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Each issue of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (J-SAC) is devoted to a specific technical topic and thus provides to J-SAC readers a collection of up-to-date papers on that topic. These issues are valuable to the research community and become valuable references. The technical topics covered by J-SAC issues span the entire field of communications and networking.

A number of stimuli give rise to quality proposals. Proposals come from individuals having expertise in an emerging technical area who also wish to make a significant technical contribution by bringing together the expertise of others working in the same area. Technical workshops are especially appropriate sources of J-SAC proposals since workshops usually deal with new cutting edge technology. Technical sessions at IEEE Communications Society sponsored conferences can also stimulate proposals. Organizers of workshops and conference sessions covering new as well as perennially popular topics in communications are encouraged to propose J-SAC special issues on notable developments of these topics. In addition, the work of IEEE Communications Society technical committees can serve as a catalyst for J-SAC proposals. The success of J-SAC depends upon a continuing flow of quality proposals. Any of the J-SAC editors can help with proposal preparation.

Topics for J-SAC issues are determined by the J-SAC Senior Editorial Board after review of proposals submitted by interested parties. All are invited to submit proposals. Instructions for submitting proposals are included in the Information for Guest Editors.

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.