a presentation of the
IEEE Education Society



Editor-in-Chief (1997-2001),
IEEE Transactions on Education

Dean, College of Engineering
University of Nevada at Reno USA

May 2004

other presentations available at the
Society's Distinguished Lecturer Program site

Disclaimer/Claimer: The opinions, comments, endorsements, and other such information provided here are not those of the IEEE Inc. or of the IEEE Education Society, they are solely the opinion of their author.


Introduction of the Guest Speaker—Professor Ted Batchman

List of Questions

Each question will be hyperlinked as that material is posted.

1. What are some common problems with submitted papers?

2. What's the difference between a conference paper and a journal paper (e.g., the review process, the level of expectation of the peer-review-journal reviewer vs. the conference paper reviewer)?

3. What makes a 'acceptable' journal paper and what makes an 'award winning' journal paper?

4. How important is the bibliography/references?

5. So that we can better understand the time-element of the review process, can you review the editorial process from submission to publication?

6. Any advice for authors whose native language is not English?

7. Any advice for those who have a journal paper and wonder about turning it into a book? [Note: I plan to have someone from IEEE Press provide some input when this question is under-discussion.]

8. Any thoughts about plagiarism? Have you ever had to address this issue?

9a. (ONE QUESTION WITH 3 PARTS) I'm a new faculty member and I want to get-published and build a reputation (and get-tenured). Should I try to get published in a top-of-the-line journal or should I work-my-way-up by sending my manuscript to a B-level journal or an editor-reviewed publication?

9b. When evaluating a faculty member for tenure, how do you as a Dean evaluate a faculty member's list of publications in regard to the journals that he/she is published in? For example, might 2 publications in a B-level publication equal 1 publication in an A-level publication? Is it better to have a large number of conference papers published or a few journal papers?

9c. And, how might getting-published in a professional publication that is not peer-reviewed but editor-reviewed be viewed?

Questions from the Floor

10. From: Mike Powers (mnpowers@mtu.edu)—I have volunteered to review papers for several conferences in the past six months and would greatly value Ted's thoughts on how to be a good reviewer.

11. From: David V. Anderson (dva@ece.gatech.edu)—Do you have any tips for responding to a reviewer and/or the editor when you disagree with a reviewers statements?

Closing Remarks

Go to the closing remarks by Ted Batchman

Thank you message to Ted Batchman from IEEE Education Society President David Kerns

Closing remarks by the moderator—Rob Reilly


Fri, 30 Apr 2004 21:51:07 -0400
From: Rob Reilly

Good day everyone,

I am glad to 'see' so many of you. Thank you for coming to this presentation, which is brought to you by the IEEE Education Society.

Today's topic is:


The speaker is very well qualified to make this presentation. Professor Ted Batchman, an IEEE Fellow, is the immediate past Editor- in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Education. He served in this position from January 1997 through January 2001.

Ted has a BS, MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering. He spent 4 years in the aerospace industry after receiving his PhD (1966- 1970). He began his academic career at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia (1970-75) where he was involved in optical systems and devices research. He then returned to the USA and assumed a position at the University of Virgina (1975) where he continued his research in electro-optics and semiconductors. In 1988 he moved to the University of Oklahoma to become the Chair of the Electrical Engineering Department and then in 1995 he moved to the University of Nevada, Reno as Dean of the College of Engineering, which is where he is today.

Ted has seen 'publication issues' from the viewpoint of a faculty member trying to get-publish, a department chair evaluating faculty and their publication record, and as the Editor-in-Chief of the Transactions. And Ted notes that he: "now has the view from the dean's office of how faculty in other fields publish and how they view different publications."

But before we welcome Ted, I'm going to make make a few logistical comments and post the questions that I'll be asking Ted. I will post that information tomorrow (I'm actually stalling as there quite a bit of traffic on the Mailing List Subscription Web Page; I want to be sure everyone is 'seated' before we begin).

Again thank you for coming to the presentation; we shall begin momentarily.

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu


Sat, 1 May 2004 10:38:19 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Hello Everyone,

Good day everyone. At the moment there are 257 people subscribed to this discussion. Most are from the IEEE Education Society, others are from the ASEE ERM Division and the ASEE ECE Division--and, we are from all parts of the world, which will make the discussion's 'timing' and 'flow' an interesting issue.

Allow me to offer a few comments about the process of this presentation.

I imagine that this presentation will last about a little over one-week. This all depends on the ebb-and-flow of things!

I will ask Ted one question at a time and he will respond to it. The questions are listed below. After Ted posts his response, please, feel free to ask Ted a question. I will wait a reasonable amount of time before I ask Ted the next question; this is to assure that everyone has had an opportunity to ask Ted about his response. Please bear in mind that this is the *model* for this discussion, there are no hard-and-fast rules; for example, if you think of something that you should-have-asked Ted in regard to his response to Question #2 and the discussion is currently involved with Question #6, please do ask your question at an opportune time--use your judgement.

I'll wait a bit before asking Ted the first question to allow for any additions to the List of Questions.

