On-Line Journal|学会誌・学術印刷全般・学会業務受託など、文化学術の発展に貢献する中西印刷

Academic Journals Now Available On-Line

What is an On-Line Journal

An on-line journal is a journal whose entire contents is accessible to readers over the Internet. Major academic journals in Europe and the US are becoming increasingly available in on-line formats, and there is growing interest in Japan in making journals - especially English-language journals - available on-line. Describing an on-line journal is difficult to do with mere words. More can be learned through an actual visit to an on-line journal web site, such as HighWire (http://highwire.stanford.edu). There you can search for articles from innumerable journals, and view the full contents of the articles contained therein.

There are many advantages to making academic information available on-line. First, on-line journals can be published on the Internet much more quickly than paper-based journals. Because they do not need to be printed and bound, their publication time is much shorter than conventional journals. With the increasingly intense struggle to be the first to produce new information, the more rapid publication of journals is expected and even needed to keep pace with the times.

Some question whether it is appropriate to publish articles only over the Internet without making them available in paper format. Others are concerned that on-line journals are inferior to preprint servers, which are being developed in fields like physics where speed is the top priority. However, since preprint servers automatically disclose submitted articles, they provide no referee. In other words, this is a world where anything, simply by being said, may take on the appearance of having been generally accepted. On-line journals, however, have referees who determine whether or not to publish an article on the server. This allows them to maintain a certain level of quality and authority without sacrificing speed. Today's electronic journals are usually available in printed form either at the same time as or shortly after their electronic counterparts. In this sense, they are no different from their paper-based predecessors.

For readers, on-line journals offer outstanding convenience when it comes to content searching. It goes without saying that the various searching tools available over the Internet offer unprecedented convenience, but computers can also be used effectively to search for academic articles. It is very difficult to use the existing journal searching framework to find particular articles from among the many that exist because the search range is either too narrow or too poad. On-line journals, however, allow computer users to perform a keyword search to find related articles from journals all over the world.

Citation Links

One notable advantage of on-line journals is that they can offer links to cited references to facilitate searching. Users can simply click on the appropriate citation number from the bibliography located at the end of an article to view the content of the document cited. The ability to search reference works is the most convenient merit of on-line journals. A reader of a conventional printed journal who wants to refer to the text of a cited work often does not have access to that work. They might find the citation if it is contained in a journal they happen to have on hand, but otherwise they have to go to great lengths to either request a copy of the citation from the author or to find the material at a nearby university. Even if the cited work is owned by the reader, they may not be able to find it if their own bookshelves are not well organized. Citations can be referenced immediately in an on-line journal, however. It is no exaggeration to say that Internet hyperlinks were originally created precisely to serve the purpose of pointing users to necessary reference materials.

Links to citations are of great significance in terms of promoting the more widespread creation of on-line journals. That is, links can only be provided to sources that are available on-line and cannot be provided to sources that are not yet available on-line. Because citation links will increase the likelihood that a reference work will be ''discovered,'' works that are not available on-line and that are thus hidden from this citation link network will be little better off than unpublished works. It is precisely for this reason that the academic journals in the US and Europe are proceeding rapidly toward on-line availability.

Our Business

First we are good at academic printing, especially old Japanese texts. As in English, and other Languages,
Old Japanese was very different from modern Japanese. Although the demand for old Japanese text is very few,
they are needed in academic fields. We are experienced printers of old Japanese.
Simultaneously we are accustomed to Chinese characters. Though Many Chinese characters are used in modern
Japanese text, original Chinese characters are also different from modern Japanese usage of Chinese character.
A detailed explanation will be on a later part.

And Mathematical language is also a strong point. Moreover we are good at English printing.

Of course Most of the US and UK printers are better at English printing than us., Chinese printers are better at
Chinese printing than us. But Japanese, Chinese, English, all of them can be printed in our factory. It is our
strongest point.
Now we are accustomed to the electronic publishing. We were partner of UK’s Oxford University Press. In 1999
we joined in partnership with Oxford, and introduced on-line journal techniques. May be we are the most
experienced On-line journal company in Japan.

This is traditional but innovative Nakanishi printing, as you can see on the next photo.

On-line Journals in Japan and Around the World

The world's on-line journals today are primarily being developed by academic publishing companies. Given the many benefits of on-line journals, these publishers expect the future role of publishing companies to shift from paper-based to digital formats, and are thus becoming very active in this field. Generally speaking, publishers are digitizing their paper-based journals, making them available via their own servers, and providing links between journals. Typical examples of such efforts are Blackwell's SYNERGY and Elsevire's Science Direct. Among non-commercial publishers, by contrast, are the well-known activities of the HighWire Consortium centered around Stanford University.

