T-ASE Paper Handling Guidelines for EiC, Editors, and Associate Editors

(August 2013)

Due to the substantial increase in submission rate (a 40% increase in 2012), the Editorial Board agreed in August 2013 to revise the T-ASE reviewing policies as follows.

  • We strive to eliminate brief, superficial reviews. Please help us ensure all reviews are consistent with T-ASE Guidelines:

    http://goldberg.berkeley.edu/t-ase/reviewing-guidelines.html

    AEs: Whenever reviews are superficial or below standard, please rescind reviews asap and ask the reviewer for more details. Please remember to use Manuscript Central's reviewer ratings system to rank reviews on a 1-3 scale, as we use these ratings each year to select candidates for the Reviewer Honor Roll.

    Editors and AEs, it is impotrant to include your own substantive summary comments and justification with each decision.

  • We strive for 3 or more reviews for each paper. Two reviews are sufficient only when they are consistent and supplemented by a detailed explanation for the decision by the AE.

  • We will use "Revise and Resubmit" (R&R) much more sparingly (for fewer than 20% of assigned papers). Currently, R&R is being used at a rate of about 50%. It may seem nicer than "Reject", but R&R usually postpones the inevitable and gives authors the false impression that reviewers admire the results in the paper and encourage it to be resubmitted. In most cases, it is better to "Reject" with a friendly note inviting authors to read other T-ASE papers to learn more about our standards and to consider T-ASE for their future papers.

    Even if all reviewers assign R&R, AEs are encouraged to assign "Reject" unless the paper has unique strengths. If an Editor or AE assigns R&R then he/she must clearly summarize the perceived contributions that may merit publication and give very specific conditions to the authors on what needs to be changed/improved.

    Note: when a paper is resubmitted after an R&R decision, it cannot be assigned R&R a second time.

Steps in T-ASE Reviewing Cycle:

1. Editorial Assistant (EA) ensures that submitted paper is in correct IEEE format and appropriate length.

2. EiC evaluates paper to determine if it is within the scope of T-ASE. If so, otherwise assigns to an Editor. (3-5 days).

Please note: The scope of T-ASE is complex and depends on many factors. If a paper is assigned for handling it should be considered within the scope of T-ASE. Of course if an Editor or AE feels otherwise, he or she should advise the EiC immediately with detailed justification.

Please note: Because of the broad scope of T-ASE, it is not unusual for T-ASE Editors and AEs to handle papers outside their areas of expertise.

3. (week 2) Upon receipt, Editor assigns to an AE or requests to EiC that the paper should be summarily rejected with detailed justification.

4. (week 3) AEs selects and sends requests to 4-5 to reviewers, asking for reviews to be returned within 30 days.

Note: AEs should AVOID requesting reviews from other T-ASE AEs.

Note: All T-ASE Editors and AEs can get access to the Papercept Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Reviewer Database to find reviewers:

http://goldberg.berkeley.edu/t-ase/T-ASE-Papercept-Info.html

AEs should continue rounds of invitations until 3 or more reviewers accept the assignment. (Until then, MC will show the paper as being overdue for the "Assign Reviewers" task.)

In rare cases if several rounds of invitations to review are all declined, this may be grounds for summary reject: the article topic is not of interest to our reviewer community. In such cases please notify the Editor with details about how many reviewers were invited/declined and a detailed rationalization for summary reject.

5. (before week 8): AE submits recommendation with details summarizing the reviews and reasons for the decision.

Note: AEs should always rescind brief or superficial reviews with urgent request to reviewer for prompt and proper reviews that meet T-ASE reviewing guidelines (see above).

If AE can only obtain 2 reviews because additional reviewers were very late and/or unresponsive, and both reviews are substantive and consistent, then two reviews are sufficient if the AE adds substantive comments justifying the decision.

6. (within 90 days) Editor makes decision and includes in decision letter substantive comments justifying and clarifying the decision.

Note: if AE or reviewer comments are insufficient, the Editor should rescind the AE report as soon as possible and ask for it to be improved.

Additional Notes:

  • Editors and AEs, please use Manuscript Central's feature that lets you rate each reviewer or AE report on a 1-3 scale.

  • For papers that are revisions (.R1) with a previous decision of "Conditionally Accept", it is not necessary for AE to send back to reviewers if the AE can verify that requested changes have been made by a careful check of the revised paper and the authors' "Response to Reviewers".

  • Whenever AEs anticipate or encounter a major personal or professional event (birth of a baby, chairing a conference, competing in the Olympics ;) that may delay responses, it is important to notify the EiC and Editorial Assistant as early as possible (ideally 4-6 weeks in advance) so we are aware. Authors and the Editorial Board depend on your ability to maintain timely and thorough handling of papers.

  • Editors and AEs, If you would like to receive more assignments, feel free to request more from the EiC at any time!