More Information for Reviewers

IEEE TMI review guidelines:

A letter to all IEEE TMI reviewers

Dear IEEE TMI reviewers,

I am sending this short note to keep you informed about the status of TMI and to inform you about the editorial policies in place that may affect the way you review the papers.

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the exceptional service you provide to the medical imaging community by volunteering your time to review the submitted manuscripts. As you are well aware of, IEEE TMI is a highly ranked and consequently highly selective journal. This on its own makes your role as a reviewer an extremely important one.

I am sure that you realize that the medical imaging research community continues to grow. Consequently, the number of submissions to TMI is increasing accordingly as is the quality of the submissions. While the number of printed pages available to IEEE TMI is also growing (and will reach 2000 this year), it is not growing as fast as the number of "good" papers that we need to evaluate and make decisions about their acceptance. As a result, the acceptance of the papers to TMI is becoming increasingly competitive.

In this context, I want to re-iterate some TMI's policies that have been in place for years but that may not be on your mind when reviewing the papers.

  1. When assessing the paper, please consider whether the paper is "exceptional", "excellent", or just "good" and make your recommendation accordingly. Please keep in mind that we are a selective journal and that there are many "good" papers that we simply cannot accept due to space limitations — so please recommend acceptance or revision for those that are truly exceptional or excellent, and recommend rejection for the other ones.
  2. Please note also that it is the policy of TMI to only allow one major revision for a paper that was returned with "Reject/Resubmit: major revisions needed and new external review required". In other words, if you receive such a revised manuscript for review, you should make either a recommendation to accept (possibly with a minor revision) or reject with no further consideration. The "Reject/Resubmit" should not be your recommendation unless there is some truly strong reason for allowing a 2nd revision — which you would need to justify in your review. This is motivated by our desire to concentrate on the best papers and not increase the demand on reviewer's time for papers that do not have a high promise to deserve publication in TMI. This should also increase the level of polish of the original and revised manuscripts.
  3. Dealing specifically with your possible recommendation of Reject/Resubmission — I want to encourage you to ask the following questions before you decide that a paper should be rejected with a resubmission encouragement:
    • Will the revision turn this paper into a first-ranked manuscript (not just a manuscript with major problems fixed)?
    • Is the contribution novel and revolutionary enough to warrant publication in TMI?
    • Is the impact of the paper going to be significant enough to warrant publication in TMI?
    • If you can answer "yes" to all these questions, by all means please give the authors a chance to revise and resubmit.
    • If, however, you have doubts about the outcome of a revision, please consider recommending that the paper be rejected with no further consideration. It may actually free up the authors to submit to another journal faster than by going through one more round of TMI reviews — and it will let all of us (Associate Editors and reviewers) concentrate on the best of the best manuscripts and consequently continue increase the quality of TMI and the entire field.
  4. At the same time, please do not put your recommendation in your comments to authors. Please put these in the comments to the Associate Editor. As you know, your comments are sent to the authors anonymously but unedited. In cases when the Associate Editor's recommendation or the final decision does not agree with the reviewer's recommendation, such statements are not productive and I deserve the right to delete those from your recommendations, if present.

Let me thank you again for the extremely important job you are doing as a reviewer and for the many hours you spend providing service to the community.

I am looking forward to seeing you during one of the upcoming conferences and to discuss any suggestions, concerns, or observations you may have.

Milan Sonka
IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging