Providing Access to Published Research, Faster

Societies are publishing more online-only and electronic versions of their publications

7 June 2010
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By offering online-only publications and electronic versions of new content in the IEEE Xplore digital library, societies are speeding up access to the latest research. The era in which it could take months to deliver research results is ending.

In the past two years, several peer-reviewed online-only journals have been launched on IEEE Xplore, and more journals are posting their articles in the digital library before they appear in print.

The newest of the online-only journals, IEEE Magnetics Letters, was launched this year by the IEEE Magnetics Society. The publication covers the physics and engineering of magnetism and magnetic materials, applied magnetics, biomagnetics, magnetoelectronics, and spin electronics. The journal publishes articles as soon as authors approve page proofs; the articles are posted in a fully citable format. They are limited to four pages and can include color graphics.

"We found that many authors can effectively communicate important new information in four pages," says editor Ron Goldfarb, an IEEE Fellow. "And busy reviewers are more agreeable to reviewing short pieces."

A new citation style, by author instead of by number, means readers don't have to keep jumping between the text and the reference list. The references also include clickable links to cited material.

Written in a typeface that makes for easier reading online, IEEE Magnetics Letters also supports hybrid open access, which means it publishes both paid and open-access articles. For a fee, authors may make their articles freely available to all, including nonsubscribers. Such articles are identified as open access.

The bimonthly IEEE Photonics Journal covers wavelength sources from X-ray to terahertz, photonics materials, nanophotonics, and biophotonics. The IEEE Photonics Society launched the publication last June as IEEE's first hybrid open-access journal.

There were many reasons to offer the journal online, according to its editor, IEEE Fellow Carmen Menoni. One is the faster turnaround time from the date an author submits an article to when it is published online—an average of about 5 weeks, compared with the 10 weeks it takes to get an article into print. Another benefit is that authors are not constrained by space limits. "They can incorporate larger figures, color graphics, and multi-media files," Menoni says.

Authors can also include their biographies or a list of their conference papers related to the topic that are linked to the paper in IEEE Xplore. The papers have a new look: They are printed in a single column for easy reading on a screen and have a distinct cover with a colorful graphic.

Menoni stresses that the peer-review process has not been compromised. "We offer the same high standard of editorial quality and fair-minded rigorous review characteristic of all IEEE journals," she says.

Another new online-only publication is IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, published by the IEEE Computer Society. It will be launched in July and will include papers on the design of systems that can recognize, interpret, and simulate human emotions and related affective phenomena. It is to cover how affective sensing and simulation techniques can influence the understanding of human affective processes, psychology, and behavior as they relate to affective computing, behavior generation, and user interaction. The journal will come out again in December and quarterly thereafter.

The IEEE Computer Society already publishes two other online-only journals: IEEE Transactions on Services Computing and IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies.

Services Computing focuses on research on the algorithmic, mathematical, statistical, and computational methods that are central to services computing, which includes service-oriented architecture, Web services, business process integration, and services operations and management. Learning Technologies covers research on such topics as innovative online learning systems, educational software applications and games, and simulation systems for education and training. The publication model for Learning Technologies is known as delayed open access, which makes papers available for free one year after they've been published.

All but two of IEEE's 148 transactions, journals, and magazines now post an advance electronic version of their new content in IEEE Xplore. At last count, more than 5500 articles were posted and identified as early access.

There are two ways to find early-access articles in the digital library. One is by browsing to a specific journal or magazine's publication page and clicking the Early Access "View Articles" label. The other way is to conduct an advanced search and select the Early Access option under the Content Type tab.

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