FAQ

  1. The Semantic Web journal has an open and transparent review process; what does this mean?
  2. The open and transparent review process seems novel and uncommon; why is it so important for the journal?
  3. Is SWJ an Open Access journal?
  4. Is there a page limit for submissions?
  5. We have developed tool X - is it suitable for your Tools and Systems call?
  6. We intend to run a workshop at a major conference. How can we do a related journal special issue?
  7. How do I suggest a journal special issue?
  8. As guest editor of a journal special issue, can I also submit a paper?
  9. Can I submit a manuscript that includes material previously published at workshops or conferences?
  10. I've been asked to polish and complete the references in my paper for the final version. What do you mean with this?
  11. Which BibTeX or Word citation style should I use?
  12. As author, can I contact reviewers directly to discuss their comments? As reviewer, can I contact authors to discuss their paper?
  13. What happens if a special issue gets stuck?
  14. When resubmitting a paper, how do I include my response to the previous reviews?
  15. What do the decision categories mean?
  16. SWJ publishes bibliographic Linked Data, what does this mean?
  17. As guest editor or reviewer, how do I deal with a conflict of interest, and what constitutes a conflict of interest?
  18. I requested my SWJ account a long time ago already. Why has it not been activated yet?
  19. Are resubmissions expected within a certain time frame?
  20. What is impact and how to demonstrate it?
  21. As a published SWJ author may I post my paper on website X?
  22. I have submitted the camera-ready version. When will my paper appear in print?
  23. I have provided an open review as comment. Will I be able to see the authors' response letter and become a solicited reviewer in the next round?
  24. I have additional questions...


(Q1) The Semantic Web journal has an open and transparent review process; what does this mean?

(A1) All submitted manuscripts are posted on the journal's website and are publicly available. In addition to solicited reviews selected by members of the editorial board, public reviews and comments are welcome by any researcher and can be uploaded using the journal website. All reviews and responses from the authors are posted on the journal homepage. All involved reviewers and editors will be acknowledged in the final printed version. Solicited reviewers can choose to remain anonymous, but this should only happen in exceptional cases. More details about the review process, the possibility to submit anonymous reviews, as well as the removal of rejected papers from the website are available at the For Reviewers page.

(Q2) The open and transparent review process seems novel and uncommon; why is it so important for the journal?

(A2) There are a number of reasons: (I) To ensure quality, reviewers have to invest substantial time to judge the quality of a manuscript and provide fruitful comments and inspiration to the authors. By doing so, they directly contribute to the quality of the manuscript and hence should be acknowledged for their work. If writing reviews, however, becomes an obligatory exercise (and the review load seems to increase) this may have negative consequences for the quality of reviews on the long term. Since reviews for Semantic Web – Interoperability, Usability, Applicability are generally non-anonymous and publicly accessible, and since reviewers are explicitly acknowledged in the final versions of the papers, the reviewers receive at least a little bit of visibility and acknowledgement of their contribution. (II) Fair reviews require that there is neither a positive nor negative conflict of interest between the reviewers and the authors. To keep track of who co-authored, supervised, or organized research papers or events together is a difficult or even hopeless task. Additionally, one should ensure that the same reviewers do not review the papers of specific authors again and again. While this could be tracked within a single journal, it cannot be tracked across journals or even conferences. In the worst case anonymous reviewers could try to reject or promote manuscripts for other reasons than their quality, e.g., to favor contributions which cite their own work. Transparency avoids such problems from the very beginning. (III) By having submitted papers and non-anonymous reviews openly accessible, the decision process becomes transparent. Consequently, the objectivity (or not) of the decision process can be judged by everybody, rather than having to blindly trust that the editors and editorial board members stay objective. (IV) Even anonymous reviews are only anonymous to a certain degree since editors, steering committee members, program chairs, and sometimes other reviewers have access to them. For this reason, and to reduce potential conflicts of interest to a minimum, sometimes editors and organizers of conferences and workshops do not submit papers to these events or journals. The downside, however, is that organizing scientific events becomes less attractive as one cannot contribute own work. This is especially problematic for workshops as they usually cover emerging or highly specialized research areas. As a consequence, reviewers often face the difficult situation to review a contribution of a workshop organizer. Finally, even if this contribution would get non-positive reviews, it is still not transparent why it was accepted or rejected as this would require access to the reviews of all submitted manuscripts. Open and transparent reviews would ease the situation for reviewers and allow editors and organizers to be involved without provoking allegations. To make a long story short, open and transparent reviews protect editors, organizers, and reviewers from conflicts of interests and allegations, ease the matching between reviewers and manuscripts, and acknowledge the time and effort reviewers and editors invested in the publication process.

