quality person selected by you alone and not cited in the paper’s references.

    • In the case that you receive two credible reviews suggesting reject, the Editor has an option of making a decision at that point without waiting for the final review.

  • The Editorial decision is yours – not the reviewers.  The reviewers serve as indispensible input, and justification for your decision, but the correct and appropriate decision must be taken by the Editor and not just based on a majority vote from the Reviewers.   For example, two reviewers may recommend accept, but the third finds a fundamental flaw.  Or two reviewers urge reject for reasons you consider unessential, e.g. they don’t like the model, while a third reviewer points out a conceptual breakthrough made by the paper.  Breakthrough papers often introduce new models and ways of thinking that reviewers may not appreciate, or even feel threatened by.  Your main job as an Editor is to make sure that weak papers don’t get through (even if the reviewers give it a “pass”), and that excellent papers don’t get rejected.  Own your decisions and the papers you handle.

  • All Editorial decisions require a written justification, summarizing the key points leading to your decision.  This is very important, and I insist upon this (I read through most decisions made by our Editors).  In the case of a Reject decision, this would include the key flaws in the paper.  In the case of a Revision decision, it would also include your view of essential enhancements the authors must make or any other particular issues related to the paper.  The one exception is that accepting a paper after just minor revisions (e.g. after a 2nd revision) may not require any editorial summary.

  • The five allowable Editorial decisions are:

    • Accept – never given to an initial submission, this is usually given to a strong paper after 1-2 rounds of revision

    • Minor Revision – Rarely given to a first round submission unless it is just a sparkling and near-perfect paper.  This is a common decision after a high quality major revision has been completed.

    • Major Revision – This is the typical first round decision for a very good or excellent paper, which will be enhanced substantially by such a revision based on the detailed reviews you have collected.  This decision should be used with great hesitance on the second round: generally if it still needs major revisions, it should then be rejected.

    • Reject – This is our most common decision, and means that the paper is just not up to the quality we require for TWC.  In some cases, the major issues you and reviewers identify can possibly be fixed with a “super-major” revision, but in this case Reject is still the correct decision. The authors can always later resubmit the paper as a new submission, which we will generally direct back to you for further consideration. 

    • Immediate Reject – If you think the paper is just not up to our high standards, and that getting reviews will be a waste of everyone’s time, we encourage you to use this option. In this case you should write a one paragraph summary of your decision, and run it by your Area Editor first.  Note that at the EIC level, we (the EIC and Executive Editorial Committee) are also trying to reject such papers before they get to you, but in many cases you may have more expertise on the topic that us and so we may be more conservative than necessary.

  • Submission policies are listed here http://www.comsoc.org/twc/submit-manuscript.  In particular:

    • If you suspect any paper of plagiarism or double publishing (with another journal paper), let your Area Editor know right away.

    • We have created detailed questions for the authors when they submit their papers.  You can view their answers in ScholarOne by going to the “Author-Supplied Data” box, and clicking on the Custom Questions.  These can help you identify closely related papers and some potential reviewers and quickly grasp the paper’s content.

    • We take a very lenient view on conference papers being extended/enhanced and submitted as journal papers.  This is not double publishing and we do not want to punish authors for also presenting (and thus publishing) their best work at conferences.   They simply must cite the conference version(s) in the journal paper, but no explicit differentiation is required. This is a matter of frustratingly high inconsistency throughout our community but this is the TWC policy, which I strongly believe is the correct one.  More on this issue here.