Thanks to the Web, we've gone from an era of print books and journals to the idea that "If it's not online, it doesn't exist." Who can ignore users' expectations for desktop access to much of the world's most important literature? The need to address rising user expectations, continual technological developments, and powerful new standards means every econtent provider in the library market can gain insights directed to journal publishers.
While most scientific, technical, and medical (STM) publishers make their work available online, the majority of journal publishers do not. In keeping with the 80/20 rule, the largest publishers that went electronic in the first wave are now also converting their journal backfiles and bringing them online. The second wave consists of mid-sized and smaller publishers—mostly in the social sciences and humanities—that are seeking cost effective solutions for managing journals on their Web site or delivering their content to libraries.
Yet for better or worse, publishers selecting a service provider today have many options and capabilities at their disposal that weren't available during the first generation. Because of the rapidly changing landscape, publishers should reassess their ejournal delivery method to evaluate new opportunities every two to three years.
Undoubtedly, Net-nascent publishers of print journals need help navigating the options and opportunities today's epublishing provides. So, in response to clients of ours coming to us seeking to begin epublishing or to select a different outsourced service, we invested six months identifying and researching the nine services covered in this article. We began by examining Web sites and searching the literature, and advanced to email surveys and in-depth phone interviews with company executives. Collectively we label this group "ejournal host services."
Ejournal hosting companies provide a platform that allows users to search, browse, read , forward, print, and download articles from a publisher's Web site or from a branded site that aggregates journals from many publishers in one searchable database. The companies included in this article provide support to a broad range of publishers.
A look into the history and origin of the current major players offers insights into their strengths and market orientation:
• AIP Scitation: started as a platform for society publishers.
• Allen Press: started as a press and partnered in creating the service for BioOne.
• Atypon: designed the software for HighWire, Blackwell's Synergy, and CrossRef.
• Extenza e-Publishing Services: launched by Swets as a new service.
• HighWire Press: began with selected titles in life sciences and medicine by societies
• Ingenta: had its own service and bought Catchword.
• MetaPress: recently launched as a service by EBSCO.
Two academic research libraries have launched their own ejournal publishing initiatives in specific niches: Project Euclid at Cornell University focuses on nonprofit publications in math and statistics and Project MUSE at John Hopkins University Press focuses predominantly on university press titles.
Journal editors and societies can also work with large publishers that provide complete support for both print and electronic publishing, such as Blackwell's Synergy, Elsevier's Science Direct, and Kluwer Online.