(Q3) Is SWJ an Open Access jorunal?

(A3) Accepted papers, as well as those under review are publically available through the SWJ issues, under review, and reviewed sections. SWJ explicitly allows authors to publish a version of their accepted manuscript on their local websites. This version, however, should not be the official version created by IOS Press. By default, SWJ is published by IOS press following a paid subscription model; see Semantic Web Journal at IOS Press for details. However, IOS Press and SWJ also provide flexible open access options which can be tailored to the needs of authors from different communities. Interested authors are requested to contact the editors-in-chief for details.

(Q4) Is there a page limit for the submission types listed at For Authors?

(A4) No, there is no strict page limit. Authors, however, have to ensure that the number of pages is appropriate with respect to the presented content. The question whether the length of a manuscript is appropriate is part of the review criteria.

(Q5) We have developed tool X - is it suitable for your Tools and Systems call?

(A5) Note that we're looking for mature systems (i.e., no prototypes). Note also the review criteria mentioned on http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/authors: Submissions will be reviewed along the following dimensions: (1) Quality, importance, and impact of the described tool or system (convincing evidence must be provided). (2) Clarity, illustration, and readability of the describing paper, which shall convey to the reader both the capabilities and the limitations of the tool. In fact, you'll find an enlightning discussion about this at http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/content/special-call-semantic-web-tools-and-systems Hence, if you can make a convincing case that your tool is mature, important and has impact, then it's good for our tools and sytems call. Impact and importance is most easily shown by already having a user base (or a prominent application), but if you can give convincing evidence that the tool will (or should) have impact, then this may also suffice. If, however, you implemented the prototype to advance the state of the art, i.e. if it's mainly a research contribution, then you could consider submitting a regular paper to the journal. See http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/authors for types of submissions.

(Q6) We intend to run a workshop at a major conference. How can we do a related journal special issue?

(A6) The Semantic Web journal does not, in general, publish special issues which are exclusively based on extended workshop papers. However, if you have a suggestion for an interesting topic for a special issue, and you are running a workshop on the same or a similar topic at the same time, then they can be coupled, e.g., by adding pointers between the two calls for papers.
Our guidelines for such special issues are the following, but feel free to discuss it with the Editors in Chief:

  • Guest editors must be aware of the high expected quality of contributions to the Semantic Web journal. Typical workshop papers will have to be extended considerably for them to be suitable for the journal.
  • The journal special issue cannot be limited to extended workshop papers, but must be accompanied by an open call.
  • We usually expect an adjusted editorial board for the special issue, which may overlap with the workshop PC.
  • All papers, including extended workshop papers, must undergo a review process according to the journal guidelines, and this process must be separate from the workshop review process. However, it is certainly possible to use the same reviewers, if applicable.
  • Editors must take note of the (non-standard) review procedures of the Semantic Web journal.

(Q7) How do I suggest a journal special issue?

(A7) Please see http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/content/suggestions-special-issues

(Q8) As guest editor of a journal special issue, can I also submit a paper?

(A8) This is discouraged, but not entirely impossible. Please contact the editors-in-chief to discuss options before submitting your manuscript. Guest editors that fail to inform the editors-in-chief about their own submission will have to be removed from the board of guest editors.

(Q9) Can I submit a manuscript that includes material previously published at workshops or conferences?

(A9) Yes; however, the journal version must meet the quality criteria of top-level journals and clearly go beyond the previously published content, e.g., by providing detailed proofs, a more rigid evaluation, detailed overview of (and comparison to) related work, an implementation, or any other significant contribution that makes the work worth publishing in a journal for archival purpose. Moreover, authors have to ensure that the submitted manuscript does not violate any copyrights that may have been transfered to the entity publishing the previous work. Finally, the submitted manuscript must clearly state the previous publications it is based on.

(Q10) I've been asked to polish and complete the literature references in my paper for the final version. What do you mean with this?

(A10) Usually this request means that the literature references in your paper are incomplete. This occurs mostly in references to papers published in conference proceedings. A complete literature reference for such a paper usually contains the following information; note that the order of the items is defined by the publisher's style files, and ordering is done automatically if using BibTeX: Author(s), title of paper, editor(s) of the proceedings, title of the book (as on the book cover, i.e. the conference acronym does not suffice), publisher, location (city) of the publisher, year of publication, page numbers. Optionally, if it is published in a book series, the name of the book series and the volume should also be mentioned. Sometimes not all information is readily available, and we are not entirely strict with respect to completeness, but we expect a reasonable effort. You can leave the ordering/layout of this information to BibTeX, if you use BibTeX. In addition, it is required that DOIs are given for those papers which have one; please note that BibTeX does not have native support for DOIs, usually you have to put them into the "note" field to make sure they are displayed with the references.

