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Oxford Journals

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Preserving and improving access to our journal archives, current content, and research services

By Richard Gedye

The future of scholarly journals publishing is increasingly an electronic one. Trends in the past two years show that scientists are reading 44 per cent more articles per month, with most electronic access coming from library subscriptions. More and more journals have electronic content available, and the increased accessibility to this content through libraries has led to a soaring growth in online subscriptions. This rise is expected to continue in 2005.

The online medium is an increasingly attractive environment for STM publishing. Advanced production technologies are allowing articles to be published online as little as one week after submission from authors, while the increased pressure on librarians to provide extended and easily accessible content, despite increasingly constrained budgets, makes it ever more likely that quality scholarly research will be searched for, discovered, and retrieved electronically rather than in print.

The dominance of the online platform for reading articles is not just a librarian-driven force either: readers are increasingly turning to online content. In turn, they have come to expect more content to be available online: not just current articles, or articles that were 'born digital', but also historical content, that previously would have only been accessible through a library's print archive.

Where archiving has traditionally been predominantly the librarian's or archivist's activity, many publishers are now realising that they too have a role in preserving scholarly research for future generations. Virtually every scholarly publisher has now begun archiving some of their journal content, in an effort to create a permanent safeguard for research.

Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press (OUP), is currently in the process of digitising its entire collection of journals back issues.

Being part of the world's largest university press, and part of the University of Oxford, we aspire to make quality research as widely and easily available as possible to our partners, the research community. As part of our strategy to achieve this, we are working to ensure permanent electronic accessibility to all our journal content.

The Oxford Journals Digital Archive

The Oxford Journals Digital Archive will be a collection housing high quality scholarly research dating back as far as 1829. With 143 journals in the collection, the archive will include an estimated four million digital article pages. It will enable users to search for and access an extensive collection, including previously hard-to-find articles, more quickly and effectively.

The archive will offer both librarians and readers a unique and valuable collection. Our journals include many of the world's most highly-cited, prestigious titles in both the STM and Social Science/Humanities sectors. The Oxford Journals Digital Archive will include all back content from volume 1 issue 1 of each journal to the end of 1995.

It will be released as a series of five back file collections by subject area: Humanities; Science; Medicine; Law; and Social Science. The first collection to be published will be the Humanities archive, with an expected launch on July 1st 2005.

The first STM collection to become available is expected to be Medicine, later in the year. We anticipate that the entire collection will be available online via HighWire Press from January 2006.

The collection will be available on annual subscription, or as an outright purchase, either for local loading or via remote access from the Oxford Journals server.

Special discounts on advance purchase are now available. For more details contact Linda Hann (linda.hann@oupjournals.org).

Into the future?

Oxford Journals continues to achieve its objectives of fostering excellence in research, scholarship, and education by investing in and experimenting with new business models, including a number of different open access models.

From July we are launching an optional author-pays model, Oxford Open, enabling authors to make their research available for free online. Additionally we are experimenting with other open access models: our flagship journal, Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) has been fully open access since January 2005, while the Journal of Experimental Botany and Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCam) are both trialling alternative models.

Our experimentation will continue and the results of these experiments will be closely studied and shared with our author, reader, and library stakeholders.

Whenever a model proves both economically viable and effective at serving the research and preservation needs of our target communities, we will work to develop it further. In so doing, we will continue to preserve and improve access to all of our journal content, both current and archival, to ensure that our readers continue to enjoy a productive and satisfying experience in their search for scholarly information.

Richard Gedye is sales and marketing director at Oxford Journals.

contact details

Mithu Mukherjee
Email: mithu.mukherjee@oupjournals.org
Tel: +44 (0)1865 354471
Fax +44 (0)1865 353568
Web: www.oupjournals.org