Today, on-line journal servers are competing over who can provide the most links to cited sources. On-line journal server hosts are forming alliances and trying to lure influential journals to their servers. It is possible to provide links to other companies' servers, but it is easier in terms of copyrights and other issues for hosts to provide links to on-line journals offered on their own servers. Also, having influential journals that have a high citation rate helps improve the recognition rate of the entire server. In this sense, on-line journals may prove to be a hotly contested arena that can make or peak a publishing company in the 21st century.

In Japan, the shift toward journal digitalization is happening at a more sluggish pace, perhaps because publishing companies are not taking the lead in producing academic journals. Nonetheless, stimulated by European and American movements, there not only have been examples like Plant and Cell Physiology, a journal put on-line by European and American academic publishers which will be discussed below, but also many examples of academic societies that maintain their own servers. The National Institute of Informatics (www.nacsis.http://ac.jp/olj/index.html, formerly the National Center for Science Information Systems) has been working to establish a database of images of academic journals that can serve as a digital lipary. Even the Japan Science and Technology Corporation (www.jstage.jst.go.jp/ja/), an affiliated organization of the Science and Technology Agency, operates a server on which it has created and made on-line journals available using data from various academic societies and associations. (As of April 2001, both of these will be affiliated with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Integration is under consideration.)

Like their European and American counterparts, these publicly offered on-line journal servers also offer a host of cited reference links. If links to worldwide on-line journals can also be added, they will make a significant contribution to introducing reference materials from Japan to the rest of the world.

Putting Plant and Cell Physiology On-Line

The digitization of journals poses a life-and-death problem for printing companies. Printing companies make a living by carving out their own cultural niche, and putting the research and presentations from various researchers and professors into book and journal formats. In the Internet age, however, some might feel that such services are becoming obsolete. While these companies continue to lean on the side of printed media, they would do well to take the plunge into the on-line journal business rather than to continue trying to swim upstream against this trend. Just as typeface printing gave way to computer printing, this is not a trend they will be able to resist. Recognizing this, our company has spent the last several years providing a service of offering academic journal abstracts on-line, and has conducted research on on-line journals.

Over the course of our research, we learned that Plant and Cell Physiology, an English-language academic journal that we have long been printing, was looking into worldwide distribution and digitalization via Oxford University Press in England. If we don't make efforts to keep up with these changing times, we will lose work to our competitors overseas. We quickly made direct contact with Oxford University Press and after various negotiations decided in September 1999 to form an alliance with them in the area of offering on-line journals. They would provide us with the know-how we need for creating on-line versions of journals, and we would find English-language journals in Japan that would be suitable for digitization and then sell them to the world.

The primary difficulty in preparing on-line journals is that paper-based versions and on-line versions are both being created simultaneously. As was mentioned earlier, creating an on-line journal does not mean a complete elimination of paper-based formats. Instead, the paper-based and on-line versions have to be created and distributed simultaneously. This means double the work since the typesetting process has to be done independently for each format. On-line journal typesetting and editing techniques are simply techniques for taking maximum advantage of the areas that overlap with paper-based preparation and figuring out how to most efficiently create both versions. Even the citation links must be added manually, one-by-one, resulting in reduced efficiency. Technologies need to be developed for automatically inserting links from previously published article databases.

About a year after we formed this alliance, I went to England and invited engineers from England to Japan to help us learn these technologies. At first it was very difficult to adapt the software I pought back from England to a Japanese language computing environment, and I had to send questions via e-mail to our pitish partners almost every day. Fortunately, the questions I sent in the evening Japan-time were addressed by the following morning. By then not only would the matter have been looked into, but revised software would have already been sent to me over the Internet. Thanks to the time difference, our pitish counterparts were just getting started on their workdays as we in Japan were ending ours.

Plant and Cell Physiology made it into cyberspace without incident, and editions dating from July 2000 are now available on-line (http://highwire.stanford.edu, currently under construction). Several other journals from Oxford University Press are also being prepared for on-line availability, and will be accessible starting next year. Efforts to use the Japan Science and Technology Corporation's J-STAGE technologies to make Japanese-language journals available on-line are also underway, and we have begun to explore this arena as well. The 21st century will undoubtedly see the continued rise of on-line journal publication.

Hidehiko Nakanishi Vice President Nakanishi Printing Co., Ltd. (First appeared in the University of Tokyo Press publication UP, Vol. 30:1, pp. 27-31.)