IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

Information for IROS Editors

IROS Conference Review Board (ICRB) Timeline for 2013

22 March 2013 Submission deadline
24 March 2013 Papers placed in profiles and initial AE assignments available for Editors to review
26 March 2013 Deadline for Editors to review papers in profile and AE assignments to papers
29 March 2013 Papers assigned to AEs
5 April 2013 Deadline for AEs to assign papers to reviewers
5 April 2013 Deadline for AEs to summarily reject papers
10 April 2013 Deadline for Editors to endorse/revise AE summary rejection recommendations
1 May 2013 Deadline for reviewers to submit reviews
17 May 2013 Deadline for AE final reports
29 May 2013 Deadline for Editor endorsements of AE reports
June 2013 Executive PC Meeting (ICRB Editor-in-Chief attends)


Overview of Review Process and Editor Responsibilities

The IROS Conference Review Board (ICRB) is organized in the same way as the ICRA CEB. There is one Editor-in-Chief (EiC), 15 Editors (EDs), and more than 200 Associate Editors (AEs). Each paper to be reviewed will be assigned one Editor and to one of the AEs that that Editor supervises. The AE will be responsible for obtaining a minimum of two high quality reviews for each paper they handle, and for preparing an AE recommendation that explains the recommended decision regarding the paper acceptance and presentation type. The AEs will also help to identify papers to be considered for awards. The Editors will be responsible for reviewing and endorsing the work done by the AEs on the papers for which they are responsible.

This page focuses on issues for Editors. The process from the perspective of AEs is noted on the IROS ICRB: Information for IROS Associate Editors page.

Assignment of Papers to Editors and AEs:
Keywords are partitioned into sets, each of which is the responsibility of one Editor. When a paper is submitted to the conference (via PaperPlaza), the author's choice of keywords will be used to determine to which Editor and AE the paper will initially be assigned. This initial assignment, which is done automatically by the system, is then reviewed by the Editor in Chief and the Editors to avoid conflict of interests (COI), to improve the matching of the expertise of the AE with the paper, and to provide load balancing across the AEs. Finally, the AEs must review the papers assigned to them and inform the supervising Editor of any COI they may have with their assigned papers.

Editor Tasks and Responsibilities:
1. The Editors should review the keyword assignments proposed by the EiC and notify the EiC of any problems.
2. After the keywords have been set, the Editors should start recruiting AEs whose expertise matches their assigned area of expertise. As AEs agree, the Editor should send their names, affiliation and paperplaza PIN to the EiC and the EiC will send them an official invitation from paper plaza.
3. After submissions close, the EiC will do an initial balancing of papers in profiles and will use the paper plaza tool to do an initial assignment of AEs to papers. After the Editors have been notified this is done, they should review the papers in their profile for conflict of interests (COI) with themself or their AEs. They should notify the EiC of a COI they have with any of papers in their profile so it can be moved to another profile and they should move papers between AEs in their profile to address any known COIs. Editors should also look for papers that are better handled in another profile, or that are duplicate or "empty" submissions. All of these cases should be reported to the EiC who can take care of them.
4. First week after papers released to the AEs:

  • The Editors should reassign papers within their profiles when AEs alert them to AE COIs or because the paper does not match their expertise. If the Editor cannot handle the paper within their profile, they should notify the EiC so it can be moved to another Editor.
  • AEs have 1 week to assign reviewers for their papers. The Editors should monitor that process, and prompt any AEs that are not doing this in a timely fashion or who are not selecting appropriate reviewers.
  • AEs also have 1 week to recommend summary rejection (i.e., rejection w/o review) for any of their papers. Editors should review those recommendations, including the AE report which will be sent back to the authors, and make a decision on it.

5. Second Week after papers released to AEs: During the second week of reviewing, the Editors should review any summary rejection recommendations made by AEs and determine if they agree with them. If so, they should notify the EiC. If not, they should notify the AE and ask them to send the paper for review.
6. During Reviewing Period:

  • Generally, Editors should keep an eye on their AEs and make sure they are making progress, e.g., requesting new reviews if reviews are cancelled, if disparate or low quality reviews are received, writing and submitting AE reports as reviews come in, etc. The Editor should help the AE with any difficult situations.
  • When potential plagiarism cases are reported, the Editor should review them and make a determination as to next steps, informing the EiC as needed. Additionally, the Editor should review all papers with similarity scores of 40 or higher and prompt AEs to review them in more detail if they are not already.

7. After AE reports are submitted: After the AE report has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the supervising Editor, who will be responsible for checking that the quality standards of the review process (including number and depth of reviews, significance of AE's reports avoiding undecisiveness) have been met. The Editor will complete a brief report in paper plaza for each paper they handle, whereby the correctness and completeness of the reviewing procedure is endorsed.

Editors will also overview and endorse the identification of award candidates by the AEs.

