Instructions for Referees

The SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing (SISC) depends heavily on our referees, and we are greatly indebted for maintaining the quality and timeliness of our journal. Thank you for your help in assessing manuscripts.

Editorial Policy

The purpose of the SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing is to advance computational methods for solving scientific and engineering problems.

SISC papers are classified into three categories:

  1. Methods and Algorithms for Scientific Computing. Papers in this category may include theoretical analysis, provided that the relevance to applications in science and engineering is demonstrated. They should contain meaningful computational results and theoretical results or strong heuristics supporting the performance of new algorithms.

  2. Computational Methods in Science and Engineering. Papers in this section will typically describe novel methodologies for solving a specific problem in computational science or engineering. They should contain enough information about the application to orient other computational scientists but should omit details of interest mainly to the applications specialist.

  3. Software and High-Performance Computing. Papers in this category should concern the development of high quality computational software, high-performance computing issues, novel architectures, data analysis, or visualization. The primary focus should be on computational methods that have potentially large impact for an important class of scientific or engineering problems.

Authors are encouraged to indicate which category best fits their SISC submission.

All submissions to SISC must be well written and accessible to a wide variety of readers, and should represent a clear advance in the state of the art.

Due to space limitations, articles are normally limited to 20 journal pages. Exceptions can be made in special cases only with the concurrence of the referees, the associate editor, and the editor-in-chief.

Submission of a manuscript to a SIAM journal is representation by the author(s) that the associated manuscript has not been published or submitted simultaneously for publication elsewhere.

Papers that have appeared in conference proceedings will be considered only if (i) they are significantly revised and (ii) the previous appearance is explicitly indicated in both the cover letter to SIAM and a footnote on the first page.

Review Process

The manuscript submission and peer review process breaks down as follows:

  1. The Author submits a manuscript, indicating the section of SISC that the work fits.
  2. The Editor-in-Chief assigns a Section Editor.
  3. The Section Editor assigns an Associate Editor to act as Review Editor for the manuscript.
  4. The Associate Editor selects Referees to review and report on the manuscript.
  5. The Referees review the manuscript.
  6. The Associate Editor makes a decision and the author is contacted.

Navigating the System

All SISC papers go through review in the web-based Journal Submission & Tracking System:

When invited to serve as a referee there are two ways to gain access to the manuscript.

  1. You'll receive an e-mail with basic information about the paper, and a link to view the manuscript. When you use the link to gain access to the web-based system and to see the paper, you are presented with a link to accept the assignment, and a link to decline the assignment.

    Accept referee assignment: If you accept, the link will automatically log you  into the system and take you directly to the files for the pertinent paper.
    Decline referee assignment: If you are unable to review this manuscript and must decline we appreciate any suggestions of potential referees. You can suggest other reviewers or offer any observation on the paper by e-mailing [email protected]. You can also enter your observations or suggest other referees directly into the system after you click the decline link.

  2. You can alternately access your files by logging into the system through using your user name and password. You are then taken to your "Home" page. It will have different categories of tasks. If an  item is pending, there will be a red arrow next to a manuscript link. After clicking on this link, you will be presented with a "Manuscript" screen containing:
    • Information about the specific manuscript
    • A link to see the manuscript
    • Links to Accept/Decline to serve as a referee
    • A link to contact journal staff
If you accept the referee invitation, you'll also gain access to links to "check status" and "Review Manuscript."

Review Manuscript

Once in the system you will be presented with a " Manuscript" screen. At the bottom of this screen under " Manuscript Tasks" is a " Review Manuscript" link. Clicking on this link displays the "Review Manuscript" screen. This screen asks for a recommendation and for a report.*

* Note that in giving a recommendation, along with a free-form text box that allows you to copy and paste a report and /or comments, you must:

Select from a drop-down menu. I recommend:

The free-form text box for your report follows.

There is also a text box available if you wish to include a private message to the Review Editor. Comments entered here are not meant to be seen by the author(s).

Finally, a manuscript evaluation form is available, but the use of this is optional.

If you prefer to work offline, you may find it faster and easier to download and print the manuscript, draft your review remarks in plain text, and copy and paste into the referee remarks text area on this screen. Again, the manuscript evaluation form is optional; the drop-down recommendations and report are required.

NOTE: As a referee, SISC offers the option of attaching a file to deliver your report. It is recommended, however, that you instead use the text box on the Referee Recommendation Screen to type or paste plain text or TeX code. File attachments are not recommended, as referee confidentiality may be compromised. However, if you must send an attachment know that it may be forwarded to the author by the Review Editor, so please be sure to first edit the file for profile information that—if left in place—could disclose your identity as the owner/creator.

See here for specifics on how to remove hidden identity clues from PDF and Word files.

Supplementary Materials

SISC authors are encouraged to submit Supplementary Materials to complement articles. They might include additional figures or examples, animations, data sets used in the paper, computer code used to generate figures or tables, or other materials that are necessary to fully document the research contained in the paper or to facilitate the readers' ability to understand and extend the work.

If you are refereeing a paper that does include Supplementary Materials, along with the manuscript, know that the Supplementary Materials are generally not refereed but are available to you, as a referee. As part of your review you are asked to give the materials at least a cursory look and verify that they are appropriate to accompany the article. You may suggest changes, including removing some extraneous Supplementary Materials or moving items from the main text to the Supplementary Materials.

The author is also asked to submit an index of the supplementary materials. You should find a listing of each item along with a brief description and a justification for why the item should be included. This should be helpful in judging the appropriateness of the materials.

Full guidelines on the journal's Supplementary Materials policy are available at

Getting Help

If you need additional help, you can click on the help signs throughout the system. A help dialog will pop up with context sensitive help. You can also e-mail [email protected] if you need assistance.

Manuscript Status

To get the status of your assigned manuscript(s):
  1. Log into the system with your password.
  2. Click on the link represented by the manuscript tracking number and abbreviated title.
  3. Click on the "Check Status" link at the bottom of the displayed page.
This procedure displays detailed tracking information on the progress of the submission and review.

NOTE: Author rights to unpublished manuscripts:

All manuscripts are privileged documents; an author retains the right to the unpublished work. A referee should not use results or ideas obtained exclusively through the refereeing process in his or her own research.

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