Publishing Online

In the following chapter I discuss delays in the publication process. Factors such as these can affect the choice of journal. It may well be two years or more before a submitted article finally appears in print in some journals. In these days of rapid communication, such delays are unwarrantable. So publishing your paper (or a provisional version of it) on your web site might be a sensible option.

Indeed, placing your article in an open-access national repository might be a better procedure. At the time of writing, universities and other institutions are setting up both national and local repositories to allow open access to any research materials that are produced under the aegis of the institution or research council. The UK's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) project 'The Depot' is an example of one such national system (see

Another option may be to choose to publish in an open-access online journal. Open-access journals publish their papers on the Web for everyone to read, whether or not they are subscribers to the journal (although some currently charge the author over $3,000 for the privilege). Papers in online journals may also have additional features that benefit readers. For example, sometimes there are links to other papers cited in the references in an article, and to other papers on the same topic, or by the same authors. Recently, I came across one online journal, the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning ( that included video clips as well as tables and figures - changing at a stroke our conceptions of what a journal should be.

Table 4.2.3 lists ten types of open-access journal. One journal, Current Medical Research and Opinion, for example, has two modes of rapid publication:

1 FastTrack, where peer review and an initial decision take two weeks from submission, and online publication is only two to three weeks from final acceptance; and

2 RapidTrack, where peer review and the initial decision take three to four weeks from submission, and online publication takes four to five weeks from final acceptance.

There is a production fee for papers in the FastTrack mode. Papers published online then subsequently appear in print four to six weeks later. The Astrophysical Journal has similar arrangements. Here, preprints of articles that are accepted are posted on the journal web page before the articles appear in print. As noted earlier, the editors report that papers that have appeared on the web site in this way are cited at approximately twice the rate of those that are not posted prior to publication (Schwartz and Kennicutt, 2004).

Table 4.2.3 Ten types of open access journal in 2005

Home page

University departments maintain home pages for individual faculty

members on which they place their papers and make them freely


E-print archive

An institution underwrites the hosting of repository software,

enabling members to self-archive published and unpublished


Author fee

Author fees support immediate and complete access, and fees

covered by institutional and national membership


Subsidy from scholarly society institution etc. enables access


Subscriptions for print edition sustain both print and open-access



Subscriptions for print edition and immediate open access for

subscribers, with open access to all after, say, six months


Open access to a subset of articles in each edition


Open access to students and scholars in developing countries as a

charitable contribution


Open access to bibliographic information and abstracts, often with

links to pay for full texts


Member institutions contribute to support open access journals

Adapted from Willinsky (2005), pp. 212-13. © Massachusetts Institute of Technology, by permission of MIT Press.

Adapted from Willinsky (2005), pp. 212-13. © Massachusetts Institute of Technology, by permission of MIT Press.

Currently there appear to be four main ways of paying for publishing in an open-access journal, but the advantages and disadvantages of these (and other) methods of payment are being hotly debated at the time of writing. These four are:

• Author puts findings/paper online for free.

• Author pays to publish online in an open-access journal.

• Author's institution pays for the author to publish online in an open-access journal.

• Research funding agencies pay for publication of the research findings online in an open-access journal.

These differences are expanded upon in Table 4.2.3.

Open-access journals vary in their amount of editorial control and editing, but basically they are not so bound by the number of articles that they can print in any one issue. As noted earlier, studies suggest that self-archived papers and papers in open-access journals are cited just as, if not more, frequently on the Web than papers published in the traditional manner, but there are disputes over the reasons for this. Craig et al. (2007) distinguish between the following three such causes:

1 researchers are more likely to read, and thus cite, open-access articles;

2 prominent authors are more likely to make their articles available via open-access, and these will be widely read; and

3 because open-access articles appear earlier than their subsequently printed journal versions, they enjoy the benefit of this earlier appearance in the literature.

Craig et al. opt for this final explanation, but there is much discussion. Also, there is dispute over the suggestion that open-access can make more articles from developing countries available using these procedures (see, e.g. Antelman, 2004). Some people consider that the costs of open-access publishing for the authors or their institutions will cause greater difficulties in developing countries.

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