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu

Sun, 2 May 2004 13:07:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Let me turn the floor over to Ted Batchman so that we can begin this discussion about: 'Getting Published in the IEEE Transactions on Education,' which is the IEEE Education Society's peer reviewed journal. For information about the journal see:


Ted: We all appreciate you taking the time to be here for this presentation. And I'm sure the 'audience' is of the same opinion. We are all looking forward to hearing your thoughs on this topic.

1. So let me start by asking you: 'What are some common problems with submitted papers?

Sun, 2 May 2004 23:09:15 -0700
From: Ted Batchman

Rob and all the EdSoc Readers,

Thank you for inviting me to do this interview. I will try to answer all the questions as best I can. A word of advice to all the readers: Contact the current editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Education or any other journal you may be submitting to for the most recent information. I have not been an editor for three years so there are some changes since my time.

Now for the question: "What are some common problems with submitted papers?"

There are several problems that will cause a paper to not receive favorable consideration by the editor or associate editors. First the abstract should give a clear description of what the paper is presenting and what are the outcomes. Many authors do not spend much time on the abstract but it is extremely important. It will be the first thing that the editors and reviewers will read. If the abstract does not capture the readers interest, then it is likely the body of the paper will not capture the interest of the reviewers.

A second point that authors should consider: Always make sure that your paper is readable! What I mean by that is to check for spelling and grammer errors. Then have someone else read the paper that is not intimately famaliar with the work to make sure that it makes sense and is readable. If the reviewers have a difficult time reading the paper or it does follow a logical presentation format, it will likely be rejected. For authors that are not native English speakers or writers, they should have someone who reads and speaks English well review the paper before submitting it.

A third consideration is, what is original and new about this research? If the paper is just presenting a slight variation on what someone else has already published, then it is not likely to be accepted.

A very critical issue that authors need to present in their manuscript is the assessment of what they have done. By assessment, I mean a valid assessment of the results of the new technique being proposed. It is not good enough to say "I did this and the students really liked it." What is needed is some assessment that the students have learned the material better. Before and after test scores or the use of a control and experimental group and a comparison of results for the two groups are examples of what the reviewers are looking for in assessment techniques.

A minor but still important point is to give some thought to the title. I do not believe it is good to have a paper title which has the name of your university in it. For example, "A New Computer Engineering Curriculum at the University of XYZ," appears to be an advertisement for the University of XYZ. What would be better would be a title such as, "Computer Engineering Curricular Changes to Address ABET Requirements." Also, keep the title short. A title that is three or four lines long will have to be shortened.

Also, when you write the paper it should be written at the level of most readers. It should not be too simple and provide a lot of background information which most readers already will know, but it should be at the level of someone else teaching the same courses in the same area.

Another important point is that papers showing a different method of proving a theorem, for example, will have little interest to the reviewers and readers unless you can show with your assessment that it will improve the students comprehension of the material.

Read your paper and ask yourself if this is something you would like to read or are you just trying to get something published.

I hope this helps the authors in starting the preparation of their paper.

Ted Batchman

Mon, 3 May 2004 18:53:53 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Ted hello,

When there are multiple authors, do you think it's better to have one author pull-the-material-together from the other authors and actually write the manuscript, or does it seem better to allow each co-author to work on a piece of the manuscript and have a single person edit the manuscript before it is submitted?


-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu

Mon, 3 May 2004 16:59:01 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Ted Batchman

The answer to this depends on how well the authors write together. Usually if you have multiple authors you can tell when the author changes in the manuscript. If this change is relatively small, it does not detract from the manuscript, if all authors maintain the same tense (person) and style in their writing. One difficulty in using multiple authors is that the change in writing style by the different authors may lead the editor or the reviewers to question whether some of the material has been plagiarized from another source.

From a practical standpoint, it may be difficult to produce a manuscript which reads as though it was written by one person. So I generally recommend that one author be responsible for writing the paper. It will then read very consistently and maintain the flow of thought in the manuscript. The other authors should carefully proof read the manuscript so that it is both technically correct and says exactly what they would like to say.

What really turns out to be a problem for the editors is the case where a paper is submitted with several author names on the paper and the lead author then asks to remove one name from the paper. The editor must then have written permission from the author whose name is being taken off the manuscript in order to remove the name.

Always make sure that all authors are comfortable with the manuscript and agree to submit the manuscript before sending it in!

Ted Batchman

Tue, 4 May 2004 09:45:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Ted, thanks for that information.

Let's move to the second question:

2. What's the difference between a conference paper and a journal paper (e.g., the review process, the level of expectation of the peer-review-journal reviewer vs. the conference paper reviewer)?

NOTE: If anyone has any questions to ask Ted, please feel free. Just reply to the posting and we'll all receive it..

