Do Not Press Print: What Can We Do to Keep the Reader Engaged in Online Use of Journals?

Rick Kopak, Chia-Ning Chiang

Full Text: Video


Whether through pay-per-view, academic and public library license agreements, or through open access readers are finding that more and more of the journals they use are available in digital form.  Yet studies (Standford eJUST, 2002; Tenopir, 2003) report that though online journal systems are extremely useful for retrieval, browsing, and searching, readers persist in showing a preference for reading from printed copies of the journal article.  To many, the affordance offered by paper in actual ‘use’ of the article outweighs any existing capabilities offered by electronic journal systems that facilitate better interaction with the journal information at the screen.

Many online journal systems are making efforts to keep readers’ fingers away from the print button by offering functionality that enables readers to take fuller advantage of features that better leverage the capabilities of an online, networked environment.   PLoS, for example, enables notes, comments, and ratings to be made on the html version of the article.  While reading a HighWire journal article, readers can choose to view related articles within the same journal, or in a different journal.  The Open Journal Systems provides some of the most advanced features, enabling the reader to write comments, view related articles, view related websites, and look-up term definitions from within the article.

This presentation will provide an inventory of features across various platforms as indicative of trends in web-based journal reading system design.  A collection of online journal reading environments will be assessed via content analysis along the dimensions of internal vs external references, degree of interaction enabled, and the private vs. social intention of, for example, annotation or other communication mechanisms.  

This research is directed toward improving the online reading experience of open access journal systems by providing a model for development.  Although not limited to review of open access journal systems, the intention of the research is to provide a framework for the development of more interactive features for use in open access journal reading systems.  The framework will be presented in the context of one open access journal system, PKP’s OJS, of which the researcher is a principle investigator.



journal reading systems; interaction; use;