Part 8: Transactions Reviewer and Associate Editor Guidelines
(Part 8 last revised April 2021)
IEEE receives papers in confidence and protects the confidentiality of their contents until they are published. As a reviewer, you are obligated to maintain the confidentiality of both the paper you are reviewing and also of your review.
The articles in PES Transactions/Journals are peer reviewed in accordance with the requirements set forth in the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual (https://pspb.ieee.org/images/files/files/opsmanual.pdf). Each published article was reviewed by a minimum of two independent reviewers using a single-blind peer review process, where the identities of the reviewers are not known to the authors, but the reviewers know the identities of the authors. Articles will be screened for plagiarism before acceptance.
In order to promote transparency and fairness, the Editor-in-Chief at Large will handle the review of any manuscript for which a conflict of interest exists for the sitting Editor-in-Chief such as:
- manuscripts authored by the sitting Editor-in-Chief
- manuscripts from the sitting Editor-in-Chief's own organization(s)
- other manuscripts as judged appropriately by the sitting Editor-in-Chief.
The Associate Editors and Editors-in-Chief must make decisions on which works submitted to our journals are printed and become part of our archived literature. We reiterate that the reviewers are ultimately responsible to the Authors and the invisible college of our readership for ensuring that the content of the Transactions represents the evolution and progress of our discipline. We need your assistance to accomplish this task.
The following guidelines are offered in the hope that they will aid the reviewers toward the composition of what we hope to be outstanding technical journals.
Content of IEEE Power & Energy Society Transactions
The purpose of the Transactions is to disseminate technical information that signifies new and evolving thoughts. We are among the best in the business, but we do have competition. If we are to maintain our place on library, university and corporate bookshelves, the content of our journals should be refreshingly new, different, novel, and, at times, even controversial. Because of the intellectual content of the printed articles, they should represent the evolution of the state of the art. Thus, our journals will be of long-term value.
These attributes are somewhat subjective, but their definitions need no further debate. However, it is important to agree that accepted articles should be more than being correct or accurate. A very ordinary piece of engineering can be correct but may not necessarily be of archival importance, for it might just be a new twist on an old idea. The articles in our Transactions must be of unquestionable value to the reader. In turn, this means that the reader should not be able to find the equivalent content in another journal or conference proceedings of our Society, or of any other organization.
In essence, our criterion should match what the publisher of any high quality journal wants to provide — thought or information which is unique and cannot be found in another place in this form, or as a variant of it.
The above requirements suggest the following criteria for papers that should and should not appear in the Transactions.
Papers of archival value should:
- Present new methods of analysis or experimentation.
- Present a new process, design, or technology.
- Discuss and provide fresh thoughts on the effects of evolving public and environmental policies on the technologies we address and operate.
- Be written in clear and understandable language.
- Be of interest to the reader of our journals.
- Be of long-term value for the profession because of the above attributes.
Such papers are not those that:
- Plagiarize or regurgitate old and well-proven thoughts.
- Represent a minor variant of an old thought or analysis.
- Are written exposing the same or similar ideas in other journals or proceedings.
- Have copied others’ ideas without proper acknowledgment.
- Are poorly written, or written in an obscure manner.
What the Editor-in-Chief Needs in a Review
The Editor-in-Chief must make decisions on what papers are to be printed in the Journal. Our page budget is limited and can include only about one third of the papers that are currently being submitted.
Reviewers are urged to seriously consider the criteria outlined above when reviewing a paper. If a paper satisfies all the above criteria, it should be accepted. If corrections of minor errors such as undersized captions, font size, and misspellings would make the paper of longer-term value, it should be accepted after the corrections. Otherwise, it should be rejected.
The journals of the Power & Energy Society have adopted a goal of 90% of paper decisions within 90 days of submission. This does not appear unreasonable as PES uses a web based system that allows papers submitted to be in the hands of reviewers within only a few days of actual submission. If the authors of submitted papers can’t have a decision within a reasonable time they will take their work to one of our competitor journals. Besides, professional courtesy demands that we review the papers in a reasonable time — just as we expect our papers to be reviewed by others quickly. Please do review the paper right away. Don’t put it off, or put the paper in a pile of stuff 'to be done'.
Specific Instructions to Access Papers
Reviews are carried out through ScholarOne Manuscripts, a web based system that is reached over the Internet using a browser. The portal page to the web sites is http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/pes-ieee. All who interact with these web sites have a user account. This includes all authors. The Editor-in-Chief or headquarters staff appoints reviewers for fixed or indefinite terms, and once assigned, a reviewer can access that paper on the web site. The paper can be either downloaded for printing or read directly in your browser, but you will need some mechanism for reading documents in ‘Page Description Format’ (PDF) files. Most personal computer systems have a reader and if yours doesn’t, you can download a free reader from the Adobe web site.
The review consists of two parts: a numerical rating which is based on several multiple choice elements implemented as 'radio buttons' on the web site. This numerical rating is important, but more important is the subjective rating of the reviewer in the form of a few paragraphs of text. In writing such review comments about the paper the reviewer should ponder the above criteria. Does the paper present a new method for design, analysis or experimentation? Is that technique good? (Is it useful?) Is it interesting? Does it have long-term value for the profession? If the answers to those questions are not all ‘yes’, the paper will probably be turned down. The reviewer should address each of these questions in the written analysis of the paper.
Here are two situations in which a paper should be returned to the author for revisions:
- If the paper is not written in clear and understandable language. In this case the authors should have the opportunity and the obligation to make the paper understandable. Returning a paper under these circumstances does not imply that the paper will eventually be accepted.
- If a paper is otherwise acceptable but has minor issues such as figures being too small to be read, awkward syntax, etc. The author should be asked to fix these defects. In such situations the paper may not need to be reviewed again.
Returning the paper to an author with a request for revisions is not appropriate if there are any major problems such as lack of experimental verification, explanation of a major point, etc. In other words, if the contents and the theme of a paper do not meet the above criteria of archival value, revisions to a paper would not make it acceptable. Such shortcomings are grounds for rejection.
If a paper is rejected, Associate Editors are requested to provide the following directions to the authors:
- If the paper does not fit within the scope of our Transactions it should not be resubmitted as a revision.
- If major changes are required the paper may be submitted considering the reviewers’ comments. It must not be resubmitted with a few cosmetic changes. In its revised form it should meet the criteria for a Transactions paper.
If the contribution is considered to be only incremental over existing published literature the paper should NOT be revised and resubmitted. However a new paper based on additional work done by the authors will be considered. It is important that reviewers indicate in their review not only what is wrong with a paper, but also what is right. The reviewer of a good paper should indicate why it should be accepted, just as the reviewer of a bad paper should indicate why it should be rejected.
We, the Associate Editors and Editors-in-Chief are very appreciative of the time and effort put into preparation of papers for the Transactions. We wish to ensure that each work submitted to us gets a fair, complete and timely review. We are also grateful to the reviewers without whom we could not publish a credible journal.
Power Engineering Letters
The responsibility for the review of Power Engineering Letters rests with the Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editors who make up the Power Engineering Letters Editorial Board. The review process is the same as that outlined above for Transactions papers. The Associate Editor must make sure that revisions do not exceed 3.5 pages. If they do, they must be returned to the authors. The portal page to the ScholarOne Manuscripts web site for the review of Power Engineering Letters is located at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/pes-ieee.