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Electronic journals, also known as ejournals, e-journals, and electronic serials, are scholarly journals or intellectual magazines that can be accessed via electronic transmission. In practice, this means that they are usually published on the Web. They are a specialized form of electronic document: they have the purpose of providing material for academic research and study, and they are formatted approximately like journal articles in traditional printed journals. Being in electronic form, articles sometimes contain metadata that can be entered into specialized databases, such as DOAJ or OACI, as well as the databases and search-engines for the academic discipline concerned.
Some electronic journals are online-only journals; some are online versions of printed journals, and some consist of the online equivalent of a printed journal, but with additional online-only (sometimes video and interactive media) material.
Most commercial journals are subscription-based, or allow pay-per-view access. Many universities subscribe in bulk to packages of electronic journals, so as to provide access to them to their students and faculty. It is generally also possible for individuals to purchase an annual subscription to a journal, via the original publisher.
An increasing number of e-journals are now available as open access journals, requiring no subscription and offering free full-text articles and reviews to all. Individual articles from electronic journals will also be found online for free in an ad-hoc manner: in working paper archives; on personal homepages; and in the collections held in institutional repositories and subject repositories. Some commercial journals do find ways to offer free materials. They may offer their initial issue or issues free, and then charge thereafter. Some give away their book reviews section for free. Others offer the first few pages of each article for free.
Most electronic journals are published in HTML and/or PDF formats, but some are available in only one of the two formats. A small minority publish in DOC, and a few are starting to add MP3 audio. Some early electronic journals were first published in ASCII text, and some informally published ones continue in that format.
- Liblicense-L, the standard international listserv for libraries and publishers on serials licensing, pricing, and supply, hosted by Ann Shumelda Okerson of Yale University.
- ACM format standards for electronic articles
- Carol Tenopir and Donald King, Towards Electronic Journals. Special Libraries Association, 2000. ISBN 0-87111-507-7