EPUBs are an experimental feature, and may not work in all readers.

Abstract

Scholarly communication through Open Access (OA) journals has become a global phenomenon. This article reports on a study that measures the value of OA journals based on citation counts (ISI’s Journal Impact Factor). It compares three highly ranked commercial electronic journals to five OA electronic journals. The non-OA journals are MIS Quarterly, Journal of American Medication Informatics Association, and Annual Review of Information Science and Technology; the five OA journals are Ariadne, D-Lib Magazine, First Monday, Information Research, and Information Technology and Disabilities. The criteria are established by ten major databases: Thompson’s ISI, American Psychological Association’s PsycInfo, Latin American and Canadian Health Science’s LILCS, National Medical Library’s MEDLINE, Scientific Electronic Library’s SciELO, The IOWA Guide, CSA’s LISA, EBSCO’s LISTA, H.W. Wilson’s Library Literature and Information Science, and R.R. Bowker’s Ulrich International Periodical Directory. These basic criteria are categorized under 11 broad issues: availability, authority and review policy, scope and coverage, exhaustiveness of articles, page format, availability of hyperlinks, currency, updating policy, search facility, and other miscellaneous issues. Ten years’ growth of Library and Information Science (LIS) OA journals has been measured by counting articles manually. During the last ten years the highest number of articles was published by First Monday, followed by D-Lib Magazine and Ariadne; the average number of articles per issue reported in Ariadne ranks first.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection:
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
From Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913

The process of scholarly communication has changed through history. Just as Gutenberg’s invention of movable type replaced ”Shurti” (or oral) communication process of the ancients, so, too, has Charles Babbage’s invention of computers replaced paper with the electronic medium.Although the mode of delivery of scholarly communication has changed from the oral to the written to the printed and now to the electronic, the form and function of scholarly journals have remained essentially unchanged in the last three centuries. Scholarly communication through journals was first reported by two scholarly journals, Journal des Scavans in January 1665 in France, followed by Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society in March 1665 in England (Osburn, 1984). But during the last three hundred and forty five years, information technology—from moveable type to electronic bits—has considerably influenced the journal.

The concept of the electronic journal (e-journal) began in 1976 (Turoff and Hiltz, 1982) but until the 1990s e-journals were very few in number. The first peer-reviewed electronic full text e-journal that included graphics was the Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials (Keyhani, 1993). At that time the e-journal was only an alternative process of scholarship. But during the last ten years scholarly e-journals have come to occupy a significant position in the research paradigm and have become a common mode of knowledge communication.

Tagore, in his Nobel-Prize-winning Gitanjali, wrote, “Where knowledge is free/ ... Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action— / into that heaven of freedom / ...let my country awake”. This idea includes the need for open access to knowledge and information.

There are many compelling reasons to investigate the usefulness of open access (OA) e-journals. In the early 1990s, the potential of OA publishing in scholarly communication was discussed by some scientists (Harnad, 1991; Harter, 1996; Harnad, 1999). During the last few years, scholarly communication through open access has become a reality. The steady increase in numbers of OA journals from 125 in 1991 to 2164 in 2006 in the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) and the inclusion of 239 open access journals in the Web of Science (Thompson’s ISI, Press release, 8/11/2004) show their gradual acceptance into mainstream research. The increasing use of OA journals by Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals was noted by Maguise (2003), where he found that almost 90% of the LIS professionals were willing to publish in peer-reviewed, open access LIS journals and nearly 60% were eager to participate in building and maintaining such journals. There is also evidence that the number of OA articles in established journals is increasing. Hawkins (2001) found that the number of articles in 28 LIS journals has risen from 26 in 1995 to 250 articles per year in 2001. This exploratory study also indicates such acceptance. The wide acceptance of OA scholarship and the growing popularity of OA journals among research communities calls for an evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses, so that these not-for-profit publications can sustain and survive alongside the for-profit entities.

This paper is the result of a preliminary study to answer the question: Are the LIS OA e-journals complete and comparable with non-OA LIS journals?

Review Of Literature

Chressanthis and Chressanthis (1993) have pointed that journal “quality” traditionally has been measured against quantitative measures such as circulation, total number of pages per volume, frequency of citations in the literature, and coverage by indexing services. However, Gorman (1999) suggests that quantitative measures are perhaps unsuitable for evaluating the qualitative factors that contribute to a journal’s excellence. Most researchers in this field use qualitative studies, asking journal editors, researchers, authors, and subscribers their opinions. Calvert and Shi (2001) did some research on quality and quantity in journal publishing in China. Acceptance (Krishnan and Bricker, 2004) and rejection rates (Rottern, Levitt, and Foos, 1993) have also been suggested as a measure for journal quality. Anderson (1997) surmises, as did Gormand and Calvert (2003), that selectivity may be linked to ”excessive publication”—submitting the same manuscript to two or more journals. Day and Peter (1994) asked subscribers and authors, as well as some editors and editorial advisors, about the quality of journals. Nkereuwem (1997) uses Lester’s method of journal evaluation, combining input measures, decision measures, and output measures into an index of journal quality for ranking journals (Lester 1990). This method, the author believes, tends to favor journals with a wide market reach. The need to evaluate journal Web sites was reported by Aguillo (1998) and recently by Vaughan and Thelwall (2003).

An examination of the literature in scholarly communication indicates that LIS journals are evaluated by factors other than impact. Nisonger (1999) provides a list of published studies of LIS journals as well as a list of the criteria used to compile the citation ranking of the journals in these studies. The 178 LIS journal studies he examines are classified in terms of the criteria used and fall predominantly into four categories of criteria: citation (94 studies), production (33 studies), subjective judgment (25), and reading (18 studies). The remaining eight studies use miscellaneous criteria such as familiarity, readability/ reading ease, currency of citation etc. Rousseau (2002) summarizes the 10 characteristics of a “quality” journal by reviewing Zwemer (1970), Garfield (1990), and Testa (1998). These ten criteria are:

1) High standards of acceptance (acceptance and rejection rates);

2) Subject and geographical representation on the editorial board;

3) Use of a critical refereeing system;

4) Promptness of publication;

5) Coverage by major abstracting and indexing services;

6) High confidence level in the contents of the journal by scientists who use it;

7) High frequency of citation by other journals (impact);

8) Inclusion of abstracts/summaries in English;

9) Providing authors addresses (author reputation score)

10) Providing complete bibliographic information

In the last few years, a number of authors have carried out research on criteria for evaluation of Internet publication. Stoker and Cook (1995) published criteria for evaluating CD-ROM and online services. In evaluating contents, Piontek and Garlock (1995) distinguish between sites that only provide links to other resources, and those that provide original information. This is similar to Katz’s (1992) distinction between control-access-directional sources (e.g. bibliographies, indexing, and abstracting services) and source works (e.g. encyclopedia and factbooks). Collins (1996) studies authority, and said that the “first priority is to find trustworthy sources on the net.” Grassian (1997) argues that a source should strike an appropriate balance between inward-pointing links and outward-pointing inks. Other researchers have looked at journal’s criteria such as workability (Koopman and Hay, 1994); conviviality (Gurn, 1995); cost (Cassel, 1995); currency (Grassian, 1997); compatibility, and “connectivity” (Caywood, 1997). In a recent study on journals in general, van Leeuwen and Moed (2005) provide evidence that “journals that contain a smaller number of publications tend to have a larger share of uncited papers.”

Since 1996, many articles have linked patterns of scholarly e-journals (Almind and Ingwersen, 1997; Rousseau, 1997; Ingwersen, 1998; and Borgman and Furner, 2002). Several studies have also been undertaken regarding accuracy and completeness of citations to e-journals (Harter and Kim, 1996); online content and offline citation patterns (Vauughan and Shaw, 2003); online content and citation patterns within the disciplines of LIS and Law (Vaughna and Thelwall, 2003); the motivation of URL citation of OA articles (Kousha and Thelwall, 2006); bibliometrics of e-journals in information science (Hawkins, 2001); and citation and linking as a measure of effectiveness of online LIS journals (Smith, 2005), among other topics. In most of the studies, the two primary methods of journal evaluation are citation-based ranking or perceptual rating by experts. The limitations of the citation ranking (Moed, 2002 and Glanzel and Moed, 2002) and perceptual rating (McGrath, 1987) have already well documented. Moed (2005) contends that a journal’s impact factor is a limited quantitative measure for evaluating a journal’s quality or its full value as a scholarly publication. Rousseau (2002) cautions that analysts should exercise care when using impact factors, and that a battery of different impact factors should be evaluated. In summary, in 1996-2005 there were no significant studies evaluating the contents of LIS open-access e-journals. Impact studies of OA databases and services (e.g. Citeseer) demonstrate the validity of newer measures for evaluation as well, but further call into question the function and role of journals in a discipline and add to the need for holistic measures of various aspects of a journal (Moed, 2005). Motivated by the urge to fill the research gap, this paper is an attempt to evaluate the accuracy and completeness of the contents of LIS OA e-journals.

SCOPE

This paper is based on a pilot study that was restricted to OA e-journals in dealing with all aspects of the LIS discipline and not focused on any specific subject. This study is restricted only to those e-journals that are available in English because English is an international language—in some sense a world language that many non-native English speakers use to communicate in a wide variety of settings (Pennycook, 1994). English is often regarded as the language for the highest quality publications and is capable of having the greatest impact on a researcher’s work (van Leeuwen et. al., 2000). It has been observed that most of the online journals in this field started in the latter part of 1990s. The ten years from 1996 to 2005 have therefore been chosen as the sample years and all journals included were published continuously on the Web during that period. The study does not include scanned PDF based journals because available crawlers and search engines have technical problems finding links to their pages (Thelwall, Vaughan, and Bjoreneborn, 2005).

METHODS

a. Selection of e-journals

The major purpose of this research is to study the content of scholarly peer-reviewed e-journals in LIS. For this study it was necessary to obtain and examine individual OA e-journals in the sample to identify those that meet the selection criteria. An initial study was based upon scanning the DOAJ because it is the single comprehensive Web directory providing a listing of all open-access journals in all fields. DOAJ listed 58 e-journals in the LIS field in April 2006. The sample was chosen based on the initial criteria: language (contents in the English language only); continuity in publication (publication should have commenced in 1996 or prior or should not have ceased between 1996-2005); availability (all of the issues of the e-journal should be accessible without any payment, password, etc.); authority (peer-reviewed or refereed and scholarly); and format (output format should not be scanned PDF). Those criteria produced five open-access journals for detailed investigation as summarized in Table 1: Ariadne, D-Lib Magazine, First Monday, Information Research, and Information Technology and Disabilities. Each journal’s home page and several subsequent pages were printed for examination, which is detailed in the tables below, and the discussion is in the “Results and Discussion” section. Although the size of sample may seem insignificant for generalizing findings, the significance of the findings are nonetheless important.