Tue, 4 May 2004 11:31:55 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Ted Batchman

Let's start with the goals of a conference paper first. A conference is usually designed to verbally share information through a presentation that also allows questions and answers. A conference is also very much leading edge and all the work may not be in the format to be published in a journal yet. So most conference are designed for quick dissemination of information on research and allows some feedback (questions) from the audience. Also, keep in mind that some conferences focus on getting as many attendees as possible because it is a source of income. A journal publication is underwritten by a society (IEEE Education Society for example) membership. Thus the society prints the journal as a forum for publication and does not necessarily expect to break even or make money on the publication.

I know some conferences were the accepatance rate of papers is well over 90%, some are around 50 to 60% while others are less than 10%. So there is a wide range of paper review depending on the conference. Some conferences only review the abstract and accept or reject on the abstract alone. Journal papers will normally have a much lower acceptance rate than most conferences. I do not have the current data for IEEE Transactions on Education, but it was between 20 and 30% acceptance rate when I was Editor-in-Chief.

Some conferences, like Frontiers in Education, try to review all papers by three reviewers. The papers also have a page limit as do most conference publications. Now as we go to more electronic publication, the page limit is less important because publication cost of electronic publications are not the same as that of a paper publication. Another important point with conferences is that you are working toward a fixed deadline because the date of the conference has been fixed several years in advance. Thus you must have all the papers ready for your publication deadline. The paper is also primarily as backup for the oral presentation.

Most journal papers are reviewed by a minimum of three reviewers and normally all three plus the associated editor must agree that this paper is worthy of publication. A journal paper also must be well documented because reviewers will normally look at some of the reference material as well. In many cases the reviewer will actually go through the equations and make sure that everything is correct. A journal paper also often has to go back to the author(s) for revision or inclusion of more data and assement information. With a journal publication, the deadline for review is not quite as important because you often have other papers that you can put in the monthly or quarterly issue.

In general, the journal publications represent a more stringent review and represent a higher level of quality publication than a conference paper. This is partly due to the different missions of the two publications.

Both conference and journal publications are important ways of communicating your research work. I encourage my faculty to do both since they do serve different purposes.


Tue, 04 May 2004 10:07:39 -0400
From: Wei-Fan Chen


Can a conference paper be re-submitted to a journal? Does this violate the copyright issue? For example, if I have a paper published in FIE 04 conference proceedings, can it be submitted to the IEEE on Education? Thanks!

Wei-Fan Chen

Tue, 4 May 2004 13:12:35 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Dr. Ted Batchman (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

Wei-Fan Chen

Very good question. Generally, the answer is no, unless the paper is substantially rewritten. A journal paper will normally have more depth and detail than a conference paper. So few conference papers meet the criteria for a journal paper.

You also bring up the question of copyright. In the case you mention, IEEE hold the copyright for both FIE and the IEEE Transaction on Education. Where you would run into copyright problems would be if you were publishing in FIE and IEEE holds the copyright and you then submitted the conference paper to another journal (not FIE). That would be a problem.

In the past, we selected the best FIE papers for publication in the ASEE Journal of Engineering Education. This is not being done any longer because the papers had to be rewritten and go through another review process. The copyright issue was also raised in this example.


Wed, 5 May 2004 09:43:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Ted good day,

Let's move to the third question.

But first let me mention that if anyone misses any traffic in this discussion the archive is located at:


Here's the question:

3. What makes an 'acceptable' journal paper and what makes an 'award winning' journal paper?

Wed, 5 May 2004 11:52:05 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Ted Batchman (batchman@engr.unr.edu

Let's make sure everyone understands what an "award winning" paper is. It is one which would be nominated for the Best IEEE Transactions on Education Paper Award.

First, it must be something that is really original and unique. Second, it will need to have an exceptionally good assessment section that demonstrates that what is being proposed really does improve student learning and comprehension of the material.

Before the engineering education profession became involved in assessment (partly or largely brought about by the US accreditation process), good Transactions on Education papers largely focused on presenting new or unique methods of solving problems or new or unique laboratories. Now we ask that the author have data to show that what is being presented actually works and the students learn more and hopefully retain more because of the technique the author is describing. So that is a necessary part of every paper, but a very good assessment is vital to an award winning paper.

Now, what is unique, original or new about an award winning paper? There are several things that can make a paper unique. For example, early on, a number of educators started using spreadsheets for solving engineering problems. The first author that submitted a paper solving an EE problem had something unique, but then other authors started appling the same technique to different EE problems so it was still somewhat unique but the first paper would have been the one most likely to be considered for the award. Another thing that may make a paper unique is the use of a technique to help the student visualize something that is a very abstract concept. In electrical engineering, it is difficult for many students to visualize an electric or magnetic field or the propagation of a wave. To the instructor, it may be simple but to the student it is very abstract. So a technique that helps the student understand the concept is valuable and may be unique.

Finally, the award winning paper must be well written! It should read well and be easy for the reader to follow the presentation. Authors need to have either a co-author and preferably someone else read the paper to see if it really reads well. When I was editor-in-chief, my editoral assistant who was not an engineer, would read the papers. Even thoough she did not have the technical background, the really good papers were written well enough that they would not only read well and were easy to follow, but she could understand much of the central idea and could understand the assessment techniques.

