Technology and changing habits have called into question the nature of the traditional humanities journal — a printed assembly of peer-reviewed articles, reviews, and notes and queries offered by subscription. "What we shared until recently was a sense that the academic journal appeared between covers as a deliberately constructed series of articles, sometimes on a common theme," Ms. Wheeler observed.
A journal started today, however, is likely to be online-only and open access [hanh?]. And more and more readers now discover bits and pieces of any journal's content — an article here, a book review there — through electronic databases and aggregators like
JStor, Project Muse, and Ebsco.
Editors of well-established humanities journals have mixed feelings about the changes.
More readers, more dollars: That makes editors happy. But they worry about how to carry the idea of a journal as an organized whole over into the digital world. "The journal itself becomes invisible to the end-user," Ms. Wheeler told her audience. Even as access to its content increases, "the identity of the journal is often lost."
"It's hard for me to imagine The Journal of American History becoming entirely digital anytime in the near future." — Edward T. Linenthal, editor
Labels: jstor, jstor syndrome, open access, open systems