Proposing a Special Section

Special Section Life Cycle

Those interested in organizing a T-RS Special Section begin by submitting a proposal to the Editor-in-Chief using the provided template that contains detailed submission instructions. For each submission period (Spring and Fall) the Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors-in-Chief will select those proposals having the highest merit based on the criteria below. In the event of proposal acceptance, a call-for-papers (CFP) is created/distributed by T-RS and affiliated societies.

Download Template

Authors submitting manuscripts in response to the Special Section CFP must do so using the IEEE Author Portal linked from the T-RS webpage. A specific track for the Special Section is created for these submissions.

The Editor-in-Chief coordinates the assignment of Associate Editors to manage the reviews of the submission. In most cases, the organizers serve as Guest Editors at the Associate Editor level to help with the increased editorial workload.

Manuscripts must meet the same standards as other regular T-RS submissions. It is expected that most submissions are regular papers (as opposed to correspondence/short papers). The reviews follow the normal T-RS review process. A Special Section submission is not exempt from IEEE’s plagiarism rules and is held to the same standards for original, unpublished work that is not under consideration elsewhere as regular contributions. Submissions based on previous conference articles must meet the requirements published in Section 8.1.7.F of the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual.

Special Section submissions accepted for publications are published together (Early Access notwithstanding). Consequently, a Special Section is not formally published until a final decision is reached on all Special Section submissions. All manuscripts published in a Special Section must be approved for publication within six months of the submission due date. Submissions that do not have a final decision by the six-month deadline are subject to removal from the Special Section.  However, Special Section submissions that are removed but are later accepted for publication are still published as regular submissions to T-RS.

 It is expected that Special Section organizers write an accompanying “Survey & Special Section Introduction: {Topic}” paper that provides a sufficiently broad overview of the topic area and serves as an introduction to the particular papers in the Special Section.  The Survey/Intro paper will appear at the beginning of the set of accepted Special Section papers when published.

Evaluation of Special Section Proposals

Special Section proposals for T-RS have a recurring bi-annual deadline of April 1 and October 1. Using the required template, proposals are submitted to the Editor-in-Chief (EiC). The EiC and Associates Editors-in-Chief comprise the review committee that selects the accepted Special Sections after each submission deadline. Submitted proposals are reviewed according to the following criteria:

  1. The appropriateness of the proposed topic with respect to T-RS scope.
  2. Timeliness of the topic.
  3. The standing and reputation of the organizers within the radar research community.
  4. Justification for the Special Section based on current trends in the topic.

It is anticipated that not all high-quality proposals will be acceptable at a given time due to high demand and the intent to maintain a manageable number of contemporaneous Special Sections.


IEEE policy defining the relationship between previously published conference articles and journal article submissions removes from consideration Special Sections comprising republication of the “best” papers from a recent conference. Even if the concept for a Special Section originates from the top papers from a conference related to the T-RS scope, the articles appearing in the Special Section cannot be restricted solely to expanded versions of the conference articles. The Call for Papers must be completely open.

The justification for the Special Section must include convincing evidence that the subject of the proposed Special Section is a “hot topic” and would be of interest to the radar research community, and preferably to as large a proportion thereof as possible. The simple fact that a conference on the subject has just concluded or published its proceedings is not sufficient justification.

While not a requirement, it is suggested that some (at least one) of the Guest Editors (GEs) have editorial experience in one of the journals affiliated with the T-RS sponsoring societies. Doing so strengthens the proposal in two ways: (1) Logistics–a current/previous editor is familiar with the submission, review, and decision process; (2) Scope–a current/previous editor from the sponsoring societies can help better describe the position of the Special Section proposal within the larger T-RS scope. The GEs should be recognized radar experts within the particular topic area. Finally, a lead GE (LGE) should be selected to serve as the contact person with T-RS.