While I understand that most department chairs and deans put pressure on faculty to publish, I would stress the importance of not just submitting papers but really taking the time to write a good paper. You might want to ask your chair whether an "award winning" paper counts more than just another paper published. I know when my faculty have an "award winning" paper that receives recognition, I take notice of that!

Thu, 6 May 2004 10:12:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly (reilly@media.mit.edu)

Hello All,

Here is a question that I'm posting for an audience member.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Please tell us about the citation index of a paper. Can an often cited paper qualify to be an award winning paper?.

C. S. Indulkar


Thu, 6 May 2004 08:38:16 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Ted Batchman (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

In most cases the citation index is delayed and does not help in selecting the "award winning" paper. We select the award winning paper at the end of the publication year so that the award can be announce at the Fall FIE meeting. If the citation information is available, to the editor and associate editors at the time they are making the selection, then they would certainly consider it. However, usually the citation index is really only meaningful after the best paper has been selected. This again is changing as we become more electronic in our publications. Even with the electronic era, a paper that is published at the end of the year will have much less time to be cited than a paper published in the first issue of the year.


Thu, 6 May 2004 10:16:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly (reilly@media.mit.edu)

Hello All,

Let me post the next question right on the heels of the audience member's question about citations and award winning papers since they have commonalities and provide a nice segway.


4. How important is the bibliography/references?

Thu, 6 May 2004 08:59:37 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Ted Batchman (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

Let me distinguish between bibliography and references.

A bibliography would be a compendium of background and related papers in the general area. It would normally contain papers which would be considered the seminal papers in the area. Unless the author is writing a paper reviewing the general area, then a bibliography would not be warranted in the paper.

References are material that the author is using as part of the foundation for the author's work. References are extremely important. For one thing, it shows that the author is aware of and has read the work of other researchers/teachers in this particular area. References also provide the reader with materials that they can read to reach the same conclusions that the author has reached. References often contain the foundation or seminal papers in the area but the reference list should not be a bibliography.

I would give the authors some advice here. First, if you have no references, it usually raises concerns with the reviewers because the message you are giving them is that either you are unaware of anyone else working in the area or you don't feel anyone else has done any work of significance. Second, authors should not just include a large number of related papers that really do not support their paper. Including the additional "references" just make it look like you are trying to impress the reviewer with your knowledge. Also, we are limited in the number of pages we can publish in the transactions during the year and excess "references" just take space from other papers.

So, unless you have talked to the editor and are writing a special paper reviewing a particular topic, don't include a bibliography. If you are presenting a regular paper, include only the materials you need to build the foundations for your paper in the references.


Thu, 6 May 2004 20:47:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly (reilly@media.mit.edu)

Ted hello,

This has been very enlightening, let's go onto another question:

5. So that we can better understand the time-element of the peer-review procedure, can you tell us about the process from submission to publication?

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu

Fri, 7 May 2004 08:59:54 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: "Dr. Ted Batchman" (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

The timeline from submission to publication is partly determined by whether the journal is going to all electronic submission and review or whether they are still using and accepting paper manuscript submissions. The IEEE Transactions on Education was one of the early adopters of electronic submission and review so that the time from submission to publication could be minimized.

Let me go through the process and I will point out the steps that all papers go through and I think that you can see how going electronic can speed up the process by a few months time. Also keep in mind that the editor-in-chief, associate editors, and reviewers are all volunteers who have regular jobs that demand their time!

First the paper is submitted by the author to the editor-in-chief. (Electronic obviously cuts down on mailing time for overseas authors.) The paper will be logged into the database and given a tracking number. The author is notified of receipt of the paper and given the tracking number for use in future correspondence with the editor-in-chief. The editor-in-chief will normally look over the paper and decide which associate editor will be assigned the paper. The associate editor then decides which reviewers will be assigned the paper to review. (Associate editors normally have a list of reviewers with expertise in various areas. One associate editor may receive all paper associated with digital electronics, for example and have a dozen or so reviewers that he/she regularly sends papers to.) Most editors try to balance the load on the reviewers so no one has too many papers at one time. The paper is then sent to the reviewer who is able to review the paper in a timely manner.

Now the review phase is often the most time consuming. First all reviews are done by volunteers who are working full time at their regular job. Thus they are doing a review as a service to the publication. The reviewer must spend the time necessary to read the paper, make sure that it is technically sound and may even need to consult with someone else about the paper. Ideally, the associate editor would like to have the reviews back in a few weeks, but in reality because of reviewers work schedules, travel, etc. it may take a month or more. The associate editor must get all the reviews in from the reviewers before making a recommendation on the paper. In some cases the associate editor may want to find another pereson for a paper review if the reviewers seem to be split on whether or not the paper merits publication. Most journals use at least three reviewers and oftern four reviewers for each paper.

After receiving the reviewers input, the associate editor makes a recommendation to the editor-in-chief as to publish with minor changes, request major revisions and a second review, or to reject the paper. The editor-in-chief then makes the final decision and notifies the author.

