Stages of Peer Review

Stages of Peer Review from Submission to Accept/Reject Decision

IEEE Access strives to maintain an expedited peer review process of only 4 to 6 weeks, however, all article submissions still undergo a thorough peer review process to ensure only high-quality articles are published. IEEE Access has a typical acceptance rate of about 30%, which is comparable to other IEEE journals. Learn more about rapid peer review.

Detailed below are the stages of peer review after article submission.

Stage 1
Upon submission, each article will automatically be run through plagiarism software to check for similarity to other published work, including an author’s own work. For more information on avoiding plagiarism, please click here. If any issues are detected, the article will be immediately rejected, and may result in further investigation and/or corrective actions.
Stage 2
The article will undergo a thorough prescreening check that includes being evaluated for grammar, formatting, confirming that none of the authors listed are on the IEEE Prohibited Participant List (PPL), and confirming the article was not submitted elsewhere at the same time. The article will also be vetted by a Senior Editor to confirm the article fits within scope of IEEE Access, and that the technical substance is to IEEE standards. Depending on the severity of any issues presented, the article will either be immediately rejected, or returned to draft so the authors can update their article accordingly and resubmit. For a full submission checklist, please click here.
Stage 3
Should the article submission pass the initial prescreening process, it will then be assigned to an experienced Associate Editor (AE) who will provide a second thorough vetting of the article to determine its suitability for peer review based on quality, technical content, and scope. If the AE feels the article is appropriate for peer review, they will begin inviting qualified and relevant reviewers who are experienced in the area of expertise of the manuscript. Reviewers will evaluate if the article contributes to the scientific community, if it is technically sound, if the subject matter is presented in a comprehensive manner, and if the references provided are applicable and sufficient.
Stage 4
Once the AE receives enough reviewers’ feedback (with a minimum requirement of 2 independent reviews) they will evaluate the reviewers’ comments, the article itself, and will then determine if the article should be accepted or rejected, as per our binary peer review process (see below). Please keep in mind that the final decision rests with the Associate Editor, and the reviewers only provide recommendations.

Understanding the Decisions

Due to the binary nature of IEEE Access, authors will receive an accept or reject decision after the article has completed peer review. If the article is accepted, authors are able to make minor edits to their articles based on reviewers’ comments before publication. If the article is rejected for publication, the reasons will be explained to the author. Peer review decisions are detailed below:

Accept (minor edits): The article is acceptable for publication as is. However, we do recommend carefully reviewing all of the AE and reviewers’ feedback to incorporate any necessary small edits prior to submitting final files. For more information on final files and publication, please visit our Post Acceptance Guide.

Reject (Updates required before resubmission): The article has potential but requires updates before it is suitable for publication. The authors will receive detailed feedback that they will be able to utilize to update their article accordingly. Upon resubmission, authors will be required to provide a detailed point-to-point document highlighting each reviewers’ concerns and how the authors have addressed each concern. Revised articles will be assigned to the same AE and reviewers unless the original AE and reviewers are unavailable, or the AE feels they need additional feedback to make a decision. In such cases, new reviewers may be assigned.

Authors are only permitted to resubmit their article once.  If all concerns and criticisms have not been properly addressed, the article will be rejected without the opportunity to revise and resubmit.

Reject (Do not encourage resubmit): The article is not suitable for peer review and updates are too extensive to improve the manuscript. Future submissions of the article will not be accepted. If an author resubmits an article that was previously reject (do not encourage resubmit) the article will be immediately rejected.

Peer Review Taxonomy Pilot

IEEE Access is participating in a pilot that identifies and standardises definitions and terminology in peer review practices across publishers.  The pilot aims to help make the peer review process for articles and journals more transparent, and enable the community to better assess and compare peer review practices between different journals.

The following summary describes the peer review process for IEEE Access:

Identity transparency: Single anonymized

Reviewer interacts with: Editor

Review information published: Editor identities

We would greatly appreciate your feedback on this short survey to help us shape this project. Please visit this Form to share your thoughts.