Proceedings of the IEEE Still Tops the Charts After 105 Years

The journal marks its anniversary with a new website and webinars on emerging technologies

14 April 2017

At 105 years old, Proceedings of the IEEE continues to be influential. It’s IEEE’s most highly cited general-interest journal in electrical and computer engineering, and  consistently ranks in the top 10 of all electrical engineering journals.

Its popularity can be attributed to the many special reports it has published on important areas of engineering. Most recently, those topics included big data, bioinformatics, the smart grid, and 3-D printing. But even in its first issue, in January 1913, Proceedings published on a significant topic of the time: ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship radio communications

Computers appeared in Proceedings in the 1940s, and space technology and bioengineering in the 1950s. In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, the journal covered ICs for digital processing, imagers, and displays; the rise of smart and high-voltage DC power grids; the increasing importance of algorithms and software; and the expansion of data capacity thanks to beepers and smartphones in wired and wireless networks.

The journal also examines the historical path taken by a technology—chronicling its details from inception to the present day, and even into the future. So-called survey articles discuss a technology’s applications, ramifications, and potential. And tutorial articles provide practical information for implementing a technology.

“The journal is a classic but still contemporary and relevant, with a broad appeal,” says Vaishali Damle, the journal’s managing editor. “It keeps readers updated on what’s going on in a specific field. And you don’t have to be a specialist in that area to understand the articles; they’re written for a wide variety of engineers.

The publication is marking its 105th anniversary with the launch of a website and free webinars on topics covered in recent issues.


Proceedings’ history can be traced to 1909, when it was known as the Proceedings of the Wireless Institute. That New York–based society was for people interested in wireless engineering, then a new field. Six issues, edited by radio pioneers Greenleaf W. Pickard and Alfred N. Goldsmith, were published in 1909. In May 1912, the Wireless Institute merged with the Boston-based Society of Wireless Telegraph Engineers to become the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), one of IEEE’s predecessor societies. Wanting to publish their journal for the new society, Pickard and Goldsmith changed its name and released the first issue of Proceedings of the IRE in January 1913. Goldsmith continued as editor, while Pickard served that year as IRE president.

The Proceedings of the IRE became the society’s flagship publication, showcasing papers submitted by members around the world. The monthly’s discriminating paper selection and thorough peer-review process made it stand out among scientific journals of the time. When the IRE merged with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1963 to form IEEE, the journal was renamed Proceedings of the IEEE.

Some of the most famous tech pioneers have written for the journal. They include Lee de Forest, inventor of the Audion, a vacuum tube that could amplify electrical signals; Irving Langmuir, who received the 1932 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his contributions to the understanding of surface chemistry; and Vladimir K. Zworykin, who invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode-ray tubes. More recent authors include IEEE Fellow Theodore Rappaport, who is helping to develop millimeter-wave cellular wireless networks for 5G; and IEEE Fellow Isamu Akasaki, the inventor of blue light-–emitting diodes, for which he received the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics.

Proceedings tackles topics of concern to today’s engineers through its Point of View column. In the March issue, for example, two experts debated the effects of radioactive waste. Concerns addressed in previous issues include the Internet’s growing carbon footprint, and how technology is turning automobiles into interconnected sensing platforms.

The Scanning Our Past column connects the past with its future by highlighting significant historical achievements. For example, “What Sparked Video Research in 1877? The Overlooked Role of the Siemens Artificial Eye,” published in March, discusses how a demonstration of an artificial eye by Charles William Siemens inspired researchers.


The journal’s new website highlights articles from the previous three issues and previews topics in upcoming issues. The site also posts abstracts of feature articles chosen by the editors, as well as links to the journal’s most recent downloaded articles.

Also on the site are instructions for editors and authors on how to prepare and submit proposals for special reports and articles.

And if you want to know more from the experts about a topic they wrote about in the journal, check out the free webinars on the website. Recent webinars covered phased-array technologies and reconfigurable systems.

“The webinars provide an excellent opportunity for participants to hear from some of the leading experts doing research in important areas,” Damle says.

You can subscribe to the journal from the website. Subscribers need not be IEEE members. Yearly subscriptions start at US $43.

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