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Review: Writing for Electronic Journals

Bernard Cesarone
Electronic journals in scholarly or professional settings continue a tradition of fostering the creation and transmission of scientific and other knowledge that was begun long ago through print journals. Electronic journals provide publishers and readers an opportunity for wider dissemination of knowledge than was previously possible through print publications—a factor that may largely account for the increasing success of electronic journals. Besides this overriding benefit, electronic journals can incorporate features that improve on or go beyond the features that have traditionally been available in print publications. Following some background information on electronic publications, this article discusses issues involved in writing for electronic journals, particularly Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP). Topics discussed include hypertext links, graphics, audio and video, post-publication comments and discussions (for example, via Chat rooms), access to downloadable data files, electronic review, and correction of errors. The article also covers additional notable features of electronic journals—such as provision in other formats, full-text searching, and constant access—and ways to find electronic journals on topics of interest.


Although it might seem that “everybody knows what an electronic journal is,” editors and librarians have not reached consensus in their definitions or classification of electronic periodicals. An early definition (McMillan, 1991) described electronic journals as “any serials produced, published, and distributed. . . via electronic networks such as Bitnet and the Internet.” Later descriptions distinguished between electronic journals available only electronically, and electronic editions of journals available both in print and electronically; and among types of electronic journals, such as online, CD-ROM, and networked journals.

Since the present journal, Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP), is published by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education (ERIC/EECE), it seems fitting to provide an ERIC definition. According to the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors (ERIC Processing and Reference Facility, 1996), electronic journals are “periodicals, usually topical and moderated, that are published and disseminated (sometimes on an irregular schedule) in the form of electronic text or hypertext on computer networks (such as the Internet) or other computerized media (e.g., CD-ROM).”

From these definitions, it is clear that “electronic journal” is still a broad term that encompasses serial publications in several media. We at ERIC/EECE have tried to focus our intentions by calling our new journal an Internet journal. We could have been even a bit more focused by describing it as a Web-based journal. ECRP is an Internet-only or a Web-only journal, without a print counterpart.

this article available at http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v1n1/cesarone.html

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