CSCI 6448

Object Oriented Analysis and Design

Course Location
   ECCS 1B12

Course Time
   TR 12:30 PM - 01:45 PM

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Homework 2: Descriptions

1. Introduction

For this homework assignment, you are asked to develop a set of descriptions (designations, definitions, refutable descriptions, and rough sketches) for a software requirements task. This assignment is meant to give you practice in using a structured approach to requirements before we move on to object-oriented analysis techniques.

Problem Context

In particular, the problem context is one of managing the review process for papers submitted to a journal, such as the ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, or any other peer-reviewed publication. The stakeholders in such a process typically include authors, reviewers, editors, and a publisher. There are typically three types of editors, an editor-in-chief, a managing editor, and action editors. Typically a journal has only one editor-in-chief, one managing editor, and multiple action editors.

2. Stakeholders

2.1 Editor-in-Chief

The editor-in-chief is responsible for:

  1. reviewing submitted papers to check that they are in-scope (and auto-rejecting those that are out-of-scope),
  2. contacting authors if other problems arise (such as a paper that is significantly longer than the journal's publication guidelines),
  3. assigning in-scope papers to action editors for review,
  4. and working with authors of accepted papers to get the final version of the paper sent to the publisher.

The editor-in-chief has other responsibilities such as publicizing the journal, soliciting authors to submit papers, and working with the publisher to decide how to group accepted papers into future issues of the journal.

2.2 Managing Editor

The managing editor is responsible for:

  1. tracking the state of each paper as it moves through a review process (such as marking a paper as "received" when it is first submitted, "in review" when it has been assigned to an action editor, etc.),
  2. compiling quarterly statistics about the state of the journal (e.g. "18 papers are currently being reviewed. 5 new papers were submitted, 4 accepted, 3 rejected, and 7 received ‘revise and resubmit’ outcomes."),
  3. and contacting authors if there are problems with the manuscript (such as a figure being illegible or if an author forgot some piece of required information such as a phone number or contact address).

The managing editor is also responsible for sending a paper to the action editor once the action editor has been assigned to the paper by the editor-in-chief. After sending the paper to the action editor, the managing editor will also notify the author that the paper is now being reviewed and supply the contact information of the assigned action editor.

2.3 Action Editor

An action editor is responsible for:

  1. finding three reviewers for each assigned paper,
  2. waiting for reviews to be written (an action editor will typically set a deadline for the reviews to be returned, and will then nag reviewers who miss the deadline for their reviews),
  3. and writing a summary review of the paper that conveys the outcome of the review process to the author while also highlighting important issues raised by the reviewers.

The possible outcomes for a review cycle are "accept", "accept with revisions", "revise and resubmit", or "reject".

2.4 Authors

Authors are responsible for submitting papers to the journal and waiting for the outcome of the review process. Authors will sometimes have to respond to the concerns of the editor-in-chief or managing editor if a problem occurs. This may include supplying missing contact information, correcting a problem with one of the paper's figures, or having to rewrite the paper to meet the journal's publication guidelines. Once a paper is in review, the author receives the contact information of the assigned action editor, and may use this information to inquire about the progress of the review. Finally, once the review is complete, the author may have to work with the editor-in-chief to get an accepted paper published or they may have to rewrite the paper to address the issues raised by reviewers before submitting the paper again.

2.5 Reviewers

A reviewer is responsible for reading an assigned paper and writing a review that evaluates whether the paper is ready for publication. A reviewer is typically given a deadline for returning the review to the action editor. If a paper that received a "revise-and-resubmit" is submitted once again, a reviewer will be asked to re-read the paper to evaluate whether the authors have addressed the issues raised by the first-round review.

3. The Problem

You have been asked to design a Web-based system that automates the process of reviewing papers for a journal that currently manages the entire process using paper and postal mail. That is, currently, authors mail six copies of a paper along with a cover letter to the managing editor. The managing editor checks the submission, and then sends the cover letter and one copy of the paper to the editor-in-chief. If there are no problems, the editor calls the managing editor by phone to assign a particular action editor. The managing editor then mails four copies of the paper to the action editor, who then begins the review process. Your customer would now like to move the entire process on-line, including electronic submission of documents, e-mail based reviews and notifications, and automatic collection of paper statistics for the quarterly reports.

4. Instructions

  1. Begin by breaking the application domain into sub-domains (as covered in lecture) and draw a context diagram that shows the relationships between these domains. Do not forget to include a box labelled "Machine" in the diagram.
  2. Then create a two to four paragraph rough sketch that represents your first attempt at describing the requirements of the system. It may be useful for you to identify what parts of the problem are "in-scope" and "out-of-scope".
  3. Create a set of designations and definitions that help to eliminate undefined terms in your rough sketch.
  4. Finally create 5 refutable assertions about the domain or the system that make use of the designations and definitions that you created in the previous step.


Your context diagram and your descriptions should take up at least 2 pages. You will be evaluated at how well you have addressed the domains that are relevant to the requirements listed above. This homework assignment is worth 30 points (10 points for the context diagram, 5 points for the rough sketch, 5 points for your designations and definitions and 10 points for your refutable descriptions.

Please submit this homework assignment electronically or by handing it to me in class on the due-date (for in-class students). Please remember that acceptable formats for electronic submission are ASCII, postscript, and PDF. Send ASCII submissions in the body of an e-mail message (not as an attachment). Send postscript/PDF submissions as an attachment to an e-mail message. If you send postscript, be sure to embed any special fonts that you may use directly into the postscript font. (Most printer drivers provide an option to allow you to embed fonts.) Make sure that your e-mail message is clearly marked (as discussed in lecture 1) and that this same information appears in the attached document.

Any questions?

Send questions to <>. Answers to common questions will be discussed in class and/or posted to the class website.

© Ken Anderson, 1998-2003.
Last Updated: 2/4/03; 12:12 PM