Characteristics Shared by the Scientific Electronic Journals of Latin America and the Caribbean

Córdoba, Saray and Coto-Solano, Rolando Characteristics Shared by the Scientific Electronic Journals of Latin America and the Caribbean., 2008 . In ELPUB 2008 International Conference on Electronic Publishing, Toronto (Canada), June, 2008. [Conference paper]


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English abstract

Our objective is to analyze the use that Latin American peer-reviewed journals make of the tools and opportunities provided by electronic publishing, particularly of those that would make them evolve to be more than “mere photocopies” of their printed counterparts. While doing these, we also set out to discover if there were any Latin American journals that use these technologies in an effective way, comparable to the most innovative journals in existence. We extracted a sample of 125 journals from the LATINDEX – Regional System of Scientific Journals of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal – electronic resources index, and compared along five dimensions: (1) Non-linearity, (2) use of multimedia, (3) linking to external resources (“multiple use”), (4) interactivity, and (5) use of metadata, search engines, and other added resources. We have found that very few articles in these journals (14%) used non-linear links to navigate between different sections of the article. Almost no journals (3%) featured multimedia contents. About one in every four articles (26%) published in the journals analyzed had their references or bibliographic items enriched by links that connected to the original documents quoted by the author. The most common form of interaction was user↔journal, in the form of question forms (17% of journals) and new issue warnings (17% of journals). Some, however (5%) had user↔user interaction, offering forums and response to published articles by the readership. About 35% of the journals have metadata within their pages, and 50% offer search engines to their users. One of the most pressing problems for these journals it the wrong use of rather simple technologies such as linking: 49% of the external resource links were mismarked in some way, with a full 24% being mismarked by spelling or layout mistakes. Latin American journals still present a number of serious limitations when using electronic resources and techniques, with text being overwhelmingly linear and underlinked, e-mail to the editors being the main means of contact, and multimedia as a scarce commodity. We selected a small sample of journals from other regions of the world, and found that they offer significantly more nonlinearity (p = 0.005 0.1), interactive features (p = 0.005 0.1), use of multimedia (p = 0.04 0.1) and linking to external documents (p = 0.007 0.1). While these are the current characteristics of Latin American journals, a number of very notable exceptions speak volumes of the potential of these technologies to improve the quality of Latin American scholarly publishing.

Item type: Conference paper
Keywords: Electronic journals; scholarly journals; Latin America; serials quality criteria; LATINDEX
Subjects: E. Publishing and legal issues. > EB. Printing, electronic publishing, broadcasting.
B. Information use and sociology of information. > BI. User interfaces, usability.
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HN. e-journals.
I. Information treatment for information services > IE. Data and metadata structures.
I. Information treatment for information services > IF. Information transfer: protocols, formats, techniques.
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HH. Audio-visual, Multimedia.
I. Information treatment for information services > IG. Information presentation: hypertext, hypermedia.
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HQ. Web pages.
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HI. Electronic Media.
Depositing user: Saray Córdoba
Date deposited: 10 Jul 2008
Last modified: 14 Dec 2012 21:01


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