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Referee guide - The Journal of Engineering

Introduction

As with all IET journals, The Journal of Engineering requires that papers be subject to rigorous peer-review prior to acceptance for publication. This ensures that a high standard of publication is maintained by identifying material that is original, scientifically sound 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

Aims and indicative scope

The Journal of Engineering is an open access, peer reviewed journal providing a forum for the publication of original primary research findings across a broad spectrum of engineering. All articles are peer reviewed with a 'binary' accept or reject decision being made on the basis of the validity of the research being reported, including the soundness of the research methods employed and the analysis undertaken to reach conclusions.

Broad subject areas are provided below, however the journal welcomes submissions in interdisciplinary areas and related emerging fields.

  • Biomedical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Computing and software
  • Electrical and electronic engineering
  • Energy engineering
  • Materials engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Micro and nanotechnology

Electronic reviewing

The IET uses ScholarOne Manuscripts for submissions to The Journal of Engineering and all other IET journals. 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. 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. It is at the Editor’s discretion whether to forward the reviewer comments on to the author.

Confidentiality

Please treat the paper as confidential. If you are unable to review but wish to recommend a colleague, please do not pass the paper to them yourself. Instead, please let us know and we will invite your colleague directly. 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
  • you feel that you have a conflict of interest for any other reason

Criteria for The Journal of Engineering - scientific soundness

When reviewing for The Journal of Engineering, reviewers should ask themselves whether the research is valid, with sound methods and analysis which support the presented conclusions.

The criteria for acceptance in The Journal of Engineering does not include an assessment on the importance of the work submitted, however the work must be scientifically and technically sound and display some element of novelty. Authors are given a length guidance of 6000 words; however there is no strict length limit for the journal. A recommendation to reject based on length should only be made in extreme cases.

Originality

Papers submitted to The Journal of Engineering 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. Studies that validate results that are already in the literature may be considered for publication, but reference should be made to the earlier published results. It will be at the discretion of the section editor whether to accept these validation studies.

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 The Journal of Engineering in its current form 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.

Conference material policy

The Journal of Engineering 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 The Journal of Engineering that are based on a conference paper must reference the conference and demonstrate an advance in the work over that reported in the conference paper.

Presentation

Reviewers are asked to consider whether the author presents the material logically and in clear English. 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 Journal of Engineering 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 The Journal of Engineering.

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.

Rapid online publication

The Journal of Engineering is a rapid publication journal, publishing online on an article by article basis. 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 The Journal of Engineering we do expect our reviewers to make all reasonable effort to aid us in completing the review process as quickly as possible.

To streamline the review process, a binary decision policy has been adopted for The Journal of Engineering. The final accept or reject decision will be made by an editor of the journal taking the reviewer recommendations into account.

We have designed our report form to allow reviewers to convey their judgement of a manuscript with minimum time and effort and 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 technically sound, novel, well-written and well-organised and to have sufficient references. You will also be asked if the paper has been published elsewhere (to the best of your knowledge).

The next item on the form is a grading of the paper from a range of choices (described below) and there is space for appropriate supporting comments for the editor at the end of the form. The last item on the form asks for a binary recommendation to accept or reject the paper. Again, please use the comments box at the end of the form to support your decision.

Grading the paper

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

- Significant advance in the field

- Scientifically sound work with clear results and conclusions
This grade should be chosen if the work presented shows that sound research methods and analysis support the conclusions presented. The work may present new information of interest to the community, or may also validate results that are already in the literature as long as clear reference is made to the previously reported results.

- Scientifically sound but without novelty

- Scientifically (or 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 or conclusions become dubious.

- Otherwise unsuitable
This grade is intended for papers that do not quite fit into any of the above gradings but are nonetheless unsuitable for publication. Reasons should be given in the comments section of the form.

Editage - providing high quality editorial services to IET authors

IET has partnered with Editage to provide editorial services to authors submitting to IET Journals. The services will help authors craft well-written manuscripts for submission to the journal of their choice. A panel of highly qualified and experienced experts provide subject-relevant editing and review support. Editage also provide free post-review support to help the author check manuscript revisions. Find out more here.

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