Monday, 21 July 2008

Electronic Journals

Electronic journals (e-journals) are becoming increasingly popular in the Health Sciences, including Dentistry. Not all e-journals have the same policies on publishing and access. A common misconception about e-journals is that they are all free because you see them online. This is certainly not the case and in many occasions, institutions pay large sums to purchase titles and to maintain 24-hour access for their users. Institutions and publishers spend a great amount of time and money negotiating access to e-journals in detailed legal documents called licensing agreements. Researchers have to be aware of these issues, not only as users but also as authors.

When signing publication agreements, it is crucial to read the fine print, as in many occasions you are signing away the right to distribution of that article and are subject to an embargo period. This means that you cannot always post your article puclic websites or distribute it to other individuals, as it would be an infringement to copyright law. For more information on Canadian copyright and access laws please visit CIPO or read the NIH Public Access Policy page.

An excellent alternative to costly e-journals is Open Access Journals (OAJs), which provide a platform for researchers to publish their work without having to pay publishing fees or readers paying subscriptions fees.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a website that provides lists of all open access journals available. You can browse by subject, including Dentistry. Another common misconception is that free open access journals are not peer-reviewed or do not exercise quality control as other journals. This assumption is false, as many open access journals have very strict peer reviewing policies. The DOAJ's FAQ is a good starting point to learn more about the facts and benefits about using open access. Here are some University of Toronto Open Access initiatives

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