Referee guide - Micro & Nano Letters
Information for reviewers of papers submitted to Micro & Nano Letters.
Conflict of interest
Originality and novelty
Conference material policy
Final recommendation [new]
The report form
Grading the paper
As with all IET journals, Micro & Nano 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.
The IET uses ScholarOne Manuscripts for submissions to Micro & Nano Letters, Electronics Letters and the IET Research Journals (formerly IEE Proceedings). This web-based system accepts submissions and reviews in electronic format only.
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.
Micro & Nano Letters differs slightly from the IET Research Journals in its criteria for reviewing, and these are given in detail later.
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 Micro & Nano 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.
The Editors are particularly grateful when reviewers draw their attention to important papers to which proper reference has not been made. Of course, 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
Micro & Nano 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 Micro & Nano Letters that are based on a conference paper must reference the conference and demonstrate a significant advance in the work.
Reviewers are asked to consider whether the author presents the material logically, in clear English, and in as concise a manner as possible. 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 Micro & Nano Lettershouse 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 Micro & Nano 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.
The scope of subjects covered by Micro & Nano Lettersis broad within its relevant length-scales. More description of the scope is available here. The major themes of the journal are:
- MEMS and NEMS
- Micro- and nanostructures and devices
- Synthesis and processing
- Micro- and nanophotonics
- Molecular machines, circuits and self-assembly
- Micro- and nanofluidics
Papers covering mathematical techniques, theories, 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 Micro & Nano 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.
Micro & Nano Letters is primarily an engineering/applied physics/technology journal. Papers concerning micro- or nanostructures/particles and materials science may be considered, but the particles or materials must offer benefit to genuine and useful applications, or the manufacturing process itself must be a significant advance over previous techniques. If these criteria are not convincingly met, then the paper should be rejected.
To maintain the speed of publication and the review process, you are given three options for your final recommendation. You can recommend to accept papers as they stand, accept subject to minor revisions, or reject outright. Generally, minor revisions are those that would not necessitate re-review.
When making a final recommendation for a manuscript, be aware that the choice of ‘reject’ does not necessarily mean that the Editor’s decision will be a straightforward reject. Based on your comments and those of the other reviewers, the Editor may reject the paper, but may also encourage the authors to resubmit a substantially revised manuscript.
Micro & Nano 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 Micro & Nano Letters we do expect our reviewers to make all reasonable effort to aid us in completing the review process as quickly as possible. 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 decision policy, it is worth bearing in mind that if a paper is so unclear that it cannot be understood without great effort, 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, to have sufficient references (see citations section above), and whether the applications have been sufficiently explained.
The form then asks for a grading of the paper from a range of choices (described below) followed by your final recommendation for the paper. If you would be happy to review a resubmission of the manuscript then you can check yes in the next section.
The final section of the report form is for any comments you would like to make to the Editor and comments to the author. As it is the policy for Micro & Nano Letters to provide feedback to the authors, the Editor appreciates any comments provided. It is also helpful if the comments are as constructive as possible. Bear in mind, your review should be objective so please do not make comments about the paper or authors that could cause offence.
Grading of 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 Micro & Nano 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 Micro & Nano Letters. When selecting this grading it is important to provide direct supporting comments to explain why the paper is considered to be unsuitable.
Otherwise unsuitable category should be used:
- 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;
- Where there is insufficient detail and or a lack of comparison with existing techniques.