Table 1: LIS Open Access Journals
LIS OPEN-ACCESS JOURNALS
Number, Name, Short Name, URL

Publisher/Country

Frequency

Start

Subject coverage

1. Ariadne - http://www.ariadne.ac.uk

UK Office for Library and Information Networking/

United Kingdom

Originally six issues/ year; now Quarterly/ Calenderic

1996

Current digital library initiatives, Information service developments and information networking

2. D-Lib Magazinehttp://www.dlib.org

Digital Libraries Initiative/ United State

11 issue per year/ Calenderic

1995

Digital library research and development, Applications of Technology, and Contextual social and economic issues.

3. First Monday - http://firstmonday.org

Previously published by Munksgaard, Danish (1996-98), there after by University of Illinois at Chicago/ United State

12 issues per year/ Calenderic

1996

Computers, Internet, Library Science, Application of Computers in Libraries

4. Information Research - http://InformationR.net/ir/

Professor T.D. Wilson/ UK

4 issue per year/ Non-Calenderic

1995

Information science, information management, information systems, information policy and librarianship

5. Information Technology and Disabilities - http://www.rit.edu/~easi/itd.htm

Equal Access Software and Information/

United States

Annual/ Calenderic

1994

Information technology, elementary and college education; educational computing; software and hardware development

Note: Journals arranged here alphabetically.

b. Evaluation of e-journals

Journal’s content

The literature study turned up many criteria to evaluate e-journals and their contents. Some were adopted for this study, and others were not. For instance, cost was not considered because this study is based on open-access e-journals, which are free. Below is a table that looks at the selection criteria of the ten most popular indexing and abstracting databases. To determine which databases were most popular, in March 2006 the author executed a simple Google search by entering the phrase “selection criteria of electronic journals” in the Google search engine. The first ten relevant results were considered. Google was chosen over other search engines due to its comprehensiveness (Bar-Ilan, 2004) and stability over time (Vaughan and Shaw, 2004, 2005). Note that all these criteria are not readily mentioned in all these databases; rather, these criteria were selected by analyzing the journal selection policies of the databases. A toolbox of criteria was developed and used in this analysis. Some well-written Web sources are also consulted during compilation of the toolbox. The Web addresses of these sources are mentioned in Appendix A. Hyperlinks available in the e-journals were verified to understand their functionality.

Table 2: Criteria for incorporating journals in some of the best known databases (Database keys are below)

Criteria

Databases / Indexing, Abstracting Services

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Language—English (or at least English translation or abstract; keyword of the title should be in English)

Y

Y

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

N

Stated frequency of publication

Y

Y

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

Quantity of publication

N

N

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

Length of time published

N

N

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

Timeliness of publication – Whether the journal has a fixed publication schedule and adheres to it

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Required ISSN

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Peer review

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Blind peer review/external review

N

N

N

Y

N

Y

N

Y

N

N

Editorial board peer review

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Expert peer review

N

N

N

Y

N

N

N

Y

N

N

Affiliation of reviewers

Y

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

Y

N

N

Subject specialist reviewers

Y

Y

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

Editorial board members from geographically diverse areas and not from the same institutions.

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

International diversity among authors

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Y

N

N

N

Standardization

Y

Y

N

N

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

Journal name

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Volume number

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Issue number

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Article number or DOI

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Descriptive title

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Author address and affiliation

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

Abstract

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Keyword

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Current references

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Translated reference, if original article is not in English

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Issue contents

N

N

Articles on emerging topics

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

Original article/ scientific or research oriented article

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

Letters to the editor

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Interviews with scientists

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Case studies

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

Obituaries

N

N

MA

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

News

N

N

MA

MA

N

N

N

N

N

N

Previously published articles

N

N

MA

MA

N

N

N

N

N

N

Book reviews/ software Reviews

N

N

MA

MA

N

Y

N

N

N

N

Administrative or informative reports on scientific events (conferences, seminars)

N

N

MA

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Financial and administrative reports

N

N

MA

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Does the journal has some sponsoring body, sponsorship should be some authoritative body

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Updating content within a defined interval

N

N

Y

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

Archiving back issues

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Mentioning posting date, date of revision and date of publication

N

Y

N

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

Accessibility of available links

N

Y

N

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

E-mail Listserv

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Usage of Journal

N

Y

N

N

Y

Y

N

Y

N

N

Index in other databases

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Citation analysis and impact factor

Y

N

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

N

Production quality

N

N

Y

N

N

Y

N

N

N

N

Y= Yes, discussed, N= Not discussed, MA=Mentioned but not required for inclusion

1 Thomson Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Database http://scientific.thomson.com/free/essays/selectionofmaterial/journalselection/
2 Psychological Information Abstracting Service of American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/psycinfo/publishers/journals.html
3 Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS) database http://www3.bireme.br/abd/I/Selguien.doc
4 MEDLINE database http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/jsel.html
5 Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) database, Brazil http://www.scielo.br/criteria/scielo_brasil_en.html
6 The IOWA Guide http://iowaguide.uiowa.edu/
7 Library and Information Science Abstract (LISA) database of Cambridge Scientific Abstract (CSA) http://www.csa.com/factsheets/supplements/LISAguide.doc
8 Library, Information Science and Technology Abstract (LISTA) of EBSCO http://www.epnet.com/thisTopic.php?topicID=396&marketID=
9 Library Literature and Information Science of H.W. Wilson http://www.hwwilson.com/Databases/Peer_Reviewed.htm
10 Ulrich International Periodical Directory of R.R. Bowker http://www.ulrichsweb.com/ulrichsweb/ulrichsweb_news/ulrichsinsideabout.asp

Issue contents

All the articles that appeared during the period of 1996-2005 of the selected OA e-journals were counted manually. In the current study, only articles were considered as a measure of scholarship because articles were the only consistent feature of all the e-journals. (Other contents of these OA e-journals, such as letters to the editor or obituaries, are mentioned in Table 3.) In this study we also noted article referencing and hyperlinks (self-link, out-link, etc.).

