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Guidelines for Reviewers

  • IEEE official and detailed guidelines can be found here
  • ScholarOne official & detailed guide for reviewers can be found here

We publicize the following statement on the IEEE S&P website

IEEE Security & Privacy magazine’s mission is to be the best source of reliable, useful, peer-reviewed information for those aiming to understand how systems, data, and people are protected in a world of rapid technology evolution. This bimonthly magazine publishes articles that have clarity and context, targeting a wide audience who understand technology, from developers to executives, managers to policy makers, and researchers interested in problems with practical impact. Peer-reviewed articles and columns by real-world experts illuminate all aspects of the field, including systems, attacks and defenses, software security, applied cryptography, usability, forensics, big data, ethics, biometrics, and more, with special issues focusing on targeted topics as well as issues devoted to key events and conferences.

This statement means that

  • Articles should not be like a research papers that are focused on details. Articles should provide insights about a subject by considering and evaluating different approaches based on certain criteria: for instance an article can implement a number of schemes used for smart contracts and compare and evaluate them. S&P is interested in the general added value rather than a very specific and scientific article. An example would be a paper that systematization of the existing literature and provide "recommendations" of what one could do to tackle the problems of the existing work, not worked out proposals of solving that problem.
  • Some subjects could be a "point of view" or a "position" article. For example, someone may raise a valid criticism to a current security policy issue.
  • There are always exceptions. If there is any question of whether a paper fits these criteria or would otherwise be of interest to IEEE S&P, we recommend contacting the EIC.

How do You Review?[edit]

Reviewing for this magazine is different from reviewing for a conference or journal. Articles are approximately six pages long, and should be accessible to the broad spectrum of readers of S&P.

For your reference, we've provided a .docx version of the review form that the Scholar One system will provide for you to fill in on-line.

The main criteria are:

  • Is the article of general interest for a wide spectrum of readers?
  • Is the article presenting a topic in a very understandable way but yet remains at scientific level?
  • Is the article presenting the state-of-the-art accurately? An article does not necessarily need to present completely new material. Many times material presented has been published and peer-reviewed somewhere else. For instance, an article about botnets could cover the state of the art and include an evaluation of the existing work and how the authors think better solutions should be or, what could be the directions.
  • Is the article a good short systematization of knowledge, if it represents a survey?

Scholar One and the Review[edit]

Scholar One generates an email invitation to review in response to an editor's selection of you, the reviewer. From the mail server's point of view the email source is, with a subject line that starts with the text Invitation to Review for the IEEE Security and Privacy. So if you have agreed out-of-band with an editor to review, please look for this email and/or fiddle with your spam filter to let email from through.

The email invitation will include three links, one each to indicate whether you accept the invitation, decline the invitation, or are unavailable. Accepting the invitation will generate another email, and put you on a schedule for reminders generated by Scholar One.

The follow-up email will provide a direct link to s site where you can access the paper and fill in a review, and a link to the general Scholar One site for IEEE S&P where, upon logging in, you select the reviewer role (N.B. if you are an author or an editor it will provide you options to select those roles also), and be presented with a list of papers you've agreed to review but have not yet completed the review. Selecting the one just assigned takes you to the same page as the direct link.

The review form is pretty self explanatory. It asks you to rank the submission with respect to

  • Reader Interest, particularly w.r.t. relevancy to IEEE S&P
  • Content. What are the key points? Is the submission technically sound? What are its strongest and weakest points?
  • Presentation. Are the title and abstract appropriate? Does it contain the right references? Is it well organized? How readable is it?

The review allows inclusion of private comments to be seen by the only by the editor, and public comments that are communicated also to the author. The review allows you to include files you would like to present as part of the review, and asks for a recommendation from among Accept With No Changes, Accept If Certain Minor Revisions are Made, Author Should Prepare A Major Revision for a Second Review, and Reject. Recommendation of a major revision implies your willingness to re-review a revision in the event it is presented.