If the paper is accepted with few revisions, the author will be asked to make the changes and send the final manuscript to the editor-in-chief. The editor-in-chief will then schedule the paper for publication. The paper may not appear in the next issue of the journal because the editor-in-chief may already have a sufficient number of papers for that issue or the issue may have already gone to press.

An important point that I almost forgot is this: The author must submit the copyright form to IEEE before the paper can be published!

If the paper is sent back for rewrite and resubmission, that usually means that the reviewers found the paper interesting but it was not well written or clearly explained, or more information was needed. If this is the case, the paper will go through the review process again and will take longer than the paper with minor revisions to get published. The author will be given the reivewer comments and should try to address all of the reviewer comments if possible.

Once the paper is accepted for publication, it is sent to the editor of the journal at IEEE headquarters. The editor is then responsible for formatting the paper for the journal, putting together the entire issue and getting the issue to the printer and getting it on the electronic website.

Now when everthing was done by paper and postal mail, about the minimum turnaround from submission to publication was six months, and it often was closer to one year. With the electronic (digital) submission and review process the goal of IEEE is to go from submission to publication in three months. IEEE Publications tracks how quickly journals are able to process papers. While it may seem to authors that it takes forever, we are trying to speed up the process. I would say the thing that takes the most time is for the reviewers to review the paper. When I was editor-in-chief, I often had authors complain about the slow review process, but many would not volunteer to be paper reviews. Most associate editors are always on the lookout for good reviewers.


Sat, 8 May 2004 11:23:26 -0400 (Eastern USA)
From: Rob Reilly (reilly@media.mit.edu)

Ted thank you for that insight,

6. Any advice for authors whose native language is not English?

Sat, 8 May 2004 15:55:25 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Dr. Ted Batchman (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

If your native language is not English and you do not use English for most of your communications, then it is a good idea to have someone help you after you have the initial draft of your paper. If the reviewers have a difficult time reading and understanding your paper, it will very likely be rejected or at best sent back for major modifications. The editorial staff will not rewrite the paper for you. A few spelling corrections may be made, but there will not be major rewriting of the paper.

So, who should you get to help you with the paper. I suggest someone that is either very fluent in English or someone whose native language is English. I realize that may be difficult for some authors because there may not be anyone available whose native language is English. I suggest two things that can help a lot. If you have someone that you have worked with or collaborated with in the past who has good English skills, ask him/her to read the paper and give you an honest opinion about the readability of the paper. This person does not have to be a technical person but he/she should be able to read the paper and understand the important points you are trying to make.

But, before you send it to anyway, use a good English word processor software package that has spell checking and grammar checking capabilities. This can and will help greatly. After you have done this, then have someone else read it.

In my experience as editor-in-chief, I know there were several papers that I felt might really have a good idea, but the writing was so poor that it was difficult to judge the content. Such papers may, if you are luck, be sent back for major revisions.

I suggest using the spell checker and grammar check for all authors. Many papers written by English speaking authors have numerous spelling and grammar errors. Always do the spell check. If you have many errors, it is a message to the associate editors and reviewers that you really don't care that much about the paper.


Sun, 9 May 2004 12:45:26 -0400 (Eastern USA)
From: Rob Reilly (reilly@media.mit.edu)

Good day everyone.

I'm going to skip question #7, which has to do with turning a manuscript/paper into a book. I will contact the staff at IEEE Press and ask if someone from that office could come and make a 'presentation' here in the near future.

With that said let me move to question #8 and pose that to Professor Batchman.

8. Any thoughts about plagiarism? Have you ever had to address this issue?

Sun, 9 May 2004 22:13:33 -0700
From: Ted Batchman

Yes, I had to deal with one confirmed case of plagiarism and one suspected case of plagiarism. Let me make sure we are clear on what constitutes plagiarism. It is copying someone's work without giving them credit for it. There is a difference between copying the work of someone else and quoting that person or referencing their work.

The confirmed and suspected cases of plagiarism during my tenure as editor-in- chief of the IEEE Trans. on Education were easy to spot and trace down. In one case the paper was exactly the same as another paper except that the author changed a couple of key words. The original article was published on an experimental teaching technique that was applied to an electronics course. It was an interesting approach and worthy of publication. The author in question used the exact same article with a different title and substituted "power systems" for "electronic circuits." It was easy to go back to the original paper and compare them paragraph by paragraph.

Needless to say, this author was no longer welcome to publish in the journal again. I am not sure what happened to the author once IEEE was notified, but I know IEEE does not treat this lightly and investigates if the person is an IEEE member.

The second case was a bit harder to trace down but it was easy to spot. When I was reading the article it was obviously that some paragraphs were written by a different author. Since the paper only had one author listed, I was certain that two different authors had written the paper. Checking the references the author listed, I found one paper with some of the same paragraphs about 90% copied. In this case the majority of the paper being reviewd was the author's original work. Needless to say, this paper was had to be rewritten before further consideration.

