I am an electrical engineering PhD student (computational electromagnetics) and recently I learned about systematics reviews, which seem to be the norm in the health sciences. I tried to search for systematic reviews in the most relevants journals in my field:

  • IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility
  • IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
  • IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
  • International Journal of Electrical Power & Energy Systems

I found no systematic review on IEEE journals and only one published this year (2022) on IJEPES and, even then, from what I skimmed, it doesn't present the information I expect from a systematic review (namely, the PRISMA checklist, such as inclusion and exclusion criteria). This very superficial research I did suggests that systematic review are uncommon in electrical engineering (I did find some on Software Engineering, though), which raises the question: why aren't systematic reviews present in electrical engineering journals?

  • Why would you expect to be any? There aren't any in math either.
    – Arno
    Dec 13, 2022 at 13:06
  • 1
    At least in particle physics, there are specialized journals for the systematic review type article. I wore out my copy of Physics Reports when I was learning about Yang-Mills theory. Is it possible there are such journals?
    – Boba Fit
    Dec 13, 2022 at 14:02
  • In medicine, you have to conduct an additional study just to show that two other studies are comparable. In engineering or natural sciences, that's a lot easier.
    – Karl
    Dec 13, 2022 at 20:35
  • @Arno I am doing some research on human safety against radiation in extra high voltage installations. I expected to find a review along the lines of "most common or effective practices for mitigating worker's exposure". It serves nothing to establish the safest working practices if people are unwilling to follow them for any reason. Dec 14, 2022 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


(Frame challenge)

Well, there is an immediate problem:

most relevants journals in my field

three of the journals listed are "Transactions"

You see, this is a type of journal to cover a fast-moving field and publish novel contributions to it. Journal scopes (emphasis mine, I had to take a couple from SJR as IEEE website is having problems):

"IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility publishes original and significant contributions ..."

"The IEEE Transactions on Antennas & Propagation publishes full papers and shorter Communications on original contributions within the general topics of electromagnetics, antennas and wave propagation."

"PWRD welcomes papers that disclose innovations in electric apparatus for power delivery with the main focus on power transmission and distribution components."

I hope you get the idea. This does not mean the field does not have reviews, it just means you tried to find them in wrong places. I was able to find some reviews in Energy, IEEE Sensors publishes a lot: you can consider the latter a proof that it is not an IEEE problem, it is a Transactions problem. Now, I do not know what exactly is relevant to your subfield, but you could use it as a starting point.

You could search on Scholar and include "review" as one of your keywords. Also, this is one area where SJR may actually be helpful: if you consistently overlook some type of literature, you could skim through their Q1/Q2 list and see if there are any journals which sound relevant but you do not read much of (this is what I did to find both of these examples). Maybe your typical search strategy is flawed (it pretty much always is, for all of us, but the degree varies). Some of the good venues are getting overtaken by OA journals just because search engines tend to rank those higher, and no one has time to read every single journal in their field systematically. Either way, consider casting a wider net.

EDIT (as suggested by Jon Custer): In many universities, there are dedicated people specializing in helping researchers traverse the vast sea of scientific literature. They are called research librarians, and they are underrated. Go talk to one, they would be glad to help.

  • 1
    And go talk to a research librarian…
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 13, 2022 at 14:59
  • 1
    It was truly a "wrong place" problem. Thanks. I could find one about antennas on IEEE Access: ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9292914 Dec 13, 2022 at 15:09
  • @JonCuster Thank you. Guilty as charged - I also keep forgetting about them; our library was great with books, but not particularly helpful with periodics.
    – Lodinn
    Dec 13, 2022 at 15:11
  • I once was trying hard to find articles covering a specific topic, but the search engines kept coming back with hundreds of useless results. 10 minutes talking with a librarian, and about 2 minutes of her typing search strings yielded 3 dead-on results. I learned a few search tips in the process, but I also learned to use experts when needed.
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 13, 2022 at 15:33

Try Proceedings of the IEEE

Proceedings of the IEEE is the leading journal to provide in-depth review, survey, and tutorial coverage of the technical developments in electronics, electrical engineering, and computer science.

or IEE Proceedings A (Physical Science, Measurement and Instrumentation, Management and Education, Reviews)

Published from 1980-1988, IEE Proceedings A contained significant and original contributions on physical science, measurement and instrumentation, management and education, and reviews (specially commissioned articles written by specialists reviewing topics in depth for the professional electrical and electronics engineer).

You can find other electrical engineering journals that publish surveys and reviews.

  • Only found one on Proceedings of the IEEE, but I get the idea: I searched te wrong places. Dec 13, 2022 at 15:02

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