# RA-L Information for Authors

## Scope

The scope of RA-L is to publish peer-reviewed articles that provide a timely and concise account of innovative research ideas and application results, reporting significant theoretical findings and application case studies in areas of robotics and automation.

## Keywords

Specifically involved are the topical areas and keywords listed here. All keywords should be interpreted as requiring relevance to robotics and/or automation. For example, "Deep Learning Methods" represents "Deep Learning Methods in/for Robotics and Automation".

## Submission site

Papers for RA-L and RA-L with conference option are submitted through the Paperplaza system: ras.papercept.net/journals/ral. Make sure to read this webpage in its entirety before submitting.

## Types of Submission

### Letters:

RA-L will publish manuscripts reporting on innovative ideas and results that need to be rapidly published in a concise form.

Letters are six pages long in two-column IEEE format (see below for details), including figures and references, with up to two extra pages with extra page charges, for a maximum of eight pages. Inclusion of multimedia material – videos, data repositories, code sources, etc. – are welcome. Other supplementary material, such as appendices, cannot be included beyond the allowed eight pages.

RA-L is an electronic-only, hybrid open-access journal. The final version provided by the authors will be rapidly posted on IEEE XPlore, and will be replaced by an edited, XML tagged version soon after. Submission of Letters to RA-L is open throughout the year.

Submitted manuscripts will be either published within six months from reception or rejected. RA-L papers are published online very soon after acceptance, so authors should complete any intellectual property/patent steps before submission.

RA-L uses single-blind review: The articles in this journal are peer reviewed in accordance with the requirements set forth in the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual (https://pspb.ieee.org/images/files/files/opsmanual.pdf). Each published article was reviewed by a minimum of two independent reviewers using a single-blind peer review process, where the identities of the reviewers are not known to the authors, but the reviewers know the identities of the authors.

### Letters with Conference Option:

Authors of manuscripts submitted to RA-L who also wish to present the same results at one of selected conferences will be offered this option during a definite time window.

Manuscripts submitted to RA-L with Conference option will undergo a regular RA-L review. Results of the first review round by the LEB will also be used by the Conference Senior Program Committee (SPC), which will decide the program of the Conference. Conferences can elect to use only first-round RA-L reviews to make the decision about presentation at the confernece, or they can decide to publish all RA-L papers with that conference option that are accepted to RA-L by the conference decision notifcation date.

A manuscript accepted for RA-L and included in the Conference program will appear on IEEE Xplore as a Letter in RA-L, while the Conference Proceedings on Xplore will include only a list of RA-L papers presented at the conference.

A manuscript submitted to RA-L with Conference option, accepted for presentation at the Conference but rejected for RA-L, will appear in the Conference Proceedings on IEEE Xplore (for IEEE conferences) or in that Conference's publication venue (for non-IEEE conferences).

A manuscript submitted to RA-L with Conference option, not accepted for presentation at Conference, but accepted in RA-L, will be published in RA-L on Xplore.

All manuscripts presented at the Conference, including RA-L papers, will be available to attendess of the conference.

The review timeline for RA-L submissions to major RAS Conferences is outlined below. Note that these are the latest possible dates; usually the reviewing timeline is faster than what is shown below. The time in days from the original submission can also be used to calculate the expected actions for papers submitted to RA-L only. Decision deadlines shown in the online submission and review system are for Editorial Board guidance; authors should use the table below to set expectations for review time.

### RA-L Editorial Timeline for Annual Conference Options:

 Time (days) ICRA 2022 RoboSoft 2022 IROS 2022 CASE 2022 BioRob  2022 Action Day 0 Sep 9, 2021 Oct 11, 2021 Feb 24, 2022 Mar 1,2022 Feb 7,  2022 Submission Deadline Day 86 Dec 4, 2021 Jan 5, 2022 May 21, 2022 May 26,2022 May 4,2022 Authors receive RA-L reviews and recommendation Day 100 Dec 18, 2021 Jan 19,2022 Jun 4, 2022 Jun 9,2022 May 18, 2022 Authors of accepted MS submit final RA-L version Day 116 Jan 3, 2022 Feb 4, 2022 Jun 20,2022 Jun 25,2022 Jun 3,2022 Authors of R&R MS resubmit revised MS Day 151 Feb 7, 2022 Mar 11,2022 Jul 25, 2022 Jul 30,2022 Jul 8,2022 Authors receive final RA-L decision Day 165 Feb 21, 2022 Mar 25,2022 Aug 8,2022 Aug 13,2022 Jul 22,2022 Authors submit final RA-L files Day 170 Feb 26, 2022 Mar 30,2022 Aug 13,2022 Aug 18,2022 Jul 27,2022 Camera ready version appears in RA-L on Xplore Day 180 Mar 8,  2022 April 9,2022 Aug 23,2022 Aug 28,2022 Aug 6,2022 Final Publication

