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Establishing realistic expectations

Online dissemination responds to a growing market demand for electronic content (a topic we discuss in detail in Chapter Four, "Effect of Online Access on Institutional Subscriptions"). It is no surprise, then, that over 60 percent of peer-reviewed journals are now available online—including a significant percentage of society-published titles in the social sciences and humanities. In the face of accelerating market demand, inaction entails real and significant risks, and a society that fails to make its journal available online may jeopardize the journal’s relevance and weaken it as an attractive publishing venue.

At the same time, a society should have a realistic understanding of the benefits of online distribution. Online publication is sometimes presented as a solution for many, if not all, of the problems that confront the publishers of scholarly journals. While online information technologies and ubiquitous networking will continue to have a transformative effect on scholarly publishing, online distribution does not remedy all the deficiencies of scholarly and scientific journal publishing. Recognizing the practical limitations of online dissemination will help a society avoid overstating its benefits.

Faster publication speed

Many authors and researchers express dissatisfaction with long publishing cycles that can delay an article’s appearance for a year or more. Online publication is sometimes presented as a mechanism to reduce such delays since it is possible to publish articles online immediately, as they become available. However, inordinately long latency periods typically result not from printing delays but from lengthy peer review and editorial cycles, and these will not be shortened simply by moving to online publication.

Online editorial workflow management systems, which are often integrated into an online publishing regime, can accelerate the process and help increase publication speed, but it is more difficult to quicken the pace of reviewers and editors.

Lower costs

Online publication is frequently cited as an opportunity to lower the cost of scholarly publishing. Indeed, a complete transition to online-only publication eliminates print production costs (in effect, shifting the costs onto the user who prints articles out locally), assuming that the journal’s production process is reengineered accordingly. Relatively few journals—probably less than 10 percent—are distributed exclusively in online format. See Ware (2005a). Even if printing and print distribution costs are eliminated, however, the “first copy” costs of the journal remain. Further, online production, fulfillment, and hosting add new costs to the publishing process. While online distribution offers many benefits, a substantial reduction in total publishing costs is not among them. For a description and discussion of journal publishing costs, see King (2007), Clarke (2007) and Fisher (1999).

More extensive use of images

The ability of authors to make greater use of images—especially color images—is often cited as one of the benefits of online publishing. This assumption is based on the relaxation of physical page constraints and the lower cost of digital image reproduction. It is true that an author can supplement an online article with more images than would be possible in print, and that the cost of distributing color images digitally is lower than the cost of print reproduction. However, online publication does not change the fundamental copyright restrictions and permissions costs that encumber the use of images in print. Nor can free online image exchange services be relied upon to provide the level of image quality required for publication. Developing a curated online exchange for high-quality digital images can provide a society with a significant benefit to offer to its members. For one example, see the plans for the SAH ARA image exchange service being developed by the Society for Architectural Historians ( (External Link) ).

Digital publishing technologies and ubiquitous networking have not led to more flexible rights terms and lower permissions costs, as some had anticipated. Rather, conservative interpretations of fair use and the expansion of copyright protection have resulted in higher permissions costs for peer-reviewed journals. For a discussion of copyright, fair use, and permission fees for images, see Bielstein (2006), 71-100 and 132-137 and Ballon and Westermann (2006), 30-42. As Ballon and Westermann note, “[i]t is a paradox of the digital revolution that it has never been easier to produce and circulate a reproductive image, and never harder to publish one.” Ballon and Westermann (2006), 30.

Greater reach and increased citations

As noted above, online dissemination can expand a journal’s reach and increase the citation rates of its articles. However, realizing these benefits requires that a society implement enabling policies.

By lowering the marginal cost of dissemination to near zero, online publishing offers societies the opportunity to introduce pricing that makes a journal available to audiences—including smaller institutions and international markets—that might previously have been unable to afford the journal. To realize this potential, however, requires a pricing structure and less-developed countries (LDC) access policy designed to achieve greater market reach and penetration.

Likewise, online publication can result in greater exposure and increased citation impact. However, the extent to which this will be the case will depend on how easily a journal’s content can be discovered online. This will depend on whether the journal’s content has been indexed by Google and other major indexing services, whether the journal participates in CrossRef, and whether the journal’s access and pricing policies facilitate researcher use of an article once discovered.

It is not unusual for Google to account for over 75 percent of all referring URLs for an online journal. If you partner with a nonprofit or commercial publisher to distribute your journal online (as described in "Online Publishing Options," in Chapter Six), the publisher will typically assume responsibility for ensuring that your site is indexed appropriately by Google, Google Scholar, and other general search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) for a self-published journal is beyond the scope of this guide. For good basic introductions, see “About Google Scholar” <(External Link)> , “How Google Works” <(External Link)> , and Bapna and Acharya (2004). Indexing by Web search engines complements the subject-specific indexing and abstracting services that have traditionally covered print journals, For example, in art and architecture, indexes such as the Art Index , Architectural Periodicals Index (RIBA) , Artbibliographies Modern , Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals , and the Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI) . For indices by discipline, see Balay, Carrington, and Martin (1996). and which still provide the principal starting place for researchers seeking articles on a specific topic. See Inger and Gardner (2008), 10.

Questions & Answers

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x-2y+3z=-3 2x-y+z=7 -x+3y-z=6
Sidiki Reply
Need help solving this problem (2/7)^-2
Simone Reply
what is the coefficient of -4×
Mehri Reply
the operation * is x * y =x + y/ 1+(x × y) show if the operation is commutative if x × y is not equal to -1
Alfred Reply
An investment account was opened with an initial deposit of $9,600 and earns 7.4% interest, compounded continuously. How much will the account be worth after 15 years?
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lim x to infinity e^1-e^-1/log(1+x)
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12, 17, 22.... 25th term
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12, 17, 22.... 25th term
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I am 1 year old but I can do it! 1+1=2 proof very hard for me though.
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find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
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The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
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If f(x) = x-2 then, f(3) when 5f(x+1) 5((3-2)+1) 5(1+1) 5(2) 10
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
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A soccer field is a rectangle 130 meters wide and 110 meters long. The coach asks players to run from one corner to the other corner diagonally across. What is that distance, to the nearest tenths place.
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Jeannette has $5 and $10 bills in her wallet. The number of fives is three more than six times the number of tens. Let t represent the number of tens. Write an expression for the number of fives.
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Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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Source:  OpenStax, Transitioning a society journal online: a guide to financial and strategic issues. OpenStax CNX. Aug 26, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11222/1.1
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