Table 3: Distribution of Contents of LIS Journals Studied

Journal Name

Home Page Contents

Subsequent page contents

1. Ariadne

  • Journal name
  • ISSN
  • Short history of journal

Link to:

  • About Ariadne
  • Back Issues
  • Contact Ariadne
  • Search Ariadne
  • Sponsor/Publisher’s details
  • •RSS
  • E-mail Ariadne
  • Issue details
  • Editorial
  • Main Articles
  • Regular Column
  • Get tooled up
  • At the event
  • News and Reviews
  • Publishers/ Sponsors information
  • Copyright information

2. D-Lib Magazine

  • Journal name
  • ISSN,

Link to:

  • About D-Lib
  • Table of contents
  • Featured collection
  • In brief
  • Clips & Pointers
  • Back Issues
  • Author Index
  • Title index
  • Subscription
  • Mirror site
  • Contact D-Lib
  • D-Lib Forum
  • Ready Reference
  • Meetings
  • Conferences
  • Works
  • RSS

Brief information & detailed link to:

  • Editorial
  • Letter
  • Conference report
  • Featured Collection
  • News (for Current issue)
  • Search
  • Author Index
  • Title Index
  • Editorial
  • Letters
  • Commentary
  • Stories
  • Articles
  • Featured Collection
  • In-brief
  • Clips and Pointers
  • Conference news
  • Book reviews
  • Project briefing
  • Opinion
  • Links to other mirror sites
  • Copyright information
  • Publisher’s information
  • Guidelines for authors
  • Privacy policy
  • Access terms

3. First Monday

  • Journal name
  • ISSN
  • Copyright Information
  • Publisher/ Sponsors information

Link to:

  • Current First Monday
  • Search First Monday
  • Past Mondays
  • Best Mondays
  • Random Mondays
  • Guideline for authors
  • FM List
  • FM editor
  • FM History
  • FM Sponsor,
  • Privacy
  • ISSN
  • Articles
  • Reviews
  • Issue information
  • Letter to editor
  • Conference Papers
  • Index to previous volume
  • Recommendation

4. Information Research

  • Journal name
  • ISSN
  • Little bit about Journal

Link to:

  • Home
  • About Information Research
  • Sponsoring Information Research
  • Editors
  • Author instructions
  • Copyright, Author index
  • Subject index
  • Search
  • Reviews
  • Weblog,
  • InformationR.net
  • Register
  • Online issues archives
  • Contacts to sponsors
  • Journal name
  • Issues details
  • ISSN
  • Contents
  • Repeat all items as in Home page
  • Editorial
  • Guest Papers
  • Refereed Paper
  • Working papers
  • Articles
  • Book reviews
  • Software reviews
  • Workshop papers
  • World List of Information Schools (This links is available from multiple pages)
  • Report of Conferences
  • Electronic Dissertation (This links is available from multiple pages)
  • Conference announcement
  • Link to other free journals (This links is available from multiple pages)
  • Keynote address

5. Information Technology and Disabilities

  • Link to:
  • EASI Home
  • Web conference
  • Online clinics
  • EASI membership
  • E-learning accessibility
  • Upcoming events
  • Sponsor name
  • Year
  • Issue details
  • Copyright statement
  • Information Technology and Disabilities editor and submission information
  • Table of Contents
  • Special Theme Article
  • Other Articles
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Call for articles (some issues)

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

LIS Open-Access Journals

Of the five samples, three journals are published in the USA and two in the UK. In all cases these journals are published by not-for-profit institutions and funded or sponsored by some governmental or organizational bodies (or both). The continuity in publication over the last ten years and the increasing number of articles per issue in each of the journals also points to increasing interest among LIS professionals in participating in open-access journals.

The subjects covered in all five OA e-journals in the study tend to be information technology and its application in the library, and not traditional issues of librarianship.

Evaluation of journals’ contents

Tables 4 to 9 apply the evaluation criteria to three non-OA journals as well as five OA journals. The non-OA LIS journals selected were the first three ranked in ISI Web of Knowledge’s Journal Citation Report (JCR) – 2005: MIS Quarterly (JCR Rank #1 in 2005); Journals of the American Medical Informatics Association (JCR Rank #2, in 2005);and Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (JCR rank #3, in 2005).

Table 4: Qualitative Evaluation of E-journal’s Availability, Authority and Review Policy (as on December 2006)

Criteria

MSQ

JAM

ARI

ARD

DLB

FM

IR

ITD

Availability

Does the journal have a dedicated server?

Y

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

N

N

If not, what is the location of the journal name in the Web address?

SSD

SD

SSD

Nature of top-level-domain (TLD)

OR

OR

OR

AC

OR

OR

NE

AC

Has the stated publication frequency been maintained since inception?

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Has any combined issue appeared during 2000-04?

N

N

N

N

N

N

Y

Authority and Review Policy

Nature of sponsoring/ technical supporting body

AO

AC

OR

GO

GO

AO

AC

GO

Nature of publishing body

OR

CO

CO

AC

OR

AC

PR

OR

Total names mentioned as ”Editors”

56

34

16

1

1

26

39

17

How many of them are as Chief-Editor or Senior Editors?

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

How many of them are Associate Editors?

40

5

1

-

-

1

5

1

How many other members are on the Editorial Board?

10

26

-

-

-

17

33

13

Are there any Section Editors? If yes, how many?

