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Referee guide - Electronics Letters

Information for reviewers of papers submitted to Electronics Letters.


Contents

Introduction
Electronic reviewing
Policy
Confidentiality
Conflict of interest
Originality and novelty
Citations
Conference material policy
Presentation
Special criteria for Electronics Letters
Scope
Binary decision
Rapid publication
The report form
Grading the paper


Introduction

As with all IET journals, Electronics Letters requires that papers be subject to peer-review prior to acceptance for publication. This ensures that a high standard of publication is maintained by identifying material that is original, significant, and well presented.

Our journals are international in authorship and readership and our reviewers are selected carefully to reflect this.

We value the work of our reviewers and recognise that you are very busy and dedicated people. We are always interested to hear from you, especially regarding your views on how we can provide the best possible service for you. To help us to do this we encourage you to alert us to the following:

  • changes in your contact details;
  • periods of unavailability (e.g. holidays, sabbaticals);
  • changes in your research interests.

Electronic reviewing

The IET uses ScholarOne Manuscripts for submissions to Electronics Letters and the IET Research Journals (formerly IEE Proceedings). This web-based system accepts submissions and reviews in electronic format only.


Policy

All submissions are given unbiased consideration regardless of race, gender, ethnic origin, or religion of the authors.

All reviews are single-blind i.e. although you as a reviewer know who the authors are, your anonymity is strictly preserved. Please do not correspond with or transmit your review directly to the authors.

Electronics Letters differs from the IET Research Journals in its criteria for reviewing; these are given in detail later. Although for this journal reviewer comments are not normally forwarded to the authors, your review should be objective so please do not make comments about the paper or authors that could cause offence.


Confidentiality

Please treat the paper as confidential. If you are unable to review but wish to recommend a colleague, please let us know and we will invite them to review rather than passing the paper to them yourself. Upon completion of your review, the paper may not be retained, used or cited prior to publication.


Conflict of interest

Please contact us immediately if:

  • you are in direct competition with the authors;
  • you are a co-worker or collaborator with any of the authors.

Originality and novelty

Papers submitted to Electronics Letters must record original work not previously published by the authors in the open literature or under consideration by another publisher or conference whose proceedings are made widely available. The work must also be novel, and provide an advance in the field over work published by others.

Please also be aware of the IET Policy in Relation to Plagiarism, Infringement of Copyright and Infringement of Moral Rights and Submission to Multiple Publications.


Citations

The Editors are particularly grateful when reviewers draw their attention to important papers to which proper reference has not been made. Given the short format of Electronics Letters no reference list can be exhaustive, but authors should reference all papers directly relevant. So please do identify un-cited papers which surpass the presented work, or from which it draws heavily. Essentially, the references should be sufficient to locate the work with respect to the state-of-the-art.


Conference material policy

Electronics Letters does not accept material that has previously been presented at a conference for which the conference proceedings are widely available. Any manuscripts that are submitted to Electronics Letters that are based on a conference paper must reference the conference and demonstrate a significant advance in the work.


Presentation

Reviewers are asked to consider whether the author presents the material logically, in clear English, and in as concise a manner as possible. Papers submitted to Electronics Letters have been length checked before they are sent to reviewers so this does not need to be considered by the reviewers. Accepted papers will be copyedited to ensure clarity and consistency, to correct minor errors (e.g. typographical or language), to standardise various formatting details and to conform to the Electronics Letters house style. Therefore as a reviewer you need not worry about the standard of English unless it obscures the meaning of the paper and could not be easily corrected by a copyeditor, in which case the paper is not suitable for Electronics Letters.

SI units, and ISO and IEC recommended unit symbols, letter symbols and nomenclature should be used throughout. Reviewers should indicate where other units have been used.

Graphs and other illustrations should be clearly drawn and labelled. Graphs are an effective method of displaying results although too much information in one graph can cause confusion, and may not be easily reproducible in production. Tabular information should not duplicate graphical information.


Special criteria for Electronics Letters

When reviewing for Electronics Letters, reviewers should ask themselves 'Is this paper suitable for rapid publication?' This is a different requirement from most other journals. We are interested in work that is novel and of immediate interest to researchers and practitioners in the field or work that is otherwise outstanding. The short format and rapid publication time of Electronics Letters is designed to allow the rapid communication of information and this may include important preliminary results. It also means that details and further investigations that would be required in a full-length journal paper may not necessarily be required.


