About the Peer Review Process

Peer review is vital to the quality of published research. Your submitted article will be evaluated by at least two independent reviewers. Feedback from the peer reviewers will contribute to the editor’s decision on whether to accept or reject your article for publication.

What Is Peer Review and Why Is It Important?

Peer review is defined as the “critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to [publications] by experts who are not part of the editorial staff.” Ninety-one percent of authors think that peer review improved the quality of their article (Sense About Science Peer Review Survey). Peer review ensures the integrity of science by excluding invalid or low-quality research.

How Does It Work?

IEEE policy requires at least two qualified reviewers evaluate a submitted article before the editor can reach a decision. (IEEE Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) Operations Manual, Section 8.2.2.A.4)

  1. The magazine editor invites reviewers who are experts in your article’s subject matter to evaluate the article and provide feedback.
  2. Reviewers comment on a variety of points such as whether the study is well designed or if the results are too preliminary. Reviewers can help authors hone key points, identify and resolve errors, and generate new ideas.
  3. The reviewers’ feedback informs the editor’s decision on whether to accept or reject the article.

The most common types of peer review are single-blind and double-blind review.

Both models ensure that the reviewer can give an honest and impartial evaluation of the article. Most IEEE publications use the single-blind review format.

What Are Editors and Reviewers Looking For?

During the peer review process, editors, and reviewers look for:

Understanding the Decision Letter

What happens when you receive the decision letter? After peer review, the editor will consider feedback from the reviewers and then make a decision about the article. The decision letter is delivered to the author via email.

There are three basic types of decisions: Accept, Revise, and Reject. No matter which decision you receive, be sure to read the entire decision letter carefully. Pay special attention to deadlines and next steps.

Accept

Upon acceptance, you may be asked to complete additional steps; for example, providing final high-quality files or signing a publishing agreement. Promptly complete any requested tasks to avoid publication delays. Learn more about your role in article production.

Revise

Revise is the most common type of decision. You will be asked to make changes and submit a revised version for further consideration. The scope of the changes can range from small corrections to major rewriting. The decision letter will include the reviewers’ suggestions on how to improve the article. You should include a point-by-point reply that addresses each suggestion when you submit the revised article.

Reject

If your article is rejected, the decision letter will explain why. The letter may include suggestions for improving your article before you submit it to another publication.

Ethics in Peer Review

Peer review is a system based on trust. Each party relies on the others to operate professionally, ethically, and confidentially. Learn about the ethical responsibilities of the reviewer, the author, and the publication during peer review.

Responsibilities of the reviewer

Responsibilities of the author

Learn more about the author’s responsibilities during peer review.

Responsibilities of the publication

The publication’s responsibilities may be fulfilled by a journal Editor or Associate Editor.

Learn more about the editor’s responsibilities during peer review.

Any questions from authors or reviewers about the peer review process should be directed to the Editor.