Note about Organized Sessions and Organized Papers: From the perspective of AEs and Editors, papers submitted to organized sessions will be handled in the same way as any other paper. The decision regarding whether an Organized Session Proposal (ISP) will be accepted, and if so, which papers will be included in it, will be handled by the Excutive Program Committee (EPC).


Getting Started, (Re) Assigning Papers to AEs, and Monitoring the Reviewing Process with "Digests"

The review process for IROS is managed using the PaperPlaza system. PaperPlaza provides a wide variety of tools to help AEs manage the review process. Reviewer assignments, review entry, AE reporting, and final decisions are all managed using PaperPlaza.

To access the system, go to the PaperPlaza page, click Start and then Log in. If you have forgotten your login information, you can retrieve it using the PIN management page.

It may be useful to spend a few minutes looking over the help pages, and in particular the Associate Editor's FAQ at the PaperPlaza site: PaperPlaza Help Page.

(Re)Assigning Papers to AEs: A simple way to (re)assign a paper to one of your AEs or change the assignement is as follows:

  • click on the "Workspace" link
  • click on your profile designation (your initials)
  • click on the "Details" link for the paper you want to move
  • click on the "Assign" link
  • you should see a radio button where you could select "None" or one of your AEs

Monitoring the Review Process: A useful way to monitor the review process and see the ratings and text for the reviews and the AE report is to use "Digests" as follows:
Tools > Program > Digests
After you have the digest page, select the items of information you are interested in and then hit the "submit" button at the bottom of the page. The spreadsheet resulting from your work will show up at the top of the page.


Editor Reports - Endorsement of AE Reports

The Editor needs to review and endorse all AE recommendations. The Editor is responsible for checking that the quality standards of the review process (including number and depth of reviews, significance of AE's reports, avoiding undecisiveness, etc.) have been met.

Support has been added to paper plaza so that the Editor reports can be done in the system. For each paper you handle, you can submit a report by clicking on the "Report" link in next to the paper's information in your workspace. The report has similar format to the AE report. You will be required to complete the following parts of the report.

  • A rating of A, B+, B, C, C-, D, or U. Please note that you should not use the rating of B-. Please note that the editor recommendation should help to distinguish the papers that received low or high borderline from the AEs.
  • An indication of whether you think the paper is a potential award candidate.
  • An indication of whether you think the paper would be suitable for interactive presentation (called multimedia in the form).
  • The plagiarism report section
  • The confidential comments to the Program committee. If you agree with the AE's report and recommendation, you can simply say "ok".

If you have already submitted your Editor report for a paper and wish to change it, please send the Editor-in-Chief the paper number and ask them to change the status of the paper to be under review so you can re-edit it.



Plagiarism cases involve serious accusations, which should be dealt with carefully. IEEE has clear policies to follow. IEEE defines plagiarism as the reuse of someone else's prior ideas, processes, results, or words without explicitly acknowledging the original author and source. It is important for all IEEE authors to recognize that plagiarism in any form, at any level, is unacceptable and is considered a serious breach of professional conduct, with potentially severe ethical and legal consequences (source: Section "8.2 Publication Guidelines" of the IEEE PSPB Operations Manual, "Guidelines for Adjudicating Different Levels of Plagiarism." )

CrossCheck database and iThenticate tool
IROS has access to the CrossCheck database, and initiative to prevent scholarly and professional plagiarism. Every submission will receive a plagiarism similarity score. The score and scan reports are generated by an external provider (iThenticate) and the scan reports are stored on the iThenticate servers and not downloaded to the conference submission system servers. Eventually the reports are deleted from the iThenticate servers at a time determined by conference and provider policy, after which they are no longer available.

IMPORTANT: It is very important to note that it is not possible to draw any conclusion from the iThenticate numerical score alone. Unfortunately, due to the output from iThenticate algorithms, there will be a number of false positives. One issue is that it represents a a cumulative score so that, e.g., a 1% similarity with 40 papers is shown as 40% similarity. Another issue is that there may be large similarity, but still not plagiarism. For example, if an author has a version of their paper as an technical report or in a public dropbox someplace, it might get a very high (e.g., 99% or 100% similarity score). Hence, it is necessary that the detailed report be scanned to make sure that there is indeed a case of plagiarism. Also, some of the papers will not scan properly due to font problems.

The iThenticate reports are available to you as Editor and to your AE but they are NOT available to reviewers. You can access the reports for a particular paper, or prepare a digest containing the reporst for all the papers in your profile as follows.

To see the report on a particular paper:

  • Click on the "Details" link for a paper, either by putting the paper number in the "Go to" link, or from your "Workspace".
  • click on the "CrossCheck" link
  • the similarity score percentage
  • click on the "View" link in the "Report" column to see the plagiarism report.
  • Also on that page you can set one of two plagiarism flags, "Possible case of plagiarism" if you think there is plagiarism, and "Plagiarism report needs to be followed up" if you are not sure but think it should be followed up. The AEs can also set these flags.