Scope

The scope of subjects covered by Electronics Letters is very broad. A detailed listing of the scope is available here. The major themes of the journal are:

  • biomedical electronics, imaging and measurement;
  • nanotechnology, microsystems, semiconductor technology;
  • analogue, digital and power electronics;
  • satellite communication, multimedia communication, and telecommunication;
  • high-speed optical communication systems and devices;
  • optical fibres, materials, devices and technology;
  • image, speech and signal processing;
  • microwave and millimetre wave technology; radar and sonar systems.

Papers covering mathematical techniques, algorithms and materials related to these fields are also considered where the application in these fields is clear. As a general rule if a paper has been sent out for review it has been deemed in-scope for Electronics Letters. However, if a reviewer feels strongly that a particular paper is out of scope they should indicate this and provide an explanation on the report form.


Binary decision

To maintain the speed of publication, papers are accepted as they stand or rejected outright. The only exception to this rule is for very minor changes or clarifications that would not require the paper to be seen again by a reviewer. A manuscript requiring any change that would necessitate re-review is not suitable for Electronics Letters and should be rejected. Given this policy we ask reviewers to make a straight accept/reject recommendation and the comment field on the report form provides reviewers with the opportunity to qualify their recommendations.


Rapid publication

Electronics Letters is a rapid publication journal. Consequently, our procedures and systems are designed to streamline the process of reviewing and preparing a manuscript for publication. The limiting factor in the speed of publication is the review process, and peer-review cannot be rushed if it is to be rigorous. However, given the rapid publication nature of Electronics Letters we do expect our reviewers to make all reasonable effort to aid us in completing the review process as quickly as possible.

The paper format of Electronics Letters is significantly shorter than in full-length journals. This fact, combined with the binary decision policy, means that a proper review of an Electronics Letters manuscript should not take as long as manuscripts for other journals.

We have also designed our report form to allow reviewers to convey their judgement of a manuscript with minimum time and effort.

With this in mind we ask reviewers to complete and return their reviews within 14 days. We understand that this is not always possible if a specific issue arises with a manuscript requiring more effort, but this period is a good general rule for the vast majority of manuscripts. Also given the binary decision policy, it is worth bearing in mind that if a paper is so unclear that it cannot be understood without great effort then the clarifications that would be required to make it suitable for publication are likely to lead to its rejection.

We also appreciate that your busy schedules can often create unforeseen delays after you have agreed to perform a review and that this cannot be helped. When this happens it is very helpful to us if you can inform us if the review is likely to take significantly longer than the 14 day period. If we know that there is going to be a delay, and are given an estimate of how long it is likely to be, we can make informed choices to maintain the speed of review and may even choose to re-assign the manuscript relieving the pressure on you.


The report form

As discussed above our reviewer report form has been designed to allow you to convey efficiently your judgement of a manuscript.

At the start of the form we ask you to indicate how close the paper is to your particular fields of expertise. There follows a short list of yes/no questions asking you to state whether you consider the work to be original, novel, well-written and well-organised and to have sufficient references (see citations section above).

The form then asks for a grading of the paper from a range of choices (described below) and includes space for appropriate supporting comments for the editor. The last item on the form is the binary recommendation to accept or reject the paper.


Grading the paper

The selection of gradings offered on the report form is listed below:

  • Outstanding work of great significance;
  • Good and useful advance in the field;
  • Of sufficient interest for rapid publication;
  • Not a significant advance:
    This applies to work which is technically sound, but its contribution to the field is so small as to be negligible;
  • Technically unsound:
    This grade should be chosen if the paper contains such irreparable technical errors, or if the premise of the work is so flawed, that the results become dubious;
  • Otherwise unsuitable:
    The special reviewing criteria of Electronics Letters mean that some technically sound papers are still not suitable for the journal. This grade is intended for papers that do not quite fit into any of the above gradings, but which the reviewer considers to be unsuitable for Electronics Letters. When selecting this grading it is important to provide direct supporting comments to explain why the paper is considered to be unsuitable.

There are also two special cases for which the Otherwise unsuitable category should be used:

  1. where there is evidence that a paper has been split into multiple papers or variations on a theme: as the pressure to publish is intensifying, some authors are resorting to splitting work which could easily be detailed in one paper into two or more papers or submitting multiple papers on essentially the same topic with only minor differences; and
  2. where there is insufficient detail and or a lack of comparison with existing techniques. The strict length limit of Electronics Letters does not necessarily allow authors to include all the results that may be required to exhaustively prove the merit of their work. However, papers must include sufficient information about the work - and sufficient comparison with related work - to give the reader confidence in its value.
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