Dr. Ahn has circulated an email in our group recently regarding the IEEE’s policy on reusing material from prior publications. I found that the material in this document by Douglas Verret was important enough that it shall be highlighted here. A few of the key points:

  1. The Publications Products and Services Board (PSPB) operations manual is available here.
  2. “Authors should only submit original work that has neither appeared elsewhere for publication, nor which was under review for another refereed publication.”
  3. “Two specific features have been identified that distinguish regular papers in the TRANSACTIONS from conference papers. First, regular papers undergo a rigorous review process that marks them as having met or exceeded accepted standards of scholarship.” “Second, regular papers by definition are less cryptic and condensed and therefore offer better clarity, more complete justification of findings and more detail overall.”
  4. “There is no value to the readers in republishing verbatim an extended abstract that has appeared or will appear in a public archive in either paper or electronic form.”
  5. “Of particular importance are a few guidelines that are mandatory. They are: 1) the conference paper must be cited in the enhanced version; 2) the author(s) must explain in the introduction specifically how the conference paper has been enhanced; 3) if the conference paper is not available in Xplore®, the authors must provide an electronic or paper copy of the conference paper; 4) if IEEE does not own the copyright for the paper and figures, the author(s) must obtain the appropriate permission for IEEE to republish them.”
  6. “It is anticipated that at least a third of the enhanced manuscripts contain relevant material that was not in the conference paper.”
  7. For journal papers, a more complete reference list and extended introduction compared to conference papers is suggested.
  8. If information in a paper is not unique, refer to work that explains the relevant topic such that space is not wasted.
  9. Use the questions asked in conference talks to better approach the journal version of a topic.

Personally, I think much of this is obvious, but we’ve all read journal and conference papers that are virtually indistinguishable in terms of content. I think this is something that all reviewers need to take to heart. It’s not a given that if a topic is good then the paper should be published. We all have to keep in the back of our minds: “What is valuable in this paper?” If a figure, discussion, or analysis in a paper doesn’t lend insight, it is our responsibility as the reviewer to cut it out. Perhaps this will cut out journal papers that are just “conference papers with extra simulations.”  What are your thoughts?