Peer Review Process

On this page:

Suitability for peer review

Referee reports and manuscript revisions

Editor decisions

Suitability for peer review

Submitted articles will be given an initial assessment of suitability. Articles that do not pass this check will be rejected from the system and returned to authors under a very short deadline for re-submission. Manuscripts submitted for publication must meet the following criteria to be considered suitable for entering the peer-review process:

  • Manuscripts must conform to the scope of TAS.
    • The scope may be extended for the special issue to include topics presented at a conference.  The Special Issue Editor-in-Chief has authority over the scope.
    • This is explained under Policies for Publication.
  • Manuscripts must present a scientific discussion. 
    • An introduction shall explain the context and background for the work, making suitable references to work by others.
    • Original experimental design, methods, materials, theory, development, or other such material shall be presented. The approach shall follow a scientific method, and the method should produce results. Data, figures, tables, and other findings should be included to describe the results in ways that are easy for the reader to understand. The paper should explain what is different from the experimental design, methods, etc. used in comparison to those used by others in the field, with appropriate references.
    • A discussion of the implications of the work for the field shall be included. The discussion may draw conclusions, raise questions, or define the state of the experiment if incomplete. The discussion should be relevant to the data, results, figures, tables, etc. provided, and should follow a logical process. Conclusions are a very helpful summary for the reader; however, there are occasions when a formal conclusions section might not be warranted. The discussion and any conclusions should be compared to discussion points raised and conclusions reached by other workers in the field, with appropriate references.
  • Manuscripts must provide suitable references. A typical paper has 10 or more references. Authors may always extend the paper length to an extra page (or more) free of charge to provide space for references. Self-citation is rarely sufficient, and papers with only citations to other work by the primary authors will come under close scrutiny. Moreover, the omission of references to the experimental approach, results, discussion points, or conclusions made by others will likely be strongly questioned by referees. Citations to other papers submitted for publication must use the text IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond.  (submitted for publication).
  • Manuscripts must be written in suitable English language. While occasional grammar errors clearly do not affect the ability of a reader to gain knowledge from a manuscript, or the ability of a referee to judge the technical content of a manuscript, systematic errors and poor writing confuse the message being conveyed. Manuscripts judged to not convey a clear meaning due to poor writing will not be sent on for peer review. 
  • Manuscripts must use the proper style and format. The large volume of manuscripts submitted to the Special Issue requires streamlining of the article production. This is automatically facilitated by following the IEEE Style Guidelines and using the article template. Manuscripts that require significant re-formatting may be deemed to be too difficult to repair, and may not be submitted for peer review.
  • Manuscripts must pass the mandatory plagiarism check. IEEE requires all manuscripts to be screened for improper re-use of material. Please see policies at A high fraction of duplicate content, including figures and graphics, may trigger an inquiry of misconduct by IEEE Publications, above or in addition to any actions taken by the editorial staff of TAS or the Special Issue.  

Referee reports and manuscript revisions

Editors will enlist two or more referees to evaluate the technical content and other aspects of the manuscript. Referees will provide comments via the standard TAS Review Form. The comments from referees will be copied into the decision letter, which will be sent by e-mail to the contact author. If you have not received a report in a timely manner, please inquire with the manuscript editor or the managing editor to ensure that notifications are not being diverted by filters.  

Authors should take care to respond to every issue raised by the referees and editor and to enumerate their responses explicitly by carefully preparing an Author Response Letter. Also, authors should explicitly summarize all changes in the manuscript. Indicating changes by red text in the revised manuscript is very useful for the editor and referee. Authors may reject or rebut comments made by referees, and in this case, an explanation and specific text or references should be pointed out.

Revised manuscripts are uploaded through the same portal used for the original submission. The revision should include:

  1. A cover letter directed to the editor; 
  2. An author response letter directed to referees, which responds to each point raised by each referee;
  3. The revised manuscript;
  4. Any revised supplemental files, e.g. figures.

The cover letter may incorporate the author response letter; however, authors should be aware that the author response letter will be attached to further e-mail correspondence with referees.

Upon receipt of the revised manuscript, the editor will evaluate the author responses and the changed content. For major revisions, a previous referee may be consulted a second time by the editor to confirm that concerns were indeed addressed by the changes in the manuscript. Also, new referees may be contacted for their opinion.

Editor decisions

The peer review process ends when the editor reaches a decision to either accept the manuscript in its lastly revised form or to reject the manuscript for a variety of reasons. Reasons for a reject decision include, but are not limited to:

  • Violation of IEEE publication policies;
  • Lack of suitability;
  • Lack of technical merit;
  • Lack of originality;
  • Insufficient demonstration of context within the field;
  • Insufficient revision;
  • Lack of progress toward improvement;

Authors may appeal a reject decision by writing to the editor, which may result in a review of the editorial process as circumstances warrant. However, the peer review process developed for special issues includes multiple checks by editors at multiple levels, so it is important for authors to first understand the peer review process before requesting an appeal.

A manuscript is expected to improve at every step of the peer review process. Authors should notice that, at most, 2 stages of revision are permitted by editorial guidelines: 1) major revisions should improve at least to minor revisions; and, 2) minor revisions should improve to accept. Papers that do not improve at each stage will motivate editors to issue a reject decision for insufficient revision or lack of progress under typical circumstances.  Authors should keep in mind that the special issue has a publication deadline, unlike the regular TAS issues, which might not accommodate repeated rounds of manuscript revision.  

In all cases, it is the editor who makes the decision to accept a manuscript for publication. Lead Editors or the Editor-in-Chief shall be consulted for all papers facing rejection. That is, two editorial levels will evaluate recommendations before a reject decision is made. These policies are also required by IEEE publication standards.