I would stress two things: 1) If you want to quote someone else give them credit for their work and if you quote them verbatim, then use quotation marks to signify that you are quoting the other author. 2) Plagiarism will ruin your reputation as an author for many years. If caught you may be prohibited from publishing in one or all of the journals put out by that publisher. It is not worth it.

I realize that there is considerable pressure on faculty to publish in order to be tenured and promoted. But many department chairs will contact the editor-in- chief or one of the associate editors that have reviewed one of your papers in order to assess the value of your research work. If you have been caught for plagiarism by that editor, it could ruin your career.

A similar issue that comes up is that an author will submit the same paper to several different journals. We discourage that but it is legal as long as you withdraw the paper from the other journals once it is accepted for publication by any one of the journals. Publishing the same paper in two journals may violate copyright laws and if not copyright laws it is certainly unethical in my mind. If I catch one of my faculty publishing the same material in different journals and not noting it, I will discard both publications from consideration.


Mon, 10 May 2004 12:58:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Hello All,

Before we move to the next question, allow me to make an observation:

On Sun, 9 May 2004, Ted Batchman wrote:

> A similar issue that comes up is that an author will submit the same paper to
> several different journals. We discourage that but it is legal as long
> as you withdraw the paper from the other journals once it is accepted
> for publication by any one of the journals.

It is typically the policy of publications in our field to state that an author should *not* submit a manuscript to more than one publication at a time.

A few years ago I had two different papers published in law journals. It was very interesting to note that the legal community operates under the assumption that when an author submits a paper to them that author has simultaneously submitted that *identical* paper to a number of other law journals. Thus the editorial staffs of law journals have quite a bit of pressure on them to render a publish/reject decision. The _Harvard Law Review_ has even setup a submissions Web page and guarantees a decision in 10 days or less if an author submits their paper to them exclusively.

See: https://www.harvardlawreview.org/manuscript.shtml

The _Harvard Law Review_ policy also states that they will give an author an "expedited review of your manuscript [if] you have an offer from another journal."

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 14:34:48 -0500
From: David A Conner (daconner@uab.edu)


The general rule in the engineering community is that a good engineering author will find several different ways to address a publication topic and will write several manuscripts from different perspectives (without appreciable duplication of content) that can be submitted to and published in different venues. However, the simultaneous submission of the same manuscript to different publications is not considered acceptable professional conduct.


David A. Conner, Ph.D., P.E.
IEEE Transactions on Education

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 15:59:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: David A Conner (daconner@uab.edu)


It just dawned on me that IEEE's Publication Policy statement addresses this matter.

Section 8.2 Publication Guidelines
Sub-Section 8.2.1 - Publication Principles
A. Authors of Manuscripts
9. Except as indicated in IEEE Policy 6.3.4 (Multiple Publication of Original Technical Material in IEEE Periodicals), authors should only submit original work that has neither appeared elsewhere for publication, not which is under review for another publication. If authors have used their own previously published work(s) as a basis for a new submission, they are required to cite the previous work(s) and very briefly indicate how the new submission offers substantively novel contributions beyond those of the previously published work(s).


David A. Conner, Ph.D., P.E.
IEEE Transactions on Education

Mon, 10 May 2004 14:17:02 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Ted hello,

Thank you for your time, we appreciate it.

The next question has three parts. Let me ask one part at-a-time.

9a. I'm a new faculty member and I want to get-published and build a reputation (and get-tenured). Should I try to get published in a top-of-the-line journal or should I work-my-way-up by sending my manuscript to a B-level journal or an editor-reviewed publication?

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu

Tue, 10 May 2004 15:13:13 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: Ted Batchman

My answer to this depends somewhat upon the individuals employment situation and I would recommend that the faculty member talk to the department chair, personnel committee or dean before making a decision. I also hesitate to label any journal as an A, B, or C journal although I know there are distinctive differences. Also with some journals there are "in groups" that do all the reviews and most of the papers published are from the specific areas. So what I am saying is to understand how different journals will be viewed by your department. If your department is really only going to consider publications in the "A" journals, then you must ask yourself whether you need the practice of publishing in a "B" journal before submitting to an "A" journal since the B publication will not count for much.

The reason I recommend talking to your department chair is to find out what the department philosophy is concerning journals. The same is true of research funding. Some institution have adopted the attitude that NSF funding is better than industrial research funding. While it is true that the NSF funding is peer reviewed and much tougher to get, the industrial funding may be exactly what is needed to get your program started before competing for NSF funding. It may also be true that you want to publish the work from that industrial grant in a conference or "B" journal. Not all the important research is sponsored by NSF and not all ground breaking papers are published in the "A" journals.

The other aspect of this question is a personal one. Do you need to build your own confidence by getting something published. It can be rather discouraging for a young faculty member to receive a rejection on a paper that seems to find nothing positive to say about the submission. If you suffer such a rejection, it may be better for you to rewrite the paper using the previous comments and submit it to another journal.


Mon, 10 May 2004 21:11:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Ted hello,

Let's move onto the next question. Perhaps I should ask both #9b and #9c at this time since they are quite similar.

