Friday, October 19, 2012

Journal Page Numbers are Disappearing

The UK-based Royal Society is dropping page numbers from its journal articles as it goes to the continuous publication model. This includes some of the oldest academic journals in existence.

I expect this trend to spread across academic publishing. The current situation with articles languishing in "online first" or "Articles in press" sections of journals for months or years (as in the example of my recent paper in Journal of Economic Surveys) before being included in a formal journal issue and being given a full citation is silly. I've read that journals do this to try to game citation impact factors, but I'm skeptical of that. It seems just to be conservatism to stick to the print production model when most access is now online.

Of course, some journals like Journal of Geophysical Research have been publishing articles with just article identifiers for more than a decade now and others like PLoS ONE started as pure online journals without page numbers.

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