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Inderscience and JournalTOCs agree to develop a Joint Industry Project (JIP)

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Inderscience Publishers, a SMT publisher of over 340 peer-reviewed international journals have awarded funding to the Institute for Computer Based Learning (ICBL) at Heriot Watt University for an initial period of five months to create a prototype of a new XML-first workflow technology to produce scholarly output in a variety of digital market channel ready forms, in particular current-awareness oriented reusable formats. The project will use the new prototype to demonstrate a smart personalised current-awareness web interface and to trial a suitable open licence policy for the RSS feeds produced by scholarly publishers.

Joint Industry Projects (JIP) offer a route for JournalTOCs to carry out expensive research and development of proof of concepts and prototypes by spreading the risk and costs over ICBL and its industrial partners. A JIP also provides the JournalTOCs Team with the opportunity of working within a real industrial environmental.

This new JIP, codenamed X-PARC, will continue a synergistic partnership initiated in 2003 with scholarly publishers when ICBL was awarded funding from the JISC PALS Metadata and Interoperability Programme (phase 1). The partnerships have contributed significantly to the development of research projects and the creation of services at ICBL.

ICBL and Inderscience Publishers have worked together in the past in the following projects:

Those projects have provided ICBL with first-hand insight of scholarly publishing experience and their challenges within the current digital environment. They also have enabled us to study and develop innovative solutions for the demands of academics and researchers for intuitive and efficient information discovery systems to access content published by scholarly publishers.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

March 10th, 2012 at 11:39 am

Most Followed Open Access Journals

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This ranking presents the Open Access (OA) journals that have attracted the largest number of followers among JournalTOCs community of users in 2011. Only the top 30 most followed OA journals are included and compared in this list. An OA journal is a scholarly journal that does not charge readers for reading and using the full-text of its articles.

 NF   Title Publisher FPP     SSS JIF
156 D-Lib Magazine CNRI Free CS   —
  84 J. of Information Literacy Loughborough U. Library Free OJS   —
  66 J. of Digital Information Texas AM U. Libraries Free OJS   —
  63 J of Library and Info. Science Nat. Taiwan Normal U. Free OJS   —
  63 J. of Library Innovation WNYLRC Free OJS   —
  58 College and Research Libraries ALA Free CS   —
  51 Communications in Info. Literacy CIL free OJS   —
  50 Library and Info. Research CILIP N/A N/A   —
  50 Future Internet MDPI $570 CS   —
  50 Ariadne Magazine UKOLN free N/A   —
  48 Annals of Library & Info. Studies NISCAIR free DSpace   —
  45 Evidence Based Library and Info. Practice U. of Alberta Learning Services free OJS   —
  38 Code4Lib Journal Code4lib free Email   —
  36 PLoS ONE PLoS $1350 EMS   4.41
  36 Int. J. of Legal Information Int. Assoc. of Law Libraries free Email   —
  35 PLoS Biology PLoS $2900 EMS 12.47
  32 BMC Cell Biology Biomed Central Ltd. $1845 CS   2.46
  32 Information MDPI $260 CS   —
  30 New Knowledge Environments University of Victoria Free OJS   —
  27 BMC Public Health Biomed Central Ltd. $1845 CS   2.36
  26 Advances in Environmental Sciences Bioflux Society $200 CS   —
  26 J. of Electronic Publishing, The MPublishing Free Email   —
  26 Int. J. of Digital Curation UKOLN Free OJS   —
  24 BMC Bioinformatics Biomed Central Ltd. $1845 CS   3.03
  24 Info. Technologies & Int. Development Georgia Inst. of Technology Free OJS   —
  22 Obstetrics and Gynecology Int. Hindawi Publishing Corp. $1000 CS   —
  21 Computational Linguistics MIT Press Free OJS   2.97
  21 First Monday U. of Illinois at Chicago U. Free OJS   —
  17 J. of Communications Academy Publisher $470 EDAS   —
  15 JIPITEC Digital Peer Publishing Free Email   —
   CC BY 2.0 JournalTOCs Dec.2011 

NF: Number of followers
FPP: Fee paid by the author to publish a paper
SSS: Submissions System software
JIF: Journal Impact Factor (as reported by the publisher for 2010)
CS: Commercial or proprietary online system
OJS: Open Journal System
EMS: Editorial Manager from Aries System
EDAS: Commercial conference submissions system
U: University


