I am writing a review paper in the field of engineering.

At the moment the paper is 20 pages and I am afraid that this goes up to 80 pages when it is finished.

I was thinking about making it open access. However, I am afraid to break the paper into several parts and pay the open access fee multiple times which I definitely could not afford.

Could anyone please advise how much is the page limit for an open access review paper in IEEE and Elsevier. If my paper is not publishable there, where else could be a valid and feasible journal for me?

  • 1
    80 pages double spaced + refs? If so, it could go through Elsevier given that you email an editor first (and sometimes with such an email).
    – The Guy
    Jun 13, 2018 at 11:04
  • Such limits are not set by the publisher, but by the individual journal, and can be different for different journals of the same publisher. So just saying "IEEE" and "Elsevier" is not specific enough. Jun 15, 2018 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


IEEE say on their FAQ-page:

There is no page limit for articles

It is more complicated for Elsevier, as different journals have different page limitations, you simply have to check the journals' webpages.

Having said that, a paper of 80 pages seems to be rather long - in my field this would certainly result in an immediate rejection, unless you explicitly classify it as a review paper - and that seems to be what you should do. In my field, however, you are not simply writing a review paper, but are usually asked to do so and then it is clear/obvious (even expected) that the paper will be long.

So, if you were asked to write a review paper, everything should be fine, write as many pages as you want. If you have decided on your own to write a review paper, check if you can classify it as a review paper during submission process - if not, tell the editor that this is a review paper (the referees have to know this).

  • It is interesting that recently I have received an approval from IEEE Transaction and they told me you have 12 length and they only accept extra 2 pages at a penalty cost. That is what has worried me for a review.
    – ar2015
    Jun 14, 2018 at 8:12
  • @ar2015 you should point them to their own FAQ page then
    – Alf
    Jun 14, 2018 at 12:22
  • The FAQ you linked is for IEEE Access, which is just one of some hundreds of journals published by IEEE, and that policy is for IEEE Access only. It's not a publisher-wide policy. Many of IEEE's other journals do in fact have page limits. Jun 15, 2018 at 4:21

IEEE Transactions have slightly different requirements and page limits during the submission process, so simply saying 80 pages without explaining the format does not help us give a proper answer.

Some comments from my experience:

  1. Many IEEE Transactions do not accept Review articles without invitation or discussion with the Editor-in-chief. Some others,however, do.
  2. The longest review paper I have seen in my field is around 20 pages content and 3 pages references in the IEEE format, and that is a rather unique exception to the typical standards.
  3. Are you a well-recognised professor in the area writing the review with other well-recognised people in the field or many years of working experience in the field and articles in the area? If not, I cannot see how such a long review document will be accepted. From the way you are asking the question, my guess would be no.
  4. In the AE meetings that I have participated there is a general consensus among editors and AEs that the literature review of a PhD student is typically not considered a review article, these submissions in mane cases are rejected before peer-review.
  5. Besides the open access fee, IEEE has a per-page fee for publications longer than 8 pages in their journal. So even if the paper is accepted, a 20-page formatted article would need, on top of the OA fee around US $1500 - $3000 to be published.

Hope these help.

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