### Submitting a previously published Conference paper and the “evolutionary paradigm”:

The RA-Letters will not consider submissions that are currently under review for a conference (except under the Conference Option scheme).

In principle, RA-L may consider submissions that have been published in the Proceedings of an IEEE conference, provided that the manuscript follow the “evolutionary paradigm” of IEEE, i.e., if it incorporates substantial improvements and it openly discloses the source(s) and discusses the changes. However, because the length of a Letter is comparable to that of most Conference papers and RA-L are intended to publish novel results rapidly and concisely, application of such “evolutionary paradigm” to Letters is difficult. Submission to Transactions of an evolved version of a previous conference paper is instead considered natural. Notice that the “evolutionary paradigm” does not apply between Letters and Transactions, because they are both archival Journal publications.

### Submitting a previously rejected paper:

In some cases, RA-L Editors encourage authors of a rejected paper to consider rewriting it and resubmitting it as a new submission. This may happen when we recognize that ideas proposed are good, but the signficant changes needed to make the paper publishable are too substantial to fit in the tight RA-L schedule for publication. Note that if you have submitted to  RA-L with a Conference option, you cannot resubmit a rejected paper to RA-L while the conference is still considering the paper. Papers that have received a decision of "Rejected" or "Unsuitable" are both considered rejected papers.

When submitting a new version of a previously rejected paper, authors MUST

• Indicate the submission number of the previously rejected version in the paperplaza submission process
• Prepare and include with your submission a single pdf file that includes: (1) an authors' response providing details on how each comment received from the Editors and Reviewers have been resolved in the new version, followed by (2) a version of the paper with changes from the previous version highlighted (e.g., with modified text in a different color). Failure to do so may result in automatic rejection of the resubmission.
• Immediately after the new paper is submitted, forward the submission confirmation email to EiC.RA.Letters@ieee.org.

## Best Paper Awards

Every year, the Editorial Board selects papers appeared in the previous year for an IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters Best Paper Awards.

Independently from the RA-L Award, and subject to Conference Program Committee decisions, RA-L submissions with Conference option may be considered for Conference awards.

Some Conference awards, such as Best Student Paper Award, require RA-L to gather information that is not normally provided in the journal submission process. For the RA-L papers with ICRA 2019 option, authors are asked (after paper submission) to fill out the following Best Student Paper Award Eligibility Form:

## Review Procedure

After the first submission of their manuscript, authors will be notified of reception and of the Editor of RA-L who will supervise the review. Authors will receive the first decision, along with review comments, within three months from submission.

The first decision can be one of three types: Accept for Publication, Reject, or Revise and Resubmit.

If the first decision is Accept for Publication, authors are required to submit the camera-ready version of their paper within two weeks.

If the first decision is Revise and Resubmit, authors can resubmit a revised version along with an Author Response and Diff File indicating how comments by the Editor and by reviewers have been addressed. This is a single pdf file that includes: (1) A detailed response to the review that explains how each comment received from the Editors and Reviewers have been resolved in the new version, followed by (2) A version of the paper with changes from the previous version highlighted (e.g., with text in a different color). Failure to do so may result in automatic rejection of the resubmission. The revision must be resubmitted within 30 days from receipt of the first decision. Failure to meet this deadline means the paper will be automatically moved to the Reject category: unfortunately, the tight timeline of the Letters will allow no extensions or exceptions to this rule.

Authors will receive a second and final decision within 5 months from initial submissions. Final decisions are only of two types, Accept for Publication or Reject.