N

-

N

N

N

N

NF

Number of other editors in various capacity

5

2

-

-

7

-

1

Is there an Advisory Board? If yes, how many?

N

N

14

NA

N

Y

N

N

Is there a separate Board of Referees? If yes, how many?

-

-

-

N

N

N

N

N

Do all editors belong to the same institutions?

N

N

N

-

-

N

N

N

Are editorial members from different geographical locations?

Y

Y

Y

-

-

Y

Y

Y

Is the chief editor in the LIS field?

N

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Is the journal is peer-reviewed or scholarly?

P

P

P

S

S

P

R

P

Does the journal mention its review policy?

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Y

Y

Y

Types of Review - Editorial Board Review

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Blind Peer Review

Y

NM

NM

-

SC

-

-

-

Expert Peer Review (outside)

Y

Y

NM

SC

NM

NM

Y

N

How much time does the journal usually take for editing process (in days)?

90

84

NA

NF

14-21

NK

90-180

NK

How many referees edit the text before acceptance?

2-3

2-3

NA

NF

1-2

NF

2-3

NF

Are authors informed about names of referees?

Y

Y

NA

-

N

N

Legend:

MSQ = MIS Quarterly

JAM = Journals of the American Medical Informatics Association

ARI = Annual Review of Information Science and Technology

ARD = Ariadne

DLB = D-Lib

FM = First Monday

IR = Information Research

ITD = Information Technology and Disabilities

As indicated in Table 4, out of the five OA journals, three have unique Web addresses (as do two of the non-OA journals) that are in the main domain of the server. Information Research has an individual page but resides in the sub-directories of the main domain like one non-OA journal, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Information Technology and Disabilities does not have a unique journal page and resides under the sub-sub directory of the sponsor’s Web site. The top-level domain pattern in these OA journals is fairly equal: two academic, two organizational, and one networked; whereas for all three non-OA journals the top-level domain is organizational. Three OA journals are sponsored or supported by governmental bodies, one receives support from an academic institution, and one receives support from both an academic institution and an organization. Two out of five are published by academic institutions, two by non-profit organizations; one, Information Research, is published by Prof. T.D. Wilson with technical support from Lund University Library, Sweden. The total number of editors for e-journals like First Monday, Information Research, and Information Technology and Disabilities is quite large, whereas only one name is mentioned in the “Editor” link for e-journals like Ariadne and D-Lib Magazine. The present editors of all these journals are in the LIS field. All editors are professionally sound and able to handle interdisciplinary aspects of librarianship. Except for the editor of D-Lib Magazine, all the editors have e-mail addresses in different domains than journal’s domain.

Editorial policy is always assumed to be an important criterion for evaluating a journal’s quality. Some of the editorial policies of these e-journals, which are not mentioned on the e-journal’s Web sites, were confirmed by sending e-mail messages to the appropriate editors. Editors of the e-journals Ariadne, D-Lib Magazine, and Information Research replied immediately, the rest of them did not. Due to non-availability of responses from other e-journals, they were marked Not Known (NK). The reviewing policy of the OA e-journals is nearly same as the policy of the non-OA journals. Like all three non-OA journals, five OA e-journals also review the submitted papers by the Editorial Board. Additionally, sometimes D-Lib Magazine offers blind peer review; Ariadne uses outside experts for editing articles in subject areas where there is no in-house expertise. The time usually taken for editing submitted texts varies in journal to journal. It is as high as 90-180 days in case of Information Research, and as low as 14-21 days in case of D-Lib Magazine. In answer to a query, the current editor of Ariadne says:

There is no hard and fast answer for this except to say that the overwhelming majority of articles submitted and accepted before theappearance of the next issue do actually appear in that issue. This isbecause there is a sufficient number of articles that are commissioned,i.e. arranged with the author, for me to process articles through theeditorial workflow in time for publication. The small number of articles that fail to appear in the next issue of Ariadne are either: submitted too close to the publication date to be properly edited and marked up OR subject to some unforeseen circumstance such as author's illness etc.

Table 5 compares the scope and coverage of five OA and three non-OA e-journals. The e-contents of four journals is very comprehensive; Information Technology and Disabilities has limited contents. All the OA e-journals provide information about the journal and their authority. The detailed information regarding authority is only available by navigating further links available in journal’s home page. These e-journals also give guidelines to the author. First Monday and Information Research expand these guidelines with examples to make them easy to understand. Like two out of three non-OA e-journals, all five e-journals index their contents. Three out of five e-journals indexed their contents by “Author,” by ”Title/Article” and by “Subjects”; two e-journals, Ariadne and Information Technology and Disabilities, do not provide any index keys.

Three of the e-journals publish refereed articles. Ariadne and D-Lib are not refereed, but they publish scholarly articles. First Monday, Information Research, and Information Technology and Disabilities also publish themed issues. Although all but Information Research publish letters to the editor, other electronic contents like columns, case studies, editorials, reviews, and news items were not common to these e-journals.

Table 5: Qualitative Evaluation of E-journal’s Scope and Coverage

Criteria

MSQ

JAM

ARI

ARD

DLB

FM

IR

ITD

Scope and Coverage

About the journal

NA

AN

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

About authority of the journal

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

Is authority information attached to the journal?

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Is it further linked from the journal’s home page?

