For those looking for articles that explain how original research is being applied and for prospective authors who would like to see their articles published in a cutting-edge journal, there is now IEEE Access. Launched in May, it’s IEEE’s first free, online, open-access megajournal—with “mega” referring to a publication that covers a range of disciplines instead of a single field or topic.
And because the review process for articles in IEEE Access is fast, its information is not only of high quality but also very timely. The articles also include supplemental content such as video and audio clips of authors explaining their work, results of actual simulations, and access to huge data sets.
“The IEEE community has found that many high-quality articles by well-known authors are not getting published because their subjects are not in the mainstream or fall outside the narrow scope of topical journals,” says IEEE Fellow Michael Pecht, the editor in chief of IEEE Access and a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, in College Park. “And by the time it’s published, an article may no longer be timely and is subject to restrictions that our megajournal overcomes.”
The usual article, for example, is typically limited in page length and certainly does not include video and audio clips or the actual data that were developed. Authors will now have more ways to convey their message and justify their results.
“IEEE Access is completely online, with no page limits, and adding supplementary materials is no problem,” Pecht continues. “For example, one article includes the actual simulations conducted by the authors so that others may replicate the experiments and better understand the assumptions when conducting new ones. Readers may now see the work more clearly and can work with the information in different ways.”
Available from the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, the megajournal is supported by an article-processing charge to the authors of US $1750 to help cover operating costs. That fee covers content management, article submission and review systems, editorial and composition services, and marketing and other expenses.
Articles have been submitted to the journal since last November, and Pecht says he has been pleased with the quality. Articles are posted daily.
“They have been written in such a way that they appeal to a large audience,” he says. “Authors have also included large reviews of the literature so readers from other engineering disciplines can understand the technology presented and its impact on current research.”
YES OR NO
IEEE Access follows what is called a binary peer-review process. This means articles initially undergo the same rigorous editorial review as all other IEEE articles. But after this, the article is either accepted or rejected, as opposed to undergoing multiple rounds of revisions.
According to Pecht, the average time from submission to publication currently ranges from two weeks to two months. “This is a very fast turnaround for a publication with a full peer-review process,” he notes. “Our goal is to complete the review in two weeks.”
Authors are notified of the publication decision soon after the peer-review process has been completed. Those whose articles are rejected are provided with reviewer comments. They can submit new versions of their articles based on that feedback, providing they explain the changes they have made.
Authors will also be required to sign an open-access article copyright transfer form. This allows IEEE to make the article available at no cost to readers and outlines the many ways readers can use it, including for data or text mining. The form also allows IEEE to protect the author’s content by registering the paper with the U.S. Copyright Office and gives IEEE the authority to resolve any issues that may arise, such as plagiarism.
Once an article is accepted, it will appear in IEEE Xplore in PDF format within a few days. After a week, the article will also be available in HTML format, which is more interactive.
IEEE also offers other options, or publishing models, for making articles available at no cost. One is the open-access model in IEEE’s hybrid publications, which publish both traditional, subscription-based content and open-access, author-pays content.
For an article processing charge of $1750 paid by the author, the article will be offered free via IEEE Xplore. Content must, of course, fall within the scope of the hybrid and undergo the same comprehensive peer-review process as other articles.
IEEE also has topical electronic journals that publish open-access articles only. These focus on either an overarching theme or a narrow topic within a specific engineering discipline. They include the monthly IEEE Journal of the Electron Devices Society, the semiannual IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing, and the quarterly IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine. Article processing charges for these start at $1350 per article.
“IEEE Access and the other open-access journals provide an outlet where researchers can display their work in varied, nontraditional formats,” Pecht says. “Authors come from many different IEEE fields of interest; the desire for open access is widespread in the engineering community.”