SIAM Journal on Computing

Instructions for Referees



SIAM Journal on Computing (SICOMP) depends heavily on our referees, and we are greatly indebted to you for maintaining the quality and timeliness of our journal. Thank you for your help in assessing manuscripts.

Review Process


Review Process

The manuscript submission and peer review process is broken down into the following steps:

  1. The author submits a manuscript.
  2. The editor-in-chief assigns an associate editor to act as review editor for the paper.
  3. The associate editor assigns referees.
  4. The referees review the manuscript and send reports.
  5. The associate editor makes a decision and the author is contacted.

Navigating the System

All SIAM Journal on Computing papers go through review in the web-based Journal Submission & Tracking System. When invited to serve as a referee there are two ways to gain access to the manuscript.

  1. You'll receive an email with basic information about the paper, and a link to view the manuscript. When you use the link to gain access to the web-based system and to see the paper, you are presented with a link to accept the assignment, and a link to decline the assignment.
    1. Accept referee assignment: If you accept, the link will automatically log you into the system and take you directly to the files for the pertinent paper.
    2. Decline referee assignment: If you are unable to review this manuscript and must decline we appreciate any suggestions of potential referees. You can suggest other reviewers or offer any observation on the paper by email. You can also enter your observations or suggest other referees directly into the system after you click the decline link.
  2. You can alternately access your files by logging into the system here, using your user name and password. You are then taken to your "Home" page. It will list your assignment via a manuscript link. After clicking this link, you will be presented with a screen containing:
    1. Information about the specific manuscript and the paper in PDF format
    2. Links to Accept/Decline to serve as a referee
    3. A link to contact journal staff

Review Manuscript

Once in the system you will be presented with a "Manuscript" screen. At the bottom of this screen under "Manuscript Tasks" is a "Review Manuscript" link. Clicking on this link displays the "Review Manuscript" screen. This screen asks for a recommendation and for a report.

Note that in giving a recommendation, along with a free-form text box that allows you to copy and paste a report and /or comments, you must:

Select from a drop-down menu. This manuscript is:

  • Very interesting, excellent
  • Interesting, good
  • Fairly interesting
  • Deserves publication somewhere
  • Uninteresting

Select from a drop-down menu. I recommend the following decision:

  • The results should definitely be published in SICOMP (possibly after major revision)
  • The results can be published in SICOMP (possibly after revision), pending further consideration of journal needs
  • Reconsider if this can be published after major revision, outlined in comments
  • The main result could be published in SICOMP, but the paper is too long
  • The paper should not be published in SICOMP, reject

If you recommend publication, there is one more series. Leave at the default setting of "Not Applicable" if you do not think eventual publication appropriate. Select from a drop-down menu. If publication of the paper was recommended I suggest the following action:

  • Paper needs a major revision, outlined in comments
  • Paper needs a minor revision, outlined in comments
  • Acceptable as is

Other Notes

Free-Form Text Box for Reports

If you prefer to work offline, you may find it faster and easier to download and print the manuscript, draft your review remarks in plain text or TeX, and copy and paste into the referee remarks text area on this screen.

NOTE: As a referee, you have the option of attaching a file to deliver your report. It is recommended, however, that you instead use the text box on the Referee Recommendation Screen to type or paste plain text or TeX code. PDF and Word file attachments sometimes contain hidden information that reveal your identity. If you must send an attachment know that it may be forwarded to the author by the review editor, so please be sure to first edit the file for profile information that, if left in place, could disclose your identity as the owner/creator. See more information on finding and removing identity clues in referee reports.


Private Note to Editor

There is also a text box available if you wish to include a private message to the editor. Comments entered here are not meant to be seen by the author(s).


Getting Help

If you need additional help, click on the "Help" signs throughout the system. A "Help" dialog will pop up with context sensitive help. You can also contact SIAM for further assistance.


Author Rights to Unpublished Manuscripts

All manuscripts are privileged documents; an author retains the right to the unpublished work. A referee should not use results or ideas obtained exclusively through the refereeing process in his or her own research.

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