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

NY

Guidelines to the author

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

Guidelines with examples

AV

AV

AV

NM

NM

AV

AV

NM

Table of Contents of current issue

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

Table of Contents of back issues

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

Index keys of Journal

N

N

N

N

Author

-

Y

-

-

Y

Y

Y

-

Title/ Article

-

Y

-

-

Y

Y

-

-

Subject/Keyword

-

Y

-

-

-

-

Y

-

Refereed articles

AV

AV

AV

-

-

AV

AV

AV

Theme based articles

AV

AV

-

-

-

AV

AV

SV

Edited but non-reviewed scholarly articles

NA

-

AV

AV

-

AV

-

Columns

-

-

-

AV

-

-

-

Case studies

-

AV

-

-

-

-

-

Editorial

AV

AV

NA

AV

SV

SV

AV

SV

Letters to editor

NA

AV

NA

SV

SV

SV

NS

SV

Reviews (Books, Journals, Software)

NA

AV

NA

SV

SV

AV

AV

SV

News /Views/Interviews

NA

AV

NA

SV

AV

SV

SV

SV

Special issues dedicated to specific aspect of LIS (or current interest) field?

Y

Y

N

N

Y

NS

Y

Y

Whether journal accepts articles

Published earlier in different journal?

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

NM

Published earlier in conferences?

N

N

N

YM

N

YM

YM

NS

Whether journal allows authors to publish the same article elsewhere

N

N

N

Y

Y

NK

N

Y

Is acknowledgement required?

-

Y

Y

-

-

Y

Any Journal with acknowledgement

-

-

-

-

-

-

Institutional archive (non-profit)

N

N

-

-

-

-

-

Regarding re-publication of earlier published journal articles, all these e-journals state on their Web sites that they only accept original research articles. However, the editors of D-Lib and Information Research said they do not publish “earlier submitted conference based articles” unless the articles are substantially revised and extended. The editor of Information Research writes: “Information Research only accepts original research papers; consequently, papers already published elsewhere, either in journals or conference proceedings, would not be acceptable - indeed this would be ruled as 'self-plagiarism’. Conference papers that undergo further development and satisfy the referees that the changes are sufficient to warrant publication, would be acceptable.” On the question of whether the journals allow authors to publish their articles elsewhere, the editors of D-Lib write that, “Authors retain copyright for their articles published in D-Lib Magazine. Therefore, they are permitted to republish or reprint them as they wish. All we ask is that, as a courtesy, the republication refers to the article's original publication in D-Lib Magazine.”

Table 6 looks at the information provided in non-OA and OA e-journals. Both types provide information regarding descriptive title, author credential, and e-mail address of the author. IDs are common in these OA e-journals, but abstracts are not—only Information Research has them. Where abstracts are available, they are descriptive and clearly indicate the subject of article. But the most disappointing finding is that one of the most important metadata elements, keywords, is not provided for the individual articles in any of the OA journals. Even, the meta tag “keyword” is not available in the source code of three OA e-journals; only First Monday and Information Research have them.

Articles in all these OA e-journals contain references and all e-journals use specific style sheets. E-journals like Information Research and Information Technology and Disabilities follow the American Psychological Association (APA) style sheet; D-Lib follows the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. The other two OA e-journals use their own style sheets, mostly made up from APA or MLA. All e-journals accept articles submitted via e-mail, and two of them accept articles written in document formats. However, Information Research specifically instructs authors to submit articles in XML or HTML format. Articles of any length are acceptable by Ariadne, Information Research, and Information Technology and Disabilities, but D-Lib Magazine accepts articles only up to 5000 words. The rate of acceptance for Ariadne is 55 percent; it is only 20 and 35 percent for D-Lib Magazine and Information Research, respectively.

Table 6: Qualitative Evaluation of E-journal’s Metadata

Criteria

MSQ

JAM

ARI

ARD

DLB

FM

IR

ITD

Article Metadata

Descriptive title

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

Author credentials & Email

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

SV

Abstract (during 2000-2004)

AV

AV

NV

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

Each article abstracted

Y

Y

N

-

-

-

Y

-

Maximum articles abstracted (>50%)

-

Y

-

-

Y

Y

-

Y

Minimum article abstracted (<50%)

-

-

-

Y

-

-

-

-

Mostly Informative

Y

Y

-

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Mostly Indicative

-

-

-

Y

-

-

-

-

Author produced Keywords

Y

Y

Y

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Keywords as meta tag in Source Code

N

NA

NA

AV

AV

NA

Whether references available in major articles? (>50%)

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Whether references follow any style guide?

YM

VS

APA

NM

MLA

YM

APA

APA

Is there a unique number or DOI?

N

Y

N

N

Y

N

Y

N

Whether each article has an individual / unique Web address

Y

Y

NK

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Author biographies

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

Whether individual article bears

Date of posting

N

Y

N

N

N

Y

N

N

Date of acceptance

N

Y

N

N

N

Y

N

N

Date of publication

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Procedure for submission of article

Online

-

Y

-

-

-

-

-

-

Through E-mail

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Preferred article submission format

DC

DP

DC

DC

DC

ALL

XHT

HT

Whether copyright information is provided with individual articles

-

Y

N

SV

SV

SV

SV

SV

Page limit or word limit for articles

Y

Y

Y

NL

Y

NK

NL

NL

Rate of acceptance of submitted papers (%)

10

NA

NA

55

20

NK

35

NK

Table 7 explains the page format, availability of hyperlinks, currency, and updating policy of OA e-journals. Although the sample for this research is low, it still indicates that HTML is the most widely used format in representing Web-based text data. All these e-journals are only accessible in HTML format. The journals tend to use GIF files much more than JPEG/JPG files, which simply indicates that GIF is the preferable format for representing graphic data. By using hyperlinks, all e-journals interconnect the related text to make it easy to navigate.

