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South African Computer Journal

On-line version ISSN 2313-7835
Print version ISSN 1015-7999

SACJ vol.30 n.1 Grahamstown Jul. 2018 



Editorial: Fit for Review



Philip Machanick

Department of Computer Science, Rhodes University, South Africa.




The flow of papers is back to normal after disruptions from student protests in 2016, which took a while to clear the system. This time, I would like to reflect on author guidelines and writing a paper that can be sent out for review since some authors apparently do not check our requirements before submission and others appear to lack experience of what makes a paper publishable.

I would also like to note that the concept of extended conference papers is still a work in progress. While we have had some success publishing extended papers out of the annual SAICSIT conference run by our own society, even this has not always eventuated as it requires a guest editor or editors willing to push things along.

We have previously worked with Nicky Mostert-Phipps on extended papers out of a health informatics conference, HISA, and in 2017 tried a new approach, inviting authors to submit a journal-quality paper up front, with the option for those not able to do so to make a regular conference submission. The general idea is to allow those who have a paper of journal quality to present at a conference without an additional step to publish in a journal. This approach still needs work; only one of those submissions so far has made it through review (it appears in this issue).


Getting to Review

This may seem rather obvious but author guidelines are there to increase the chances of a favourable review. If reviewers are accustomed to a particular format for published SACJ papers, conforming to those guidelines aids the reviewer. For instance, judging length is easier if the paper is close to the final format.

Before I send a paper out for review, I check the basics as well as general requirements of any publishable paper. Requirements that are often missed and that result in papers being sent back for revision or rejected without review include:

omitting author details, in line with our double-blind review policy

including ACM 2012 categories (either no categories or using the outdated 1998 scheme)

adequate referencing - examples of things to avoid include excessive use of sources with little or no authority such as web pages or low-quality journals, bad URLs or missing detail (like no volume number for a journal)

no significant plagiarism - I run a check and any paper that fails is summarily rejected; it is not purely a question of per cent similarity but the extent to which significant text is not the submitting author's own words

reasonably good standard of English - the journal does not have capacity for language editing and it is unfair to expect reviewers to rewrite extensively

clear contribution - a review paper should have some novelty; a paper reporting results should be clear on why they add to the literature

suited to a journal not a conference - results that are preliminary or narrow in scope are better targeted at a conference

I recognize that many of our potential authors lack experience in journal publishing; since we have become listed at Scopus, we are attracting more submissions from authors attempting to break into quality journals. For this reason, I try to give some feedback even when a paper is far from acceptable.

I would like to encourage less experienced authors to keep trying - but do pay attention to the basics. Read the author guidelines and compare your paper against others that have been published.

At my own university, it is not common practice to use language editors as we try to get our students up to a standard where they can write well. That should be everyone's goal, though I do not prescribe how you should get there.


In this issue

In this issue, we have 6 research papers and a viewpoint. The research papers are:

Kigwana and Venter: "A Digital Forensic Readiness Architecture for Online Examinations"

Kroeze et al.: "An integrative modelling technique bridging the gap between business and information systems development"

Malan et al.: "Semi-automated Usability Analysis through Eye Tracking"

Parry and Le Roux: "In-lecture Media Use and Academic Performance: Investigating Demographic and Intentional Moderators"1

Turpin: "Assessing South African ICT4D research outputs: a journal review"

Walters et al.: "Design Requirements for a Teledermatology Scale-up Framework"2

Gruner and Gravell provide a Viewpoint in "On More or Less Appropriate Notions of 'Computation'".


Transitions and thanks

I would like to bid farewell to Kirstin Kraus who ended his tenure as an editor some time back; the last paper that he edited appears in this issue. Thank you for your service.

Although SACJis now on the Scopus index and no longer relies on being reviewed for inclusion in the South African Department of Higher Education list of subsidised journals, it is gratifying that we have had a very positive review from Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). This review is still to be finalized, but it is a testament to the quality of our reviewers, editors and production editor James Dibley that we have such a positive review. Once it is finalized by ASSAf, I will report further.



1 This paper extends a SAICSIT 2016 conference paper.
2 HISA 2017 conference submission.




For completeness, here is the submission checklist - please read this; if you check a box you mean your paper has met that requirement.

The paper is original and has not appeared elsewhere. If it extends a previously published paper, email the editor on submission and provide a summary of changes; if a reviewer or editor detects excessive similarity to other work, the paper may be summarily rejected.

The paper is submitted in PDF format and it complies with the layout in the templates described in the Author Guidelines (currently, single-column format: see recent issues).

Author affiliation should be stated on the web form at time of submission for all authors and usually will not change because the affiliation should reflect where the work was done.

All authors agree to submission of the paper and to the order of names and affiliations for each author.

To support double-blind review, no author details appear on the paper and any references that clearly identify the author or authors are anonymised.

Provide the editor (in the space allowed for comments below) with a list of up to 5 potential reviewers including email addresses, ideally at least one from overseas. For each, indicate why they are suitable. Do not include anyone who has collaborated with any of the authors in the last 5 years.

If any reviewer should be excluded inform the editor (in the space allowed for comments below) with details including why the reviewer is not suitable.

If the paper targets a special issue, indicate this and the name of the special issue in the space for comments below.

ACM 2012 classifications (not the earlier 1998 system) are given.

For each reference cited that has a DOI, that reference's DOI must be included in the reference list.

Reference citations are in numeric format, e.g. [5].

On acceptance, authors will be invoiced for publication charges, payable before the paper is published. Authors who have no budget can apply for this charge to be waived at the time the paper is accepted.

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License