Department Editor

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Department Editor Guidelines


A department in IEEE Computer Society publications consists of medium-length pieces that are readable by a broad audience and fit the theme of the department’s title and mission. Department pieces are not peer-reviewed. A department may have one or more co-Editors.

Each department has an appointed point of contact with one of the Associate Editors-in-Chief. The AEiC and the Department Editor(s) work together to establish a calendar for future department articles. The Department Editor(s) share the topic and scope of intended articles with the AEiC, and do the first round of editing with prospective articles. A near-finished version is passed to the AEiC for comments and final suggestions.

Articles in departments should follow the same guidelines as regular articles with respect to interest and accessibility to a general readership. Additional guidelines for Department Articles is here:

Department Articles

This link includes expected length (2200-3700 words), and other important details. Department editors (DEs) should balance writing their own pieces and soliciting pieces from outside sources. Both are perfectly fine but a balance between the two is ideal so both the editors’ own voices comes through, as well as outside voices. Editors may also receive unsolicited articles.

What Content to Look For

Of particular importance is the first sentence at the previous link: "Articles in departments should follow the same guidelines as regular articles with respect to interest and accessibility to a general readership."

First and foremost, this means that papers should be well-written in readable English. It also means that IEEE Security & Privacy (a) does not publish pure research papers, and (b) encourages prose, not math or symbolic notation. Opinion and position pieces are common. Regardless, the pieces should be reasonable of broad consideration of a technical society’s readership and neither be self promotions nor promotions of others’ particular products. Check with the EIC or AEIC if there is a question.

More details on may of these elements of the magazine’s mission and scope are on the main page of the wiki.

Manuscript Frequency and Deadlines

The magazine aims to run 3-4 columns per year per department. Generally, the due dates for manuscripts is roughly as follows:

Manuscript due from DE to AEIC: No later than 3 weeks before the Final Text Due to IEEE (2.5 months before publication). E.g., for the Sept./Oct issue, this would be June 1

Manuscript due from AEIC to EIC: No later than 1 week before Final Text Due to IEEE (2 months before publication). E.g., for the Sept./Oct issue, this is around June 15.

Final Text due from EIC to IEEE: ~2 Months before Issue Month. E.g, for the Sept./Oct issue, this is around July 1.

Issue Month / Month + 1: Publish around the 1st of the Issue Month + 1. E.g., for the Sept./Oct issue, this would be around October 1.

Note that all of these dates should allow for time for the full workflow, which includes:

(1) soliciting content from authors
(2) receiving the write-up from authors (or the DE writing it)
(3) providing editorial comment to authors,
(4) get revisions from authors,
(5) send to the AEIC overseeing your department,
(6) AEIC sends to EIC,* (bios and headshots should also be sent to the EIC at this time)
(7) EIC submits to the IEEE

Thus, DEs should have what they feel is a final version from authors approximately 1 month before the manuscript is due to the AEIC.

It is the responsibility of the DEs to ensure quality of manuscripts. The EIC has confidence and trust in all DEs to bring in pieces that are suitable for the magazine. DEs are encouraged to work closely with authors to ensure quality (either technically, scoping, and stylistically) and check with AEICs or the EIC if something questionable or controversial arises to resolve issues. It is always better to work things out in advance, or in the backup case, hold something for a future issue, rather than run material that isn't ready. Despite this, given the nature of the publication, there are layers of review built in, and it is also the responsibility of the AEICs and EIC to provide an additional set of reviews of all manuscripts before they are published in order to ensure that pieces published meet the standards of the magazine.

How DEs Can Be Successful

Work ahead -- do not generally attempt to do real-time publishing. Historically, the most successful departments have had multiple columns from multiple authors in various stages of preparation simultaneously. Having 5-6 of these going at once, representing perhaps up to two years of content, is not out of line.

Additional Details

Please copy and use this template to capture your ideas, keep track of manuscript status, and give AEICs and EICs an at-a-glance ability to see details of how things are going for your department:

When ready to submit a final version to the EIC, please have everything ready to go, including magazine sources (not just the PDF), sources for supporting materials, like figures, as well as bios and author contact info.

Where to Get Help

AEICs and the EIC are here to help support DE. Ask us if you have any questions or concerns at all.