This guide was created to serve several purposes. First, and most importantly, the material contained in this guide was put together as a tool for Guest Editors who are in the process of developing an issue of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (J-SAC). Guest Editors will find herein a detailed list of all the steps that must be followed in bringing a J-SAC issue successfully to press. Also included are examples of the various forms and letters that are used in the development of an issue. We have attempted to anticipate questions and problems. A secondary purpose of this material is to provide a document that summarizes the J-SAC publication process. It is also hoped that this material will prove useful to those considering the submission of a proposal for a J-SAC issue and to those serving on the J-SAC management team. Since, however, our main concern is for Guest Editors, it is to them that we address this document.
J-SAC is different from most other technical publications! It is different from the IEEE Transactions on Communications, the journal with which most of our authors have experience. Each issue of J-SAC deals with a specific topic, and there is usually little technical overlap between issues. The difference is both the reason for our existence and the primary source of our difficulties. With J-SAC you are dealing with complete issues rather than individual papers. Most of the authors realize this fact but fail to realize the impact. Publications that deal with papers have the option of "rolling over" late papers to a later issue. We do not have this option since the following J-SAC issue is probably devoted to a completely different subject. We have contracts with our typesetters, printers, and with the post office that tie us to a rather tight publication schedule. We also have an implied contract with our readers that a J-SAC subscription will result in an issue being delivered to them in specific months. As a result timing is very important, and it is absolutely necessary that the issue remain on schedule. It is not possible to delay an issue waiting for one or two late papers to be completed. If a paper is late, and the deadline for submission has past, the paper may be dropped from the issue. This is obviously a situation that should be avoided.
Currently J-SAC publishes nine regular issues per year. A typical pagecount is 1900 pages annually. A roster of previous J-SAC issues gives an indication of the scope of J-SAC.
All J-SAC issues begin life as a proposal. The guidelines for preparing a proposal are included in this guide. The proposal is evaluated by the J-SAC Board, and the proposer is notified by the Board of the outcome of the evaluation process approximately one month after the proposal is submitted.
Once the proposal for the J-SAC issue is approved by the J-SAC Board, a call-for-papers will be published in J-SAC and in other appropriate publications of the IEEE Communications Society. At this time a publication date for the issue will be established. All material for the issue will be due at IEEE Publishing four months prior to the first day of the month in which the issue is to be published. The Guest Editors will be notified of these deadlines early in the process. The most difficult job of the Guest Editors is to insure that the issue stays on schedule. The problems most likely to be encountered are that the review process gets bogged down, revisions by the authors take longer than expected, or the Guest Editorial is late. It is therefore very important that the review process be monitored very carefully and that the process stays on schedule. The Guest Editors are also advised to begin work on the Editorial as soon as the issue begins to take shape.
The Guest Editors will be assigned a J-SAC Board Representative (a.k.a. mentor) early in the process. The J-SAC Board Representative will be one of the J-SAC Senior Editors familiar with the publication process and stands by to help the Guest Editors with any problems.
J-SAC issues usually contain between 8 and 25 papers, with an average of about 18 papers plus a Guest Editorial per issue. It is most important that we publish only original (not previously published in a technical journal) contributions that have high-quality technical content and are well-written. Quality and originality can only be insured through a well-managed review process. The principal criterion for selecting a paper for publication in a special issue should be the quality of the paper. A small issue containing excellent papers is preferable to a large issue padded with mediocre papers. Guest editors who expect to accept more than 25 papers for their special issue must work with the mentor for their issue to determine whether such a large issue is warranted.
We hope that this package of material provides the background necessary for producing a successful issue. A section is included covering every step in the publication process. Please review this material carefully, and refer to it often. Experience has shown that this material can save you considerable time and trouble. If you discover something that should be added to this guide, please contact one of us.
We are confident that your issue will be an outstanding technical contribution, and we hope that the development and publication run smoothly for you.