3.3 Migration of Peer Reviewed Journals from Print to Online Platforms

The peer reviewed scholarly journals have been migrating to web-based platforms in recent years in addition to publishing their respective print edition. Most of the existing scholarly journals published from the advanced countries have already adopted dual modes of online and print formats. These journals now form a considerable mass of electronic publications. We also see emergence of new e-journals as online only edition, without publishing any print edition. Some of the existing scholarly journals have terminated their print edition to publish online edition only. While a print edition has limited space to publish a few number of articles due to high cost of printing and distribution, online only edition has much more flexibility to accommodate more articles and features than its print counterpart. Electronic journals also have flexibility to publish ‘articles in press’ in advance – months before the articles being published with pagination and assigned issue number or volume number of a journal. E-journals also allow embedding of graphs, photos, video clippings, and hyperlink to other referred sources. Migration of scholarly journals from print to web-based platforms essentially supports their global outreach strategy in order to achieve their global readership, global authorship and global marketing. The journal publishers also offer e-journals in bundles to their prospective institutional subscribers. The bundles can be formed on the basis of subject areas, viz., management sciences, engineering disciplines, applied sciences, biomedical sciences, etc. Generally, journals in STM (science, technology and medicine) disciplines are costlier than HSS (humanities and social sciences) disciplines. Also, journals in STM disciplines publish much higher number of articles, than journals in HSS disciplines. Journal frequency of STM journals and average number of articles in a STM journal volume are much higher than HSS journals. Scientific disciplines have much higher growth potential. So new scientific journals target recently emerged or super-speciality subject areas, such as nanotechnology, nano materials, molecular biology, biotechnology, etc. Frustrated with corporatized scholarly journals, which are in the clutches of profit-making multinational publishing companies or powerful lobbies, academic communities also sometimes seek alternative pathways in establishment of scientific journals of new kind with strong focus on unbiased and transparent peer-reviewing system. Thus, we see emergence of new kind of e-journals in recent time alternative to scientific cultural and scholarly communication practices. Participatory and transparent practices of new e-journals will help in developing new benchmarks in research communications. Publishers of scholarly journals also seek new business model to explore new markets and continue their profitability. Toll-access model is a historically proven profiting model for journal publishers, but non-sustainable to subscribing institutions. Due to ‘serials crisis’ phenomena, libraries across the world are facing budget cuts, inflations and foreign currencies’ negative fluctuation. Academic libraries don’t have adequate financial strength to subscribe to all scholarly journals needed for their members. Thus, libraries go in selective subscription of journals based on available budgets and much relevance to academic curricula or research programmes in their respective universities or institutions. Many libraries also have discontinued or reduced their print subscription to accommodate new e-journals relevant to their library users. Lost ground of print journals is motivating new breed of e-journals to capture an ever-increasing market of scholarly databases. Open access (OA) journals don’t have any burden on academic libraries’ budget. But research institutions have significant implications as many OA journals accept manuscripts for publishing in their journals subject to paying an article processing charge (APC) or a publishing fee. Researchers in developing countries sometimes feel a pinch of APC as many of them don’t have relevant budgetary provisions in their institutional budget or research project’s budget. Hybrid journals publish open access articles in their respective toll-access journals. Hybrid journals are subscription-based e-journals, which occasionally accept manuscripts for publishing as open access articles. All major for-profit publishers now accept open access articles in their conventional scholarly journals, subject to receiving an APC from contributing authors.

Last modified: Thursday, 25 March 2021, 10:48 AM