With respect to grey literature, i.e. literature which has not been properly published, you should make every effort in providing as much information as possible so that the reader can locate it with reasonable effort. Giving, e.g., only a workshop title and a year is insufficient.

When using BibTeX, please note that paper titles are made all lowercase, which means that required uppercase, e.g. for acronyms such as OWL or RDF, has to be forced manually. You should, in any case, proofread the literature references carefully.

(Q11) Which BibTeX or Word citation style should I use?

(A11) If you're using BibTeX, please use plain or abbrv. If you're using Word, one author made the following recommendation: "I can recommed the Zotero citation style 'Elsevier (numeric, with titles)' for future submissions to your journal using MS Word and other text processors. In my opinion, it comes closest to your journal's requirements. Nevertheless, this template does not include issue numbers of journals, and also not some encyclopedia article information and some information of reports. This information has to be added manually."

(Q12) As author, can I contact reviewers directly to discuss their comments? As reviewer, can I contact authors directly to discuss their paper?

(A12) To keep the workload for the reviewers at an acceptable level and to ensure that the review process remains transparent, we request that authors always contact the responsible editor first. Likewise, reviewers should not engage authors directly, but relay additional information through the editor.

(Q13) Editing a special issue is an important responsibility, requires a certain commitment of time, as well as management and communication skills. What happens if a manuscript or even the whole special issue gets stuck?

(A13) As Editors-in-Chief we monitor the process closely and communicate with guest editors. We also assist in finding reviewers, reaching a decision on the status of papers, and send out friendly reminders. However, if the guest editors are not responding to our inquiries and several deadlines have passed, we reserve the right to close the special issue and assign it to regular members of the editorial board. This step does not affect the submitted manuscripts and their potential publication but ensures a more timely processing of manuscripts.

(Q14) When resubmitting a paper, how do I include my response to the previous reviews?

(A14) You can include them in the cover letter, in this case they will not become public. Alternatively, you can include them as additional pages in your submitted pdf, or post them as comment to the page of your manuscript. In both these latter cases, your comments will be public, and to make sure that they are seen by the reviewers, you should mention in the cover letter where exactly they are.

(Q15) What do the decision categories mean?

(A15) Decisions on submitted manuscripts are one of the following.

  1. Accept
  2. Minor revisions required
  3. Major revisions required
  4. Reject
They mean the following:
  1. The manuscript is suitable for publication and only requires minor polishing; thus, no further reviews are requested.
  2. The authors are required to make moderate changes to their manuscript. The manuscript becomes acceptable for publication if the changes proposed by the reviewers and editors are successfully addressed. The revised manuscript will be send back to all (or a selection of) reviewers for a second round of reviews. Authors are requested to provide a letter to the reviewers detailing the improvements made for the resubmission.
  3. The manuscript cannot be accepted for publication in its current form. However, a major revision which addresses all issues raised by the reviewers may be acceptable for publication. The revised manuscript will undergo a full second round of review. Authors are requested to provide a letter to the reviewers detailing the improvements made for the resubmission. The two-strike-rule described below applies to all manuscripts that received a major revision decision, i.e., the next round of reviews needs to be a minor revision or an accept.
  4. In its current form, the manuscript is not suitable for publication. A resubmission would require substantial revisions and is only encouraged in special cases. The editors should to be contacted before resubmitting a previously rejected paper.
This policy goes in effect on 1st of March 2013. Decisions made prior to this date have been following a different policy, and have to be read accordingly. In particular, the previous "reject and resubmit" decision is now deprecated. The journal furthermore implements a two-strike-rule, as follows: If a submitted paper receives a "major revisions required", then a submitted revised paper needs to receive a "minor revisions required" or an "accept", otherwise it will be rejected.

(Q16) SWJ publishes bibliographic Linked Data, what does this mean?

(A16) SWJ (meta)data is published as Linked Data via a SPARQL endpoint and a semantics-enabled journal portal that supports scientometrics. Consequently, information about authors, papers, reviewers and their reviews, editors, manuscript decisions, resubmission timelines, and so forth is publicly available. Contact us if you would like to get particular data deleted after a certain period. We depublish most information about rejected papers after a while. However, keep in mind that depublishing on the Web does not guarantee that somebody has not made a copy before.

(Q17) How do I deal with conflicts of interest, and what constitutes a conflict of interest?

(A17) There is no universal agreement on what exactly does or does not constitute a conflict of interest. If you feel there is a conflict of interest, or if you feel that others might come to the conclusion that you have a conflict of interest, then it is important that you act upon it. If you have been invited to review, please either directly decline, or contact the editors in chief if you are uncertain. As editor or guest editor, please contact the editors in chief. As author, i.e. if you think that a reviewer or an assigned editor may have a conflict of interest, contact the editors in chief. Special issue guest editors should be particularly sensitive to conflict of interest issues: If any author of any paper submitted to your special issue may have a conflict of interest with any of the guest editors, the editors in chief must be notified.

(Q18) I requested my SWJ account a long time ago already. Why has it not been activated yet?

(A18) In almost all cases, this is because you did not follow the sign-up instructions. We use the sign-up instructions as Inverse Turing Test to keep out spammers, and thus ignore account requests which do not follow them. For instance, your full name is unlikely to include numbers such as 123. If you notice that you didn't follow the sign-up instructions, then please send us an email with the following information: (1) the username you have used when making the account request (see the confirmation email you received from the system), (2) the email address you used when making the account request, (3) your full name, in the form in which you would use it in publications, (4) your affiliation, (5) your reasons for requesting the account.

(Q19) Are resubmissions expected within a certain time frame?

(A19) Yes, while editors, e.g., of special issues, can request shorter turnaround times, we generally ask for all papers to be resubmitted within less than 8 weeks. Papers that have not been revised within 16 weeks will be archived and potential resubmissions will be handled as new manuscripts. Exceptions can be requested by contacting the responsible editor.

(Q20) What is impact and how to demonstrate it?

(A20) Several SWJ paper types list impact as a criterion for review. So what is impact and how to document it? Here at SWJ we define impact as the demonstrable uptake of your work by the research community, industry, governments, or the general public. There are many ways in with your work can make impact, e.g., a tool being downloaded (and used) by hundreds or thousands of researchers, your dataset being highly interlinked with other data, your ontology being used in research projects and to semantically lift data, your work being part of educational materials or being prominently featured in the media, and so forth. Consequently, SWJ accepts a wide range of impact statements as long as they are well-argued. Generally, we distinguish between three types of demonstrable uptake with decreasing relevance for acceptance: (I) impact beyond your own range of influence (e..g., uptake of your work by other research groups), (II) impact within your own range of influence (e.g., use of your results in a collaborative research project), and (III) potential impact (e.g., your work if a follow-up of a previously impactful contribution). Please include demonstrable and clear uptake indicators in your paper. Minor arguments, however, such as the fact that you used a tool in the class room should be placed in the cover letter.

(Q21) As a published SWJ author may I post my paper on website X?

(A21) Yes. SWJ is a so called green journal meaning that authors may self-archive and/or post the accepted manuscript of their article on their own website or in an online repository. You should always give proper acknowledgement and add a citation to the article as published in the journal (including volume number, issue number, page numbers, year of publication and DOI). Please also add the sentence: “The final version of this article is available at the Semantic Web Journal via http://dx.doi.org/ [add the DOI here]”. For example http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/SW-150202 is a DOI hyperlink to an SWJ paper. During the galley proofing stage IOS Press will offer authors the option to purchase the right to post the final published version of the article instead of the final author manuscript.

(Q22) I have submitted the camera-ready version. When will my paper appear in print?

(A22) Usually after a few weeks, your paper will be published with a DOI on the IOS Press preprints page for the journal. At that point in time, your paper is already officially published and fully citeable. Assignment to a print issue usually takes longer, mainly because we are still experiencing an increasing number of submissions, and so we currently have a wait time of about a year between receipt of camera-ready and print publication. You can check our queue which is frequently updated, but please keep in mind that we cannot process papers strictly in a first-in first-out manner because some papers, e.g., those belonging to the same special issue, need to be grouped together.

(Q23) I have provided an open review as comment. Will I be able to see the authors' response letter and become a solicited reviewer in the next round?

(A23) First of all, thanks for providing an open review. It is very possible that the editor(s) will ask you to review a potential resubmission as a solicited reviewer and in such case you would indeed get access to the response letter prepared by the authors. Note, however, that assigning reviewers is up to the editor(s), and, thus, they may decide to take another route. In this case, you would not be able to see the authors' response letter. Alternatively, authors can (and frequently do) also submit their letters as publicly visible comments.

(Q24) I have additional questions...

(A24) Please feel free to contact us at contact @ semantic-web-journal . net.