Cutting-Edge Research Available for Free

New IEEE open-access journal is a powerful resource

24 July 2013

When I write articles on technical topics for The Institute, I often use research papers as background material to help me better understand the technology I’m writing about. I sometimes start my search like some of you: by using Google or Google Scholar. Many times I come across articles that appear relevant, but I can’t download them because I don’t have a subscription to that particular journal. And probably like most of you, I don’t want to pay for the papers, especially if I’m not sure they are pertinent to my topic. But times are changing thanks to the practice of open access.

More publishers are now making their articles available for free, including IEEE. In May, it launched IEEE Access, an online, open-access publication that covers a variety of disciplines instead of a single field or topic. Some articles even include supplemental content such as video and audio clips of the researchers explaining their work. That’s a huge help for non-engineers like me or really anyone who might have a tough time understanding some of the highly technical concepts covered in the research papers.

For example, if you need to need to know about what’s next in mobile communications, you might want to watch a video of IEEE Fellow Ted Rappaport and other researchers talk about 5G cellular phones (today’s latest cellphones operate at 4G), which he says to upgrade requires “new millimeter-wave cellular systems, methodology, and hardware for measurements and offer a variety of measurement results that show 28 and 38 GHz frequencies.” Rappaport, director of NYU Wireless at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, in New York City, and others working on the project discuss their experiments to test the operation of higher frequencies for cellular phones in densely populated areas. The video is based on their “Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work!” paper.

While it’s all well and good to find out about new research, it often isn’t clear what the potential impact of the technology will be. This is important for me as a reporter to know, and I’m sure for you, as well.  Luckily some articles include commentary by a company representative or government official on the implications of a technology or scientific discovery.

What’s also beneficial about these articles is that the research is current. That’s because the peer-review process—from submission to publication—currently ranges from two weeks to two months. Not a bad turnaround time compared to traditional journals, which can take at least twice that long.

IEEE Access isn’t the only open-access journal IEEE has to offer. There also are topical electronic journals that only publish open-access articles. These focus on either an overarching theme or a narrow topic within a specific engineering discipline such as electron devices, emerging topics in computing, and translational engineering in health and medicine. IEEE’s traditional journals also offer articles for free. You can find IEEE Access as well as the other open-access articles in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library.

Check out IEEE Access to see the most popular articles as well as the latest research papers, which are posted on the site every week.

Photo: iStockphoto

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