Referee Guide - IET Research Journals

Information for reviewers of papers submitted to the IET Research Journals

In order to ensure a high standard of publication, all papers submitted to IET Journals will go through peer review prior to acceptance for publication. The review process ensures papers are original, significant, novel and well presented.

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 you with the best possible service. To help us do this we encourage you to alert us, either by emailing the relevant journal inbox or editing your account in Manuscript Central, to the following:

  • changes in your contact details
  • periods of unavailability (e.g. holidays, sabbaticals)
  • if you are no longer able to complete a review after accepting an invitation
  • changes in your research interests


All submissions should be given unbiased consideration regardless of affiliation, race, gender, ethnic origin, or religion of the authors. Your review should be objective; please do not make comments about the paper or authors that could cause offence.

All reviews are single-blind, i.e. although you as a referee know who the authors are, your anonymity is strictly preserved. Please do not correspond with or transmit your review directly to the authors. In addition to this if you choose to attach a document to the review form please make sure that any reference to your name is removed. Please use the Comments to Editor field to make any comments that you do not wish the author to see. Any comments made in the Comments to Author field will be transmitted to the author in the decision letter.


Please do not disseminate the research or findings of the papers you review in any way as paper should be treated as confidential.

Conflict of interest

Your review should be objective. Please contact us immediately if:

  • you are in direct competition with the authors
  • you have been or are currently a co-worker or collaborator with any of the authors


Papers submitted to the IET Research Journals must record original work not previously published or under consideration by another journal. Please inform the editorial office if you believe either of these to be true.

The editors are particularly grateful when reviewers draw their attention to papers to which proper reference has not been made to papers that are closely related.

Reviewers who have been sent review papers should judge the papers on their coverage of the subject and that the reference list is comprehensive.

If further references are needed for either of the above reasons please be objective in your suggestions, list only relevant articles that are significant in the research area rather than only listing your own papers. Please be aware that if you have only listed your own papers the Editor-in-Chief will be contacted to confirm the validity of the suggestions, if they are not relevant to the research area the comment will have to be removed from your review and you may be contacted by the editorial office. The IET do not allow reviewers to self-promote their own papers in the review process, this may also reveal the identity of the reviewers and this is not allowed in a single-blind review process.

While reviewing the paper if you suspect that the paper is in breach of the IET Policy in Relation to Plagiarism, Infringement of Copyright and Infringement of Moral Rights and Submission to Multiple Publications please contact the editorial office immediately and this will be investigated.


The editors encourage the publication of papers that describe work of high calibre engineering and science. Where a paper has a high theoretical or mathematical content, it is essential that its application is specified rather than given in general terms.


Reviewers are asked to consider whether the author presents the material logically, in clear and direct English, and in as concise a manner as possible. Reviewers are asked to consider most carefully whether any paper can be shortened, and to give instructions as to how this may be achieved. In particular, reviewers are asked to consider whether all the mathematics is essential or whether parts can be deleted or relegated to an appendix.

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.

The illustrations supplied to the referee should be sufficiently clear for easy assessment but need not be of sufficient quality for reproduction (authors are asked to submit high-quality material for production upon acceptance).

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.

Review Forms

The IET use the web-based peer review system Manuscript Central from Scholar One. When you have been invited to review a paper you will receive an email containing details including the title, authors and abstract of the paper. At the end of the email there will be a link for each response type; accept, decline, decline due to no time and decline due to the paper being out of your research field. Upon acceptance of the invitation you will receive a confirmation email that will contain a link to the review form where you will be able to access the complete version of the paper.

If the paper is a revised paper there is also a link to the authors’ response to the previous round of review at the top of the review form or on the details tab also on the review form.

The review forms first contain a number of questions related to the scope, originality, references and presentation of the paper. If any of your answers to these questions need further explanation there is the chance to write comments in the Comments to Editor or Comments to Author section.

The category drop down list allows you to give an overall opinion of the paper, whether you believe that the paper needs a considerable about of work (erroneous, trivial or not significant), whether the work is interesting and of use but needs improving (outstanding work of great significance, good and useful advance) or whether you believe the paper can be accepted as it currently is and needs no further work (acceptable for publication).

There is also the chance to rate the papers based on the theory and engineering application. The scale works from the best being Outstanding and then Good, papers that are average can be rated as Moderate followed by Fair and then papers that need significant improvement can be Poor.

There is the option to upload files alongside any comments on the review form, please make sure that they are referred to in the comments to author or comments to editor box and successfully uploaded before submitting your paper. If the files are for the authors’ reference please make sure they do not contain your name, this includes the comment boxes on pdfs and any file names.


If there is sufficient agreement between the reviewers, the editor will make one of the following decisions:

  • the paper is accepted outright
  • the paper is accepted subject to minor revisions being made
  • the paper is accepted subject to major revisions being made
  • the authors are invited to make a significant rewriting of the paper and resubmit it as a new submission
  • the paper is rejected outright

If the authors are asked to improve or modify their paper, the editor may return the paper to the original reviewers.

Revised Papers

If you are invited to review a revised paper the authors are required to include a response to the previous round of review. This can be found by clicking the Author Response button at the top of the review form or on the details tab.

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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