SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization

Instructions for Referees


SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization (SICON) 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

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 a corresponding editor and an associate editor to handle the review of the manuscript.
  3. The associate editor selects referees to review and report on the manuscript.
  4. The referees review the manuscript.
  5. The associate editor makes a recommendation, which is then reviewed by the corresponding editor.
  6. The author is contacted with the decision.

Navigating the System

All SICON 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 that takes you to the manuscript. From this webpage, you can also accept or 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.
  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:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor
  • Not appropriate for the journal

Select from a drop-down menu. I recommend:

  • Reject
  • Return to the author for major revisions, outlined in report
  • Return to the author for minor revisions, outlined in report
  • Publish as is

Other Notes

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 Editors

Referees wishing to make a point to the editors that is not meant for the author can use the text box labeled "Private Message to Review Editor." This is found directly below the "Detailed Comments" text box where you enter your report. The "Private Message to Review Editor" text box is optional, and should be used only for items not to be forwarded to the author. The editors will receive these comments, but they will be separate from the main report and will be labeled as "confidential." Please note that these comments will be seen by both the associate editor and the corresponding editor handling this paper.


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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