Referee guide - IET research journals

Information for reviewers of papers submitted to the IET Research Journals and Micro & Nano Letters

All IET journals require 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 referees are selected carefully to reflect this.

We value the work of our referees 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 to the following:

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

Electronic reviewing

In April 2004, the Institution launched a new peer review system. This web-based system, Manuscript Central from Scholar One accepts electronic submissions and reviews only.


All submissions should be given unbiased consideration regardless of 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. 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.


Please treat the paper as confidential. Please inform the editors if you believe either of these to be true and note the IET Policy in Relation to Plagiarism, Infringement of Copyright and Infringement of Moral Rights and Submission to Multiple Publications.

Conflict of interest

Your review should be objective. 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


Research papers and rapid communications submitted to the IET Research Journals must record original work not previously published in the open literature or under consideration by another journal. Please inform the editors if you believe either of these to be true.

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

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


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.


Referees are asked to consider whether the author presents the material logically, in clear and direct English, and in as concise a manner as possible. Referees 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, referees are asked to consider whether all the mathematics is essential or whether parts can be deleted of relegated to an appendix.

SI units, and ISO and IEC recommended unit symbols, letter symbols and nomenclature should be used throughout. Referees 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.


If there is sufficient agreement between the referees, 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 paper is accepted subject to major revisions being made, the editor may return the paper to referees. If you are willing to review a revised paper please indicate this in your review.

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