If the final decision is Accept for Publication, authors are required to submit the camera-ready version of their paper within two weeks. This final version must also be acommpanied by an Author Response and Diff File as described above. The Editor verifies that the final version of an Accepted paper satisfies all conditions indicated in the Acceptance letter. The Editor can withhold publication until all required changes are satisfactorily made. In addition, the Editorial Assistant will check that the paper formatting is correct. Formatting revisions must be made immediately and also accompanied by a very brief Author Response and Diff File explaining only how the formatting was corrected. In case a published version of the paper is not achieved by authors within 180 days from submission, which is the time limit for publication of Letters, the paper could be rejected and not published.

Upon receipt of the final version of the paper from the authors, and provided that all formatting and style requirements are met, the camera-ready PDF file will appear as a Rapid Posting preprint on Xplore. Rapid Posting preprints are citable papers and have a DOI.

Any paper submitted to RA-L will be published on IEEE Xplore in six months, or be rejected.

Shortly after Rapid Posting preprint appearance, a moderately edited and XML tagged version will be prepared by IEEE, submitted as galley proofs to the Authors, and eventually published in replacement of the preprint.

## IEEE Policy Regarding Intellectual Property Protection

IEEE takes the protection of intellectual property seriously. Accordingly, all submissions will be screened for plagiarism using iThenticate CrossCheck software. By submitting your work you agree to allow IEEE to screen your work. For more information please visit: http://www.crossref.org/crosscheck/index.html.

## ORCID

All IEEE journals require an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) for all authors.  ORCIDs enable accurate attribution and improved discoverability of an author’s published work. The author will need a registered ORCID in order to submit a manuscript or review a proof in this journal.Follow these steps to link a PaperCept account to a registered ORCID. Note that PINs from different sub-domains can be linked to a single ORCID.

1. Go to the start page of the PaperCept subdomain where you have an existing PIN (if you do not have one, please create one by following the PIN link from the PaperCept subdomain of interest).
4. Once you authorize the ORCID to be linked to your PIN you will be returned to the PaperCept subdomain from where you accessed ORCID.
6. If you have inadvertently created multiple PINs in the same subdomain, you can associate all PINs with the same ORCID.

## Human Subjects and Animals

Starting in 2021, IEEE journals are required to confirm that authors have approval or exemption for research involving human subjects or animals. You may not submit a manuscript without providing this confirmation in the submission process. The IEEE Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) Operations Manual, Section 8.1.1.E., states: "Authors of articles reporting on research involving human subjects or animals shall confirm upon submission of an article to the Editor whether or not an approval was obtained from a relevant Review Board (or equivalent local/regional review). If such an approval was obtained, the original source and reference shall be provided to the Editor at the time of submission and shall appear in the article."

During the submission process, the author will be asked: "Did this research involve either human subjects or animals?". If the author answers Yes, they will be asked: "If yes, was approval obtained from a relevant review board (or local/regional equivalent)?" with possible responses of (1) "Yes. All approval details must be described in detail in the box below, as well as included in the manuscript." or (2) "Not applicable. This research is exempt. The reasoning or details of exemption must be detailed in the box below as well as included in the manuscript." A text box is provided for the author to enter the requested details. The following information should be included in both the text box and the manuscript itself: the name of institution, the name of the IRB/IACUC/ethics board that determined the approval or exemption, the date of approval/exemption.

## RA-L with Conference Option

### Submissions:

#### Extra Page Fees

If you submit your paper to RA-L with a Conference Option, you will receive two independent decision letters, one from RA-L Editorial Board and one from the Conference Program Committee. Depending on these outcomes, you will have to prepare different versions of your manuscript and material as described above.

If your MS in its final RA-L version exceeds the length of 6 pages, you will have to pay extra page fees to IEEE upon publication on Xplore. If your MS in its final Conference version exceeds the length of 6 pages, you will have to pay extra page fees to the Conference while making your registration before final MS submission. However, if your MS is accepted in both RA-L and the Conference, then the Conference policy may be that the Conference extra page fees are waived at the time of registration.

In order for you to know whether you have to pay those fees to Conference or not, you need to know of your paper acceptance or rejection by RA-L. You will receive a notification on RA-L acceptance/rejection, and further instructions from the Conference about registration. This will happen possibly after the Conference acceptance/rejection notification, but before the final Conference submission deadline. Please do not register before receiving such instructions, to avoid paying fees twice.