9b. When evaluating a faculty member for tenure, how do you as a Dean evaluate a faculty member's list of publications in regard to the journals that he/she is published in? For example, might 2 publications in a B-level publication equal 1 publication in an A-level publication? Is it better to have a large number of conference papers published or a few journal papers?

9c. And, how might getting-published in a professional publication that is not peer-reviewed but editor-reviewed be viewed?

Thank you.

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu

Tue, 11 May 2004 09:55:44 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: "Dr. Ted Batchman" (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

As to how different publications are viewed, I refer back to my article yesterday. A lot depends on the individual institution so it is best for the faculty member to talk with their chair, personnel committee and dean to find out how different journals count.

Personally, I have been at institutions that have very rigorous formulas developed to make sure everything is counted accurately. In some cases 2 refereed conference papers are equal to a journal paper in other cases it may be 3 or 4 conference papers per journal paper. Other departments I have heard about have a list of journals that define rankings of journal publications. So you need to know the rules by which you are being judged. It seems like every institution is different. One of the problems with operating on a strict formula is that faculty then preform to that formula. In other words "what you measure is what you get." In one case we operated under a formula where 4 conference papers were equal to one journal paper. One enterprising faculty member found a series of conferences where all papers were accepted and published. (The conference was in business to make money.) So this faculty member had about 40 conference publications in one year which gave him the equivalent of 10 journal papers according to the formula. In reality, I doubt whether all 40 conference papers represented the work that should have gone into a good journal paper.

The point is not that I am judging your institution and whether it uses a formula or not, but that you need to know what the rules are before you decide where or what to publish.

The fundamental question which this raises is this: "Are we publishing just for tenure and promotion or do we really have something new to share with the rest of the world?" My experience as an Editor-in-Chief indicates too many papers are being submitted to meet the tenure and promotion criteria of the faculty members institution rather than to actually share worthwhile information.

Let me also say that as a dean, I get the opportunity to see many different disciplines, not just electrical and computer engineering. Different disciplines have different traditions which are followed. For example, several disciplines hold a big annual conference and if your paper is accepted for the conference, it is automatically accepted for the society journal. So, once you start presenting papers at the conference, you will almost automatically have your papers published in the journal.

As to part (c) of this question concerning editor reviewed publications, I personally would not attach as much weight to such a publication. It is not that the editor may not do a good job in the review, but such a journal depends on the consistency and breadth of knowledge on one person. Also that person must devote sufficient time to review all papers coming across his/her desk. I think the multiple review gives a better judgement of the quality of the paper.

Let me comment specifically on the IEEE Transactions on Education and my own experience. At one point in my career publishing in the IEEE Transaction on Education did not carry much weight because it was not considered a "leading edge research publication." At that time engineering education was not really considered research. The important journals for publication were those which were publishing technical research papers. Teaching and engineering laboratories was not really viewed as research in the same way as technical research. When NSF started funding research into engineering education, then it was recognized as a important research area. So publications such as IEEE Transactions on Education took on a new importance as a venue for publishing this funded research. How does your institution rate the IEEE Transactions on Education?


May 11, 2004 16:20 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly (reilly@media.mit.edu)

Ted, thank you for that presentation.

I do have a few questions from the audience.

From: Mike Powers (mnpowers@mtu.edu)
10. I have volunteered to review papers for several conferences in the past six months and would greatly value Ted's thoughts on how to be a good reviewer.

From: David V. Anderson (dva@ece.gatech.edu)
11. Do you have any tips for responding to a reviewer and/or the editor when you disagree with a reviewers statements?

Tue, 11 May 2004 17:59:43 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: "Dr. Ted Batchman" (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

Let me take the questions that recently came in.

10. Mike, I have a few suggestions for reviewers that may help you when asked to review papers for journals or conferences.

A. Remember the review process is extremely important to both the quality of the publication or conference. Do the best you can to provide an accurate unbiased review.

B. One of the biggest problems faced by an editor is getting the reviews back in a timely manner. If you say you will review the paper by a certain date, make every effort to get it in by that date. Most of the editors and conference organizers spend a lot of time following up with reviewers. If you cannot do the review, just say that you do not have time so that the editor can find someone new.

C. Provide useful and unbiased information to the author. Think about what type information would be useful to you as an author. It does not do an author much good if you say "the proof is all wrong," if you cannot show the author where you believe he/she is wrong. In other words, give specifics.

D. Don't degrade the authors work or try to make the author feel stupid. Be gentle but factual in your review. This helps both the editor-in-chief and the author.

E. Make sure that you provide a detailed list of items the author should address in either making minor or major corrections. Also make comments about organizational issues with the paper. For example, if the author spends far to much time on introductory materials, say so and suggest what you feel can be cut out. If the paper would read better by moving sections around, tell the author how you would suggest organizing the material.

F. Spend time studying the data to make sure that it really makes sense. If the author has a website showing materials used in his/her class, go to the website and try it out.

G. Suggest other references or research that you know about to the author. This may help the author in revising the manuscript.