To create a digest for all the papers in your profile:

  • Tools > Digest
  • Select the submission types to include all types (you need to have the "Contributed paper" and "Organized Session paper", but all types will get them both)
  • Select the items you want in the digest, including at least "Nr" (paper number), "Plagiarism score (%)" (Plagiarism similarity score from Crosscheck), and "Plagiarism flag".
  • Hit the "Submit" button to create the digest.

This will give you a summary of all the papers in your profile which you can process as you wish, e.g., sort by similarity score, identify flags, etc., that will allow you to easily identify the papers that have scores 40 or higher, which should all get an inspection by you (and the AEs).

Self-plagiarism. The definition of self-plagiarism is that the paper includes substantial overlap with another of the authors published paper(s) and that the previously published paper is not cited in the references and/or the contribution of the current paper over that other papers is not described in the current submission, both of which are required by IEEE policy.

The AE should be able to determine if self-plagiarism is a concern by reviewing the paper and the plagiarism report. If this is considered to be the case, then the AE should set one of the plagiarism flags and inform their managing Editor. If the Editor agrees, then they should inform the Editor-in-Chief who will also review the paper and the report. If the EiC concurs, then they will inform the Editor and AE that the paper is a candidate for summary rejection and will request that the AE prepare a report describing the reason for the summary rejection.

The Process


  • The similarity score and iThenticate report are available to AEs and to Editors, but not to reviewers.
  • Discretion and confidentiality are extremely important. The reviewers, AEs, and Editors should not discuss the details or names of potential plagiarism case with anyone other than the persons above them in the chain, e.g., an AE could discuss with their supervising Editor or the Editor-in-Chief but not with another Editor or AE.
  • Comments related to plagiarism should be in the confidential comments for the PC and should not be mentioned in the comments for the authors. It will be up to the plagiarism process to determine what actions to take and what to report to the authors.

AE Procedures:

  1. For all papers whose similarity score is 40% or above, the AE should review the paper and the iThenticate report.
  2. The AE should provide a report regarding their findings in the confidential comments of the AE report.
  3. The AE should indicate their determination regarding potential plagiarism in the plagiarism report section of the AE report.
  4. If the AE indicated "plagiarism report needs to be followed up" or "possible case of plagiarism", then they should alert their Editor.
  5. Unless instructed otherwise by their Editor or the Editor-in-Chief, the AE should follow the review process normally for the paper by obtaining reviews and making a recommendation for acceptance based on the reviews and their own technical evaluation of the paper. It is important that this is done so that the paper can be treated fairly if the plagiarism alert is determined to be unfounded.

Plagiarism may also be spotted/reported by reviewers (recall, they don't have access to the iThenticate report). If a reviewer detects a potential case of plagiarism, then they should document their concerns in the confidential comments portion of their review and should alert their AE. It is important that the Reviewer is factual in their remarks, and that as much and detailed evidence is provided as possible. For instance, this could be a copy of the supposedly plagiarized paper with the copied parts highlighted. It should also be noted that there exist freely available software that can detect plagiarism automatically: if this was used, details on the query and its outcomes would also be useful. Based on this information, the AE should use the information provided by the reviewer in the same fashion in which they would have if the alert was prompted by the iThenticate report.

Editor Procedures:

  1. For all papers whose similarity score is 40% or above, whether or not they have been flagged by the AE, the Editor should review the paper and the iThenticate report, and then should review the AE's plagiarism report for accurracy and completeneteness.
  2. The Editor should provide a report regarding their findings in the confidential comments of the Editor report. If they agree with the AE report and have nothing to add to it, then they can simply note that in their comments.
  3. The Editor should indicate their determination regarding potential plagiarism in the plagiarism report section of the AE report. If they agree with the AE determination, they should record make the same determination in their report.
  4. If the Editor indicated "plagiarism report needs to be followed up" or "possible case of plagiarism", then they should alert the Editor in Chief.


Organized Sessions and Organized Papers

Organized session proposals and organized papers will be handled as follows:

  • Organized Session Proposals (ISPs) will be reviewed by the Executive Program Committee (EPC).
  • Organized papers (those linked to an ISP) will be considered and reviewed just like any other contributed paper - that is, the AE will get two independent reviews, and draft a recommendation purely based on the technical merits of the individual paper. Reviewers should not even be informed of the underlying organized session proposal.
  • Good papers submitted as organized, whose session will eventually be turned down by the EPC, will be nonetheless accepted and presented in regular sessions. Good session proposals, for which only few good papers were submitted as organized and accepted by the IPC, might be integrated by the EPC with other accepted papers in the area. These aspects of how sessions will be formed pertain to the EPC, and they should not concern the AEs or Editors.