  • Do University-based OA journals have a good chance to be regarded as first-class and reliable journals?
    The answer could be “yes” if we consider that 30% of these top 30 OA journals are University-based.
  • Does it matter for this rank who is the publisher?
    All but one of these top 30 OA journals are published by established national corporations, professional associations, prestigious non-profit publishers or universities. Only a few of the OA journals published by commercial publishers have so far attracted the interest of JournalTOCs users. So, it seems that it does matter who the publisher is.
  • Is OJS really the “submissions system of OA journals”?
    Well, 35% of these journals use the Open Source submissions system OJS.
  • Are the OA journals with no fee for the authors attracting the largest number of citations?
    Probably we cannot get a clear answer to this question from the above ranking. What we can see is that PLoS Biology is the OA journal with the highest fee for authors ($2900.00 USD) but also with the highest known citation factor (JIF=12.47)
  • Are publishers of OA journals aware of the significance of JIF?
    Some publishers of OA journals were not aware of JIF or didn’t consider it to be important for their publications. In fact the publishers of most of the OA journals included in this list weren’t concerned about JIFs. An editor told us “JIF is not relevant [for our journal] as it is not a WoS journal. It is an OA journal already indexed in the DOAJ.”
  • Why is it that 19 out of these top 30 OA journals are from the Library and Information Sciences discipline?
    40% of registered users of JournalTOCs are librarians or professionals working in libraries of universities or research centres. This may explain the large number of library and information related journals in this ranking. The ranking doesn’t include the journals being followed by non-registered users.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

December 19th, 2011 at 9:37 am

Posted in Applications

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Percentage of scholarly publishers that have adopted the Recommendations on RSS Feeds

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It is now two years since the ticTOCs Best Practice Recommendation group, headed by CrossRef and consisting of members from Talis, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press and Heriot-Watt University; published the “Recommendations on RSS Feeds for Scholarly Publishers.”

RSS feeds are designed to be aggregated and reused by other services and software applications. In general RSS feeds should always be created with this in mind. The Recommendations are in full agreement with this principle.

Back in 2009, two practices were noticed by the ticTOCs Project:

  1. there was a wide variation amongst the journal TOC RSS feeds produced by scholarly publishers, and
  2. in most of the cases the feeds’ content had very limited information on the articles, such as uniquely the title and the link to the article’s webpage.

Variations in the way publisher implement RSS feeds basically preclude the consistent and automated aggregation of feeds. At the same time, having little content to offer, limit the reusability and value of feeds for other services that want to create interesting applications by combining the feeds. The Recommendations were created to help publishers avoid the inconveniences created by those two practices, and to advocate good practice in the production and provision of TOC RSS feeds for scholarly journals.

There are signs that the Recommendations are gradually being embraced to a certain extent, but how many scholarly publishers have really implemented the Recommendations in their journal TOC RSS feeds? There’s no way to get an exact number, but we can get a good idea of the progress being made by taking a look at the number of journals that are using the four RSS 1.0 modules recommended by the group, namely Admin, Content, Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

Today we have examined the RSS feeds of the journals collected by JournalTOCs to get an approximate picture of how many publishers are making the move. Currently 17,112 journals from 917 publishers are being indexed by JournalTOCs.

Interestingly no journal uses the Admin module in their RSS feeds. Only a few hundreds of subscription journals make use of the Content module. However those two modules are not particularly relevant from the re-usability perspective (the Admin module is intended to be used by consumers of a feed to provide feedback on errors encountered in the feed and the Content module is used to include formatted HTML marked up content for browsers.) The modules that really can give us a good indication of the Recommendations’ uptake are the Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

8,025 journals are using Dublin Core, PRISM or both modules; but only 3,673 of those journals are using both modules.

If we put the figures from the number of publishers’ perspective, 425 publishers are using Dublin Core, PRISM or both modules; and 295 of them use both Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

Regarding Open Access Journals, there are 2,660 Open Access journals in JournalTOCs, and 708 of them have implemented either the Dublin Core or the PRISM module; but only 288 of Open Access journals use both Dublin Core and PRISM modules.