It was disappointing to note the updating frequency of these e-journals. During the investigation the author observed that in a number of cases links are no longer valid, although the last modified dates are quite recent. One archival link for the article “Growing National ... NSDL programme,” by Lee Ziain First Monday Vol. 6 no. 4 April 2001 (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue6_4/) goes to the same article published in D-Lib Magazine (www.dlib.org/dlib/march01/zia/03zia.html, last verified 14th December 2006). Although four journals provide copyright dates or updating dates, Information Technology and Disabilities pages bear no date information. Over the last 10 years, three of the five journals changed their appearance one or more times.

Table 7: Qualitative Evaluation of E-journal’s Page Format, Availability of Hyperlinks, Currency and Updating policy

Criteria

MSQ

JAM

ARI

ARD

DLB

FM

IR

ITD

Page Format (during 2000-2004)

a. Format of contents

NN

NN

NN

Mostly text based

-

-

-

-

-

-

Y

Text and graphic both

Y

Y

Y

Y

-

b. Text Forma

NN

PDF

Y

Y

-

-

-

-

-

HTML/ XML

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

c. Graphic Format

NN

NN

NN

Number of GIF/PNG files

171

217

263

191

27

Number of JPG/JPEG files

48

67

42

27

12

Availability of Hyperlinks (during 2000-2004)

NN

NN

NN

Text to text

NA

AV

AV

AV

NA

Text to reference/ notes

AV

AV

AV

AV

NA

Text to tables/ figure/appendix

NA

AV

AV

AV

NA

Body text to outward domain

AV

AV

AV

AV

AV

Reference/ notes to outward domain

AV

AV

AV

AV

NA

Links to other open access journals

N

N

N

Y

N

Y

N

Currency

No pages dated

Journals’ home page dated

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

Other pages also dated

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

If ”no” then is there a copyright date on major pages?

Y

Y

NA

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Updating policy

Were all pages were updated after 2004?

Y

Y

NN

-

-

Y

-

N

Some pages updated after 2004

Y

Y

-

Y

-

Number of changes of overall appearance from 2000 to 2004

2

0

0

2

3

0

1

0

Number of updates from 2000 to 2004 (measured by WayBack Machine)

48

55

09

9

52

48

11

17

Table 8 compares five OA e-journals on their search functionality. Four of the five OA e-journals take full advantage of electronic publication by providing specific windows for searching along with searching tips. The two non-OA journals do not, perhaps because they only want to intimate their contents and not allow users to access their complete databases unless they are subscribers. Searching keys like author, title etc. have been invoked by D-Lib Magazine and Information Research; Ariadne, and First Monday provide free text search. Whether keys or free text, the four e-journals that allow searching have custom-designed crawlers (Ariadne: ISearch; D-Lib; First Monday: WebSTAR; Information Research: WebSideStory) with Boolean operators. However, one of the most important metadata elements, keywords, is not provided for the individual articles in any of the OA journals.

Table 8: Qualitative Evaluation of E-journal’s Search Facility

Criteria

MSQ

JAM

ARI

ARD

DLB

FM

IR

ITD

Search facility

NA

NA

Is there a dedicated window for searching the database?

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Are search tips provided?

N

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Nature of searching

-

Basic search

-

Y

-

-

Y

Y

Advanced search

-

Y

-

Y

Y

-

Searching Keys

-

-

-

Author

-

Y

-

-

Y

-

Y

-

Title/ article

-

Y

-

-

Y

-

-

-

Subject

-

Y

-

-

-

-

Y

-

Free search / keywords

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

-

Searching Techniques

-

NN

-

Boolean (AND,OR,NOT)

-

Y

-

Y

Y

-

-

-

Default Boolean operator

-

AA

-

AD

AD

“..”

-

-

Boolean based operator

-

-

-

-

-

Y

Y

-

Score (“..”) searching key

-

Use of +, - , ( ) etc.

-

Proximity operators

-

Link to other search engines

N

N

N

-

-

Y

Y

-

Coverage in searching

Full database

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

NA

Partial (for a specific period)

-

-

Crawler used

NN

NA

Specially designed

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

-

Powered by other crawler?

N

-

-

-

Y

-

Name of the other crawler

-

-

G

Almost all e-journals offer electronic mailing lists to alert the users about the new publication and upcoming events. Very recently D-Lib Magazine introduced RSS functionality, which is yet to be adopted by other e-journals. Although LISA has been abstracting each journal, and the Web of Knowledge has indexed First Monday and Information Research, only the latter two mention indexing and abstracting in their Web pages. Eight indexing and abstracting databases index First Monday; six index D-Lib Magazine and Information Research; and 4 index Ariadne and Information Technology and Disabilities.. Copyright remains with both author and publisher for Ariadne and First Monday; the author owns copyright for D-Lib Magazine; Information Research uses the Creative Common License; the publisher of Information Technology and Disabilities holds the copyright. None of the journals carries advertising or product marketing, although Information Research has a provision for advertising. This may be because all these e-journals receive support from their sponsoring bodies (or maybe because potential advertisers do not see the worth of advertising in these e-journals). The arrangement of content and hyperlinks is attractive for all of these e-journals. Navigation of these e-journals is very simple. D-Lib Magazine and Information Research are very comprehensive and complete.

Table 9: Qualitative Evaluation of E-journal’s Miscellaneous Issues

Criteria

MSQ

JAM

ARI

ARD

DLB

FM

IR

ITD

Miscellaneous Issues

How many indexing/abstracting services index/abstract the journal?

NM

11

NM

4

6

8

6

4

Is the journal listed in Open Journal System? [http://pkp.sfu.ca/?q=ojs]

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Does the journal have any mirror sites?

NM

NM

NM

N

Y

N

N

N

Does the journal have an “electronic mailing list” or ftp facility?

N

Y

N

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

Are RSS Feeds available?

Y

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Is manuscript tracking possible?

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Does the journal review any other journals?

NM

NM

NM

Y

N

N

N

N

Copyright ownership of the articles

Author

-

-

Y

-

-

-

Publisher

Y

Y

Y

-

-

-

-

-

Author and publisher both

-

Y

-

Y

Creative Common License

-

-

-

-

Y

-

Page ranked (by Google Page rank)

6

7

6

7

8

7

7

7

ISI (2005) Impact Factor, if any

4.978

4.339

2.652

NM

NM

NM

0.701

NM

Is there advertising on the front page?

Y

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Does the journal promote product marketing?

N

N

N

N

N

N

Y

N

Is the site is easy to navigate and use?

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Does the journal charge author for publication?

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Appearance of home page – Attractive

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

-

Moderate

Y

-

-

-

-

Y

Low

-

-

-

-

-

What is the level of the audience?

General audience

Y

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

-

Slant toward specific type of librarianship

-

Y

-

-

-

-

-

Y

Keys
I MIS Quarterly  [http://www.misq.org/archivist/home.html#current]
II Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association [www.jamia.org]
III Annual Review of Information Science and Technology [http://www.asis.org/Publications/ARIST/]
1-5 Journal name as indicated in Table 1
1FL 1st followed link
2FL 2nd followed link
3FL 3rd followed link
AC Academic
AD AND logical operator
APA American Psychological Association Style Manual
AV Available
CO Commercial
ED Educational
G Powered by ‘Google’
GO Governmental
HP Home page
IP Individual issue page
MD Main directory of domain
MLA Modern Language Association Style Manual
N No
NA Not available
NE Networked domain
NK Not known
NM Not mentioned
NO NOT logical operator
OO OR logical Operator
OR Organizational
PR Personal
S Scholarly
SD Sub-directory of domain
SV Some cases available
VS Vancouver style
XHT XML and HTML both
Y Yes
YM Yes, but with modifications

Distribution of articles

Table 10 shows the reach of articles over 10 years, based on accesses and downloads. From the table it is clear that overall publication in First Monday ranks highest (680) followed by D-Lib Magazine (502), Ariadne (316), Information Research (225), and Information Technology and Disabilities (105). Ariadne ranks first in the number of articles per issue (6-7 articles /issue) followed by Information Research (6 articles/issue), First Monday (5 – 6 articles/issue), Information Technology and Disabilities (5-6 articles/issue), and D-Lib (4-5 articles/ issue). There is a steady increase in articles for all five journals together, from 130 in 1996 to 242 in 2005. During the last 10 years the highest number of articles (242) was in 2005 followed by 2003 (210) and 2004 (207). The total number of scholarly articles during the last 10 years is 1848—in 326 issues with an average of 5-6 articles per issue. The Web sites of the two of the three non-OA journals (JAMIS is the exception)do not provide links to their archives or back issues, so it was not possible to compare the total publication of non-OA journals to OA journals.

The distribution of articles in individual journals per year is in Table 5.

Table 10: Distribution of Article of e-journals

Name of the journal

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Total

Avg

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

I

A

Ariadne

6

24

6

42

6

34

4

26

4

25

4

39

4

33

4

30

4

30

4

33

46

316

6.80

D-Lib

11

52

11

56

11

51

11

52

11

48

11

45

11

49

11

52

11

39

11

55

110

502

4.56

First Monday

6

27

12

50

12

52

12

50

12

60

12

68

12

80

12

76

12

82

12

135

114

680

5.90

Information Research *

4

14

4

25

4

16

4

23

4

30

4

28

4

22

4

37

4

39

2

11

38

245

6.40

Information Technology and Disabilities

3

13

2

09

2

15

2

10

1

08

1

3

2

07

2

15

2

17

1

08

18

105

5.80

30

130

35

182

35

168

33

161

32

171

32

183

33

191

33

210

33

207

30

242

326

1848

5.66

* - A non-calenderic journal, Total articles indicate total publication of that year.

I– Total issue of the years, A– Total Articles of the year

CONCLUSION

The research question was whether e-contents of LIS open access e-journals are complete and comparable with non-OA journals. The data shows that OA journals are comparable. Over the last 10 years OA e-journals in LIS have published a considerable number of articles, and they are the equivalent of any price-based electronic or print journal. This increasing number of articles indicates that scholars are now more interested in publishing in open access journals—which suggests a bright future for OA journals. The scholarly contents of these e-journals allow readers of open access journals to understand the current research trends in LIS and developments in their field. Finally, OA journals can provide archives of back issues, quick retrieval, and metadata that allows custom designed search engines to improve scholarship today.

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APPENDIX: A

List of Web sites (Retrieved April 02, 2005)

Sr. No.

Name of the Web site

Web address

Remarks

1

Librarians’ Index to Internet

http://lii.org

An web site providing criteria for evaluating Internet resources.

2

Critical Evaluation of Resources

http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Evaluation.html

A unique web site from UC Berkley Library.

3

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources

http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html

An article by Susan Beck

4

Evaluating Information found on the Internet

http://www.library.jhu.edu/researchhelp/general/evaluating/

A thoughtful guide to evaluating web and other Internet resources for scholarly purposes, from John Hopkins University Library

5

Critically Analyzing Information Sources

http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/research/skill26.htm

A quick guide to help you determine the relevance and authority of a resource