Manuscript Central is annoying

The IEEE Transactions on Information Theory recently transitioned to using Manuscript Central from the old Pareja system, so now all of the IEEE journals for which I review seem to be managed by the same external management system. As a reviewer/author, I have a lot of complaints (small and large) about Manuscript Central:

  • Why oh why do I need to disable my popup blocker for your site to work?
  • Why can login information not be shared across different IEEE publications? I have a separate account for each journal, with a separate password. Thank goodness I have LastPass, but even that program gets confused sometimes.
  • What is the deal with the mandatory subject classifications for papers? One of the “topics” I could pick was “IEEE Transactions on Information Theory.” Really? That’s a topic?
  • Why must papers for review be emblazoned with that stupid pale blue “For Peer Review Only” running diagonally across each page? This causes PDF annotations such as highlighting to barf, making paperless reviewing of papers significantly more annoying than it needs to be.

The worst part is that I am sure IEEE could implement a significantly cheaper and just-as-effective system itself, but now each Society is forking over money to Manuscript Central, which as far as I can tell, offers significantly more annoyances for authors and reviewers and is a shoddy product. Perhaps as an editor it’s significantly better (I imagine it is), but it seems like a bad deal overall.

Of course, now I sound curmudgeonly. Get off my lawn!

Do other people like MC? Or do you have other pet peeves?

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