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Reviewer Guidelines

As IEEE’s global magazine for students, we, the editorial team, are always on the lookout for high-quality manuscripts that will entertain and inform our readers.

Manuscript reviewers for IEEE Potentials are essential in helping to publish accurate, informative, and inventive articles geared toward the interests of undergraduate and graduate engineering students. We rely upon the knowledge and expertise of our reviewers to ultimately decide which manuscripts will be published in the magazine. Reviewing manuscripts is an important first step in the publication process.

Types of manuscripts
IEEE Potentials publishes two types of manuscripts: essays and technical articles.

Essays — Articles that may be either an objective or an opinion piece focusing on a topic relevant to engineering students. Essays are generally less technical in nature but may contain figures and/or images. These articles may focus on technology, theories, trends, or topics of interest of students and should be between 800–1,000 words in length.

Technical articles — Approximately 2,000–4,000 words in length, these articles focus on technical aspects, innovations, and research in both academia and industry. However, they should not constitute original research.

Manuscripts should be accessible to graduate and undergraduate students. They should be self-contained without any embedded reference citations.

How Potentials differs from other IEEE Magazines, Journals and Transactions
The scope of IEEE Potentials is “to provide undergraduate and graduate students…with an IEEE publication to address global issues, career development topics, and other topics” (MGA Operations Manual, §4.11B). In this respect, it is different from most other IEEE publications, especially the journals and transactions, whose purpose is to publish original research that expands human knowledge. An original research article is defined here as a detailed account of research, written by the scientists who conducted it, which is intended to serve as a primary source.

When presented with an invitation to review a manuscript

  • Let the editor know if your expertise and/or fields of interest cover the topic of the manuscript.
  • Decline an invitation to review if there is a conflict of interest with one of the authors. Conflicts of interest may include relationships with academic advisors and/ or  advisees, anyone at your current institution, members of your family, or people with whom you have collaborated during the last five years.
  • When declining a review, feel free to provide the contact information of a person who would be qualified to review the manuscript.
  • Upon accepting an invitation you will be provided three weeks to complete your review.

When writing your review

  • Keep in mind that reviewers serve as mentors to authors, helping to revise an article until each is suitable for publication. Both complimentary and critical comments are vital to the process. The goal is to help authors to identify the strengths of their manuscripts as well as the weaknesses.
  • Start out by summarizing the article in your own words. Is this topic relevant to a student audience? Why or why not?
  • Provide your overall reaction as well as a list of specific comments. What aspects of the article were strong? What needs clarification or more detail? Is it well written? Is the topic likely to be interesting and important to the magazine’s student audience?
  • Ensure that the article focuses on its stated objective.
  • Check that sufficient research and evidence to support the author’s claims has been provided.
  • Confirm that the information provided in the article is current, accurate, and consistent.
  • Cite quotations, give page numbers, and make direct reference to the specific areas of the paper on which you are commenting.
  • Offer comments on tables, figures, and diagrams. Is the article too lengthy? Does it contain too many figures, or too few? Are the figures relevant to the discussion in the text, or could they be made so?

Manuscript checklist—IEEE Potentials style

  • Articles should not exceed 4,000 words in length. Essays should not exceed 1,000 words.
  • Figures should be limited to ten or fewer.
  • All tables, figures, and diagrams require captions.
  • References should be limited to 12 or fewer. References should not be cited within the main body of the text.
  • Manuscripts should include a brief three- to six-sentence biography for each author including individual contact e-mail addresses.
  • Articles without equations are preferred; however, a minimum number of equations (six or fewer) are acceptable.
  • Sections within an article should be divided using sub-headlines. Essays are less frequently divided into sections.

When making your decision
When making a final recommendation on a manuscript, please choose one of the following options (Manuscript Central examples of each recommendation are provided in the screenshots below):

  • Publish As Is. The article fulfills all of the requirements listed above and is ready for publication.
  • Major Revision. The article has significant deficiencies in content and grammar. The author’s claims are not backed up by facts or the information included is too broad. The article does not adhere to IEEE Potentials style.
  • Minor Revision. The article contains a small number of easily correctable errors including grammar, missing references, and minor content clarification.
  • Not Suitable for Publication. The article is not suitable for publication. It does not offer any value to the readers of IEEE Potentials or its subject is so thoroughly incoherent that it does not merit an opportunity for a revision. Reviewers should make every effort to provide comments that will allow authors the opportunity to revise their manuscripts. Only those manuscripts that offer no relevance or value should be rejected.
  • Reject & Resubmit. The article in its current form is not suitable for publication and requires significant rewrites for more than 50% of the manuscript. However, it does contain value and after taking into consideration the reviewer’s comments would be worthy of an evaluation for future publication upon the author’s resubmission of the manuscript.

If you are recommending an article for publication, include why you feel it is appropriate for publication. Detailed reviewer input on articles that have been deemed “Publish As Is” are valuable in helping the editor identify which topics are particularly relevant to students.

Do not reject essays because you may disagree with the opinion expressed.

Judge the article on the relevance of the topic and how well the author makes his/her case.

If you are recommending a revision, provide alternative solutions for how the author might revise his/her article.

Please submit your reviews on time. If a review is going to be late, please notify IEEE Potentials’ managing editor.