Guest edited issues are in many ways the backbone of IEEE Network. Indeed, initially the idea was that every issue would be a Special Issue (SI) on a particular topic. In the first several years, virtually all issues fell into that category. IEEE Network has continued to focus on guest-edited issues, or SIs, containing good articles and editorial content.
Proposing a Special Issue Topic
Please note that under current IEEE Communications Society magazine requirements, Guest Editors are prohibited from publishing papers they have (co-)authored in their own SI. However, Guest Editors are responsible for authoring a Guest Editorial that introduces the SI and is printed as a preamble to the accepted articles.
Potential Guest Editors should develop a proposal and submit it to the Editor-in-Chief (EIC). The main sections of the proposal are:
- The proposed Guest Editors with complete contact information
- The purpose of the SI
- Potential sources of papers
- A proposed schedule
When preparing a proposal for an SI, please consider the following suggestions:
- If you decide to have a number of Guest Editors (and it is suggested that you do as it is a lot of work for a single person), it is encouraged, to the degree possible of course, to include Guest Editors from different geographical areas (Europe, Asia, etc.) in order to increase the chance of attracting contributors from around the globe. This is a nice feature to have, but it is not a requirement.
- The "purpose of the issue" (also referred to as the justification) should address two main points:
- A justification of timeliness and relevance to IEEE Network, that is, why there is a need for the particular issue and why IEEE Network in particular is an appropriate venue.
- Motivation of subject topics within the context of the SI. This is an important point, as it defines the scope of each subject topic. Generic/Wide topics (e.g., "wireless networks" or "security") are usually not helpful and need to be further narrowed down, relating them to particular aspects of the SI's subject. Clarifications/edits are requested from the proposal submitters if the relevance of certain topics to the SI cannot be understood, or if there is no evident reason why a separate subject topic is warranted.
- Note that SIs are focused on a topic, and the topic should have broad appeal to the magazine's readership.
- It is usual practice for a listing of subject topics to accompany (2). Usually, no more than 8 to 10 papers are published in a SI, so there might not be a need to list many topics anyway.
- With regard to the potential sources of papers, please note that SIs are not a platform for publishing invited papers. Papers submitted to an SI must be submitted based on a publicly distributed Call for Papers (CFP). Contributions from specific authors can be solicited, but only as a response to the publicly distributed CFP. To assess the potential of a healthy pool of submissions for considerations, you may want to list names of potential authors and/or relevant conferences/workshops/etc. (with the tacit assumption that authors that have published in them are a potential author pool (solicited or not) to IEEE Network as well).
- IEEE Network is a magazine, not a Transactions style journal. Thus, our papers must be written in tutorial style, comprehensible to the non-specialists (see Author Guidelines). We do not publish purely research-style papers (even though research results may be presented through our papers). There are more appropriate venues than our magazine for purely research papers.
- Please note, that the proposal for the issue is not the same as the CFP (even though the latter can use the former as its basis). The proposal is targeting the IEEE Network editors that will evaluate the purpose, scope, appropriateness to the magazine and other administrative aspects of the special issue while the CFP targets the potential contributors to the issue.
- The Guest Editors and the EIC go through a very careful evaluation of each received proposal and quite often proposers are asked to revise their proposal. Following the guidelines listed here may reduce the time it takes to evaluate a proposal.
An example of a successful proposal, which was developed into an SI, is linked to this page. For the exceptionally curious, the result was the May 2005 issue of IEEE Network.
An extremely important requirement is that each proposal must respect the timelines given by the Publications Staff. Please ensure that all articles comply with the style, length, and timeliness guidelines (see Paper Submission Guidelines).
Call for Papers
Guest Editors must always prepare some form of a CFP, and this call should be broadly advertised. Advertising a CFP should not rely only on publishing the CFP in the magazine and on the magazine website, but should also be distributed through other avenues according to the SI proposal plan (e.g., mail lists, conference flyers, websites, newsletters, editors’ professional networks, etc.). Guest Editors should advertise the CFP through their relevant professional networks. It is extremely important that all potential authors have an equal opportunity to submit a paper. Of course, all papers under consideration for the SI must undergo a thorough peer review (receiving at least three reviews) according to the magazine's Reviewer Guidelines.
The general process for Guest Editors using Manuscript Central is:
- Log in with your user ID and password. You may update your password and edit your information.
- Click on "Guest Editor Center."
- To see all the manuscripts assigned to you, click on "Original Manuscripts" in the left frame. To search, insert information about a specific paper (e.g., author's name) on the right and click "search." Note: your designation will be "Guest Editor" on any paper for which you are the assigned editor.
- Download the articles by clicking on the article title. In the next window, click on the article's title again. The file will be downloaded to your hard drive and opened by the appropriate application.
- Familiarize yourself with the article. Once you decide if an article is to be either rejected without review or submitted to the review process, return to the manuscripts page and click on the "View Details" button for the article you are working on. Find the "Guest Editor Actions" section and do one of the following:
- If you choose to reject the article without a review, click the "Make Recommendation" button. In the next window, go to the "Post Recommendation" block and click the "Post Recommendation" button. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the "Rejected" radio button. You may add information to the two comment blocks at the top of the page as you see fit. Click "Send to the Editor-in-Chief" button.
- If you choose to submit the article to the review process, click the "Assign or Remove Reviewer" button. In the next window, follow the instructions in the box in the lower half of the page. You must assign a minimum of three reviewers to the article. We suggest that you assign more than three, if practical, because (a) often a reviewer will be late with a review or never completes the task; and (b) generally, the more reviewers there are, the easier it is for the Guest Editors to make a good decision, and the better the quality of the published article. When reviewers notify you that they accept the invitation to review, you must return to the Editorial Board Center of Manuscript Central. Choose your article and then "View Details." Click "Assign or Remove Reviewer," and click on the "Agreed" button next to the reviewer's name. A standard email letter will pop up again. If this article is going to be part of an SI, you should insert a reminder to the reviewer that this article is part of a larger entity containing several articles on the same topic. The reviewer should take this into account in their review. You can add information on the topic at this point if you see fit. While reviewing manuscripts, please check for plagiarism or double submissions.
- The reviewer reviews the article. You will be notified by email when the review is complete. To make a decision once a minimum of three reviews are completed, return to the Editorial Board Center of Manuscript Central. Click "Original Manuscripts: Manage Reviewers and Make Recommendations" in the left column, and then click "View Details" for the article you are working on. Scroll down to the second from the bottom block and click "View Review Form" for each reviewer. To see any documents that the reviewer may have added to their evaluation or to add your own documents, click the "Attach Files" button below the "View Review Form" button. When you are ready to make a recommendation, go to the "Guest Editor Actions" block and select the "Make Recommendation" button. Scroll down to click "Post Recommendation" when you are ready to send your recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief. Fill out the form and enter your comments. When you are finished, click "Send to Editor-in-Chief." Click "Send Letter."
There are detailed instructions for this process in Manuscript Central. You can download a PDF of the instructions by clicking on the "Guest Editor Center Guide" of the Guest Editor Center. Please contact IEEE Support if Manuscript Central is not functioning according to the Guide.
Acceptances and Rejections
- All articles must comply with the magazine's guidelines for style and format. Articles not in compliance risk being rejected.
- The purpose of 3 reviews for each submission is not only to decide on acceptance or rejection, but also to help authors improve their work. In particular, reviews should offer constructive advice for authors of rejected papers.
- A submission may be rejected promptly without review for certain reasons:
- It is not technical in nature.
- It is essentially an advertisement of a commercial product.
- It has been previously published or has been submitted elsewhere at the same time.
- It grossly violates the magazine's guidelines, for example, the paper is 7000 words long or contains 20 equations.
- It is outside the scope of the magazine entirely.
- It is clearly better suited as a journal or a conference paper, for example, due to the amount of mathematical content included, or the brevity or narrow scope.
- If a submission is judged to be outside the scope of the SI but otherwise has merit, the EiC should be notified to redirect it to another part of the magazine.
- It is helpful if authors of a paper that requires revision return a revised paper along with a list of changes made in response to specific reviewers' comments.. If the reviewers’ requested changes are adequately addressed, the Guest Editor can then make a recommendation with either a limited number of reviewers or without a second round of reviews. Note that if the paper decision is Accept with Minor Revisions, the authors do not upload a revised paper, but are expected to make these revisions in the final manuscript they send to the Publications Staff.
- An SI schedule will often not allow acceptance of papers requiring major revisions because these papers need to go through a second round of reviews before acceptance. However, if these papers are revised and found to be acceptable eventually, they can be published later as standalone papers.
After a paper is accepted for publication, the author(s) will need to submit an entire publication package over and above what they submitted for this review process. The publication package will be sent to the Publications Staff. The Publications Staff does not have access to Manuscript Central or to materials submitted there.
List of Articles/Manuscript Central IDs Due: The 18th of the month, 3 months prior to issue date. For example, a complete list of all papers in the January/February issue is due by October 18th.
Final Manuscripts Due: The 1st of the following month, 2 months prior to issue date. For example, all final materials for an article in the January/February issue are due by November 1st.
Guest Editorials/Columns Due: The 15th of the following month, 1.5 months prior to issue date. For example, all final versions of Guest Editorials and columns in the January/February issue are due by November 15th.
Page Proofs Sent to Contact Author: 4 weeks prior to issue date.
Page Proofs Back to Department: 3 weeks prior to issue date.
Guest Editorial Guidelines
Guest Editors should prepare a Guest Editorial (1500 words maximum) that mentions each paper in order of appearance and includes IEEE-style biographies for each Guest Editor (75 words maximum). The Guest Editorial should address the significance, impact, practical usefulness, and future directions of the topic. Perhaps most important, it should convey the Guest Editors' enthusiasm to the readers. An editorial that does little more than describe each feature article will not be acceptable.
Guest Editorials should be emailed in plain text to the publications office, along with color photographs of each Guest Editor. Digital photographs should be in .tif format with at least 300 dpi resolution.
Submission of Accepted Materials
Please instruct authors to read the Author Guidelines to determine what they need to send the Publications Staff prior to the deadline.
Please refer to the Publications Staff List for contact information.