11. David, you raise and interesting question. If you disagree with a reviewer or an editor, then you should respond to the editor-in-chief giving your reasons for why you disagree. It may be a simple matter of the reviewers not understanding your paper and further explanation will clear it up for the reviewers. So, the first thing to do is to make sure that everyone reviewing the paper understands what you have said in the paper.

The most important thing is to not be confrontational, especially if it is a simple misunderstanding of what you have said. The editor-in-chief will work with you to try to resolve the issue if you try to be reasonable.

If the disagreement still exists, then you need to work with the editor-in-chief and ask for additional reviews. You may want to suggest some reviewers who would be familiar with your work, and who the editor-in-chief could contact to get unbiased reviews.

If this is a paper presenting a new teaching technique, you may need to provide additional proof in the form of assessment data to convince people that it really works.

Hope this helps.


Wed, 12 May 2004 11:29:08 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rob Reilly

Thank you Ted,

There seems to be no other questions for you. So let me ask if you have any closing remarks.

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu

Wed, 12 May 2004 14:55:32 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
From: "Dr. Ted Batchman" (batchman@engr.unr.edu)

To all of you that participated in this discussion, I hope you have found it interesting. I think there were some good questions raised and I hope I was able to provide useful answers for you.

I want to make a few closing comments aimed primarily at the young tenure track faculty members in the audience. I just met with a junior faculty member doing a third year review. We are required to review the progress of junior faculty members after their third year. This faculty member is quite concerned about his publication record because he has four papers in the review pipeline and they have been under review for over a year. The faculty member wants to know how many publications he will need for tenure and promotion.

The reason I bring up this particular case is that it illustrates a common problem as well as a tendency we have to quantify everything. The problem is that the journals he has selected to publish his work have a long review cycles which makes it difficult for a tenure track faculty member. He is depending on how timely the reviewers are in providing the paper reviewers and editors for his career. The second point is that it is not just about numbers but about the quality of what he is trying to publish. I feel that we, as university administrators and faculty, tend to look too much at the numbers and not enough at the quality of the publication. That goes back to the question raised earlier about citations of your work. It is difficult to judge the quality without citations or other measures of quality and I am afraid that too often we substitute quantity for quality. As a former Editor-in-Chief, I can say that the authors of many of the papers submitted were more concerned about the number of papers they could submit in a years time than they were about the quality of what was being submitted.

I know that we cannot change the entire tenure and promotion system, but I hope authors will keep in mind that quality is important. I also hope reviewers will keep in mind that there are many young faculty out there that are depending on a quick review of their papers. Above all, talk to your department chair and/or dean and make sure you understand very early in your career what is expected.

Good luck to all of you!

Ted Batchman

Wed, 12 May 2004 18:10:45 -0400
From: "David V. Kerns Jr." (David.Kerns@olin.edu)


On behalf of the Education Society and particularly all those who have participated and learned a great deal... I want to sincerely thank you. We're grateful to you for your continuing contributions to the Education Society.

Dave Kerns,
President, IEEE Education Society

Wed, 12 May 2004 22:45:10 -0400
From: Rob Reilly (reilly@media.mit.edu)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has been a particular pleasure to have had so many of you attend this presentation.

I want to add my profound appreciation to Ted Batchman for taking time *everyday* to provide his words of wisdom to us. As a small token of our gratitude, the IEEE Education Society is giving Ted a $50USD gift certificate to the Outback Steak House.

Ted, we are deeply grateful to you.

Now let me provide some administrative closure to this discussion.

There were 271 people receiving this presentation via the EdSoc's Mailing List and approximately 20-30 people reading the discussion via the archive on the Web site.

Now that we are done here, you have TWO options.

One option is to unsubscribe from the mailing list. And if the next presentation is appealing to you, you can subscribe again. To unsubscribe. Send email to: 'majordomo@majordomo.ieee.org' (no quotation marks). You do not need to enter anything in the 'Subject:' line. In the body of the message up-against the left-hand margin type: 'unsubscribe edsoc' (without the quotation marks) and then send the message. If you have a problem let me know. If you do choose to 'unsubscribe,' you will be notified about future speakers as I will send a notice out to all IEEE EdSoc members, ASEE-ERM (via Eric Soulby) and ASEE-ECE members (via Hossein Mousavinezhad).

Another option is to stay subscribed. I am going to 'close' the mailing list, which means that you will not receive any posting-- noone can post any messages until I unlock (open) the mailing list again. Thus you are welcome to remain 'here' until the next speaker begins.

I am not sure who the next speaker will be or what the topic is going to be. I would like to follow-up this discussion with a speaker from IEEE Press who will talk about turning a paper into a book. I will work on that in the very near future.

If you would like to revisit this discussion it is located at:


It is also accessible from the IEEE Education Society Web site's main page, or by click on the "Publications" or the "Mailing List" hyperlink on the EdSoc's main Web page.


Stop by the archive, I have a nice photo of Ted Batchman there.


Thank you again, we are adjourned.

-Rob- reilly@media.mit.edu