Publishers and journals are using Dublin Core and PRISM modules

In conclusion: There is still a long way to go. Only 31% of the publishers are using the two main modules and in some extend have adopted the Recommendations. This is equivalent to 22% of the journals. To make a real progress two things should happen: (1) Elsevier, Springer-Verlag and Taylor and Francis together publish over 6,000 journals. A significant step forward will only be made when those three large publishers adopt the Recommendations. (2) An inexplicable low number of Open Access journals have implemented the recommendations. Without proper orientation and guidance, the publishers of OA journals so far haven’t been able to grasp the benefits of adopting best practices and using standard modules for their RSS feeds.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

October 29th, 2011 at 3:01 pm

A scenario in which OPML could have avoided “Page Not Found” errors for TOC RSS feeds

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One of the most frustrating problems in navigating websites is to be presented with a “Page Not Found” webpage.

Page Not Found

This is precisely the scenario that aggregators and discovery systems are facing with the 1,600 journal TOC RSS feeds of Taylor & Francis.

Since Monday 27th June, when Taylor & Francis moved its journals platform from Informaworld to Tandfonline, the previous URLs for all the Taylor & Francis journal TOC RSS feeds are returning the infamous “Page Not Found” webpage. Although we were informed by Taylor & Francis that they have redirects in place for those TOC RSS feeds, the fact is that as today, those TOC RSS URLs are still unable to be redirected to their new web addresses.

This “Page Not Found” problem could have been easily avoided if Taylor & Francis had had an up-to-date OPML file listing the RSS feeds for all their journals. Aggregators, service discovery and individual RSS users would have been able to automatically and immediately update the URLs for the TOC RSS feeds by just consulting the OPML file.

In general OPML allows RSS feed aggregators and indexers to more easily find the TOC RSS feeds exposed from a particular publisher website. OPML is a standard XML file that is used to describe a simple list of RSS feeds that includes the title of the feed, a link to the home page of the feed (e.g. the journal homepage), and a link to the RSS feed itself.

Annual Reviews, Biomed Central Ltd., BMJ Publishing Group, Elsevier, Inderscience Publishers, Institute of Physics (IOP), Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press (OUP) and Érudit are the pioneering publishers that are using OPML files to enable aggregators to dynamically detect any change in the list of journals they publish. When their OPML would get updated, so would the aggregators.

Publishers are therefore recommended to publish OPML documents that list all of the feeds from their websites and in particular for their current issues. Unfortunately publishers that don’t have OPML files listing their current journals are not able to prevent information on their journals from growing stale at the aggregators’ databases.

Unlike RSS feeds, there is no standard way to link to an OPML file from the publisher website. However publishers are advised to put a link to their OPML files on a suitable and freely available webpage. For example Inderscience provides a link to its OPML file here.

As today, JournalTOCs has been able to update the URLs for the TOC RSS feeds of 80% of the journals published by Taylor & Francis.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

July 19th, 2011 at 9:06 pm


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RSS logo Last month all the TOC RSS feeds from both University of California Press (UCAL) and University of Chicago Press (UCPRESS) stopped working. As a consequence, the current content of almost 100 journal TOCs went out of date at JournalTOCs.

UCAL and UCPRESS explained us that since they have recently moved all their journals to JSTOR they were no longer producing their own TOC RSS feeds. So the problem was JSTOR 😉

When we visited JSTOR website we noticed that JSTOR was systematically not producing TOC RSS feeds for any of its hosted publishers! There were some exceptions, but even in those cases, the TOC RSS feeds were not easily available to anyone as the registration of an account was required to be able to request RSS alerts.

Fortunately UCAL, UCPRESS and JSTOR staff were very pro-active and happy to help. After exchanging a few emails and tweets, JSTOR quickly grasped the importance for publishers to have a TOC RSS feed for each of their journals they host. Exactly two weeks ago, John Holm, the JSTOR Technical Support Specialist, told us that TOC RSS functionality was going to be included in JSTOR‘s next platform update, scheduled to take place late this month.

Today, John Muenning, UCPRESS Publishing Technology Manager, advised us that JSTOR has reinstated the TOC RSS feeds for University of Chicago Press journals. We easily found the TOC RSS links for all the journals hosted at JSTOR under “Journal Tracking” on the right rail of the journal pages (TOCs and content) for each title.

Well done JSTOR!

Now JSTOR is systematically producing freely available TOC RSS feeds for all the journals and publishers hosted at its platform.

JournalTOCs harvester has started to detect the new TOCs from UCAL and UCPRESS via JSTOR and we expect that soon their current content will be up-to-date on JournalTOCs again.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

March 23rd, 2011 at 9:34 am