Managing Peer Review & Using Tools

Using a Peer Review Tool

IEEE recommends that you use a peer review tool to manage conference papers. These tools help you follow a consistent process and improves the quality of your reviews.

Peer review tools make it easier for authors to submit abstracts or papers, for reviewers to provide comments and rate submitted papers, and for organizers to assign reviewers, track reviews, and manage the technical program.

You can use a peer review tool to:

  • Manage user accounts
  • Keep track of submitted abstracts and papers
  • Manage the selection of the reviewers and their assignments
  • Monitor the status of reviews and ratings
  • Create a schedule or final program
  • Provide reports

Some peer review tools provide additional functionality that can help you create the call for papers, produce the proceedings, archive papers, check for plagiarism, and manage paper and event registration. Be sure to choose a tool that fits your conference size and complexity.

Considerations When Choosing a Paper Management Tool:

When selecting a tool for paper management, it can be helpful to consider the following:

  • Does it have an API for a mobile app?
  • Is there integration with other tools you will be using (e.g. CrossCheck, eCopyright, registration, session planning, single sign-on)?
  • Does the tool assist with committee/volunteer correspondence?
  • What types of reports if any does the tool provide?

Why Choosing the Right Paper Management Tool & Using Templates Matters

Selecting a paper management tool that correctly format papers and using the appropriate templates can help you avoid the following challenges:

  • Papers read incorrectly by the metadata converter
  • Papers printed without footnotes
  • Incorrectly indexed papers

Tools & Resources for the Technical Program

Helpful tools from the IEEE for conference organizers working on their technical program.

Plagiarism Verification: CrossCheck

Plagiarism-checking tool that conferences can access to confirm originality of work. Online application.

Paper Review Process

The paper review process is probably the most important part of developing a strong Technical Program. Submissions to IEEE conferences all undergo a review process by independent referees who are knowledgeable in the pertinent subject area.

The manner of implementation of the process is defined by the appropriate governing body (e.g., Society, Region, Section, etc.) of the IEEE sponsoring organizational unit.

Conferences that are held in cooperation with non-IEEE organizations are encouraged to have a review process that is consistent with the policy stated in the paragraph above.

Policy and Ethics

IEEE policy and professional ethics require that referees treat the contents of papers under review as privileged information not to be disclosed to others before publication. It is expected that no one with access to a paper under review will make any inappropriate use of the special knowledge which that access provides. This applies to anyone else who is authorized to handle conference submissions.

Conferences may use an “anonymous review” process where the authors are not revealed to the reviewers in order to allow concentration on content.


Depending upon the size and scope of the conference, the paper review process may include some or all of the following activities:

  • receipt of all papers
  • logging of papers
  • assignment of most logical reviewers
  • simultaneous mailing to all identified reviewers
  • review of the papers
  • coordination of actual reviews and receipt of comments
  • constantly updated reports to all reviewers on the status of papers in the review process including statements of acceptance or rejection by the reviewers
  • close work on session plans to slot as many high-quality papers as possible in the conference
  • notification to all authors of acceptance or rejection of papers

Reports & Deadlines

The status reports to reviewers should identify the reviewers of each paper, its present status (accepted/rejected), and any comments regarding the paper’s quality or referral to another reviewer.

The deadline for paper submission should be set sufficiently far in advance of the date of the conference to allow enough time for proper review. A schedule showing dates for the different tasks, deadlines, and dependencies should be established to help all Program Committee members as well as authors.

Reviewing Submitted Papers

The review process is important for developing a strong technical program. The IEEE sponsor or the conference committee defines the review process. IEEE recommends that conferences held in cooperation with non-IEEE organizations follow IEEE review guidelines.

Plan the Review Process

Preparing for Peer Review, things to keep in mind…

Here are a few things to consider when conducting your peer review process: 

  • Check for a well-defined scope 
  • Remember that all papers must be run through a plagiarism tool, such as CrossCheck. (Please note that CrossCheck should be used by the Technical Program Chair to signal when to take a closer look at a paper. It is not intended for use by peer reviewers.)  
  • Submit a copyright form
  • Remember that papers must be reviewed by at least 2 committee members in the Field of Interest

You should establish a review schedule and notify authors in the Call for Papers of the important dates and processes for submitting papers. The date should be far enough in advance of the conference to allow sufficient time for reviews.

  • Set the deadline for submitting papers
  • Develop a schedule for the review tasks, deadlines, and dependencies
  • Decide if the review is a anonymous or double-anonymous review
  • Select independent reviewers (not a co-author or collaborator, not from the same institution, not a former student/advisor, etc.) who are knowledgeable on the subject matter of the conference
  • Assign appropriate reviewers to each paper

Make sure you have enough reviewers to review all submitted papers. IEEE recommends at least two reviewers for each paper.

Manage the Review Process

The review process is easier to manage if you keep careful records and provide frequent updates on the status.

  • Maintain a log of all submitted papers
  • Assign papers to the appropriate reviewers
  • Keep a record of the completed reviews and comments about the quality of the papers
  • Provide regular updates on the status of the reviews, including which papers have been accepted or rejected
  • Notify each author regarding whether their paper has been accepted or rejected
  • Notify authors if there are deadlines for the final copy
  • Choose tools to manage the review process and check for plagiarism

Additional Resources

Maintain Confidentiality

IEEE maintains a policy of strict confidentiality for all conference submissions. You need to notify your reviewers that they cannot disclose or make inappropriate use of the content before publication.

CEE Technical Program Management Services

Did you know that CEE offers full Technical Program (TP) support? Contact us today to learn more or request a quote.

Suggested Courses

We recommend the following courses in the IEEE Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE).  First, use your IEEE Account to log in to the CLE and then click the View Course link to go directly to the recommended course.

We Are Here to Help

If you have questions about your technical program, want to report a concern, or would like to speak with a quality specialist, reach out any time to the CEE Conference Quality Team at