Visitors to the Pediatrics Web site will notice a new feature: Early Release articles. Beginning this month, we will publish some articles online in advance of the issue in which the articles will ultimately appear. For example, articles that appear in the Early Release section of the Web site in October will ultimately be published in the November issue of the journal. Articles appearing in Early Release in November will ultimately be found in the December issue of Pediatrics. This new feature, combined with the journal’s recent adoption of a Web-based manuscript submission and review system, is designed to provide readers with more timely information and authors with faster publication.1
To start, articles from the Electronic Pages section of the journal will be released early whenever possible. Because articles in the Electronic Pages are only tied to a print issue by their abstract, this seemed a natural evolution.2 Although it may not be possible to publish all Electronic Pages articles early (some articles pose typesetting and copyediting challenges, and some authors turn around proofs faster than others), we will try to do so whenever possible. In the future, we plan to expand Early Release to include articles from other sections of Pediatrics as our production schedule and editorial calendar allow.
A number of other journals, particularly those in the physical and biological sciences, release articles within a few days of acceptance. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, for example, posts PDF files of manuscripts in its Papers in Press section the day that they are accepted.3 This practice allows articles to be disseminated months in advance of the issue in which the articles will reside, speeding the communication of scientific inquiry as fast as is possible while still maintaining the imprimatur of the peer-review process. We considered this practice for Pediatrics but determined that it would not be responsible for a journal publishing clinically relevant information. Although there is little at risk beyond an embarrassed author if an error appears in a chemistry paper, Pediatrics manuscripts often contain dosage recommendations and other information that, if incorrect, could put patients at risk. We therefore determined that Pediatrics could not responsibly publish articles that have not been carefully copyedited by a professional editor and proofread by the paper’s author(s).
An article appearing in the Early Release section of the Pediatrics Web site will be identical to the final version of the article in every way except for page numbers. Early Release articles will not contain page numbers, because the issue in which the articles will ultimately reside will not have been paginated at the time of release. Early Release articles will be copyedited, typeset, and proofread by the paper’s corresponding author. They will appear in both HTML and PDF formats, as with any article in the online edition of Pediatrics. Furthermore, Early Release articles will be indexed in PubMed/Medline within days of release.
In preparation for Early Release, Pediatrics has begun assigning digital object identifiers (DOIs) to all articles. DOIs are unique numbers that enable information to be located on the World Wide Web.4 The DOI is a stable linking mechanism that will both direct readers to the Early Release article’s location on the Web and redirect readers to the final, paginated version when it is published. Visitors to the journal’s Web site or those performing a search through PubMed, HighWire, Google, or some other mechanism will not need to do anything differently; the DOI operates behind the scenes.
However, because Early Release articles will not contain page numbers, authors wishing to cite them will need to include DOIs in their citations. The DOI will be displayed in both the print and electronic version of all Pediatrics articles for this purpose. For example, the DOI for this commentary (10.1542/peds.2004–1820) can be located among the footnotes at the bottom of the first column. If this article were released early (let’s pretend it was published on September 15, 2004), then the citation to the Early Release version of this article would look like this:
Clarke MT, Lucey JF. Early release of articles in Pediatrics: accelerating the dissemination of scientific inquiry. Pediatrics. 2004;114. Published online 15 September 2004, doi:10.1542/peds.2004-1820
After the final version of the article is published, those wishing to cite it should simply use a traditional citation, relying on volume and page numbers (optionally, the DOI can be appended to any citation, even citations to final versions of articles). The Early Release version of the article will be removed from the Web site when the final version is published. All links to the Early Release version will be redirected to the final version of the article.
We hope this new feature serves both our readers and authors well and ask for your patience while we work through any initial difficulties that present themselves.DOI, digital object identifier
- ↵Clarke MT, Lucey JF. From paper to Web-based submission: the evolution of Pediatrics’ submission and review [commentary]. Pediatrics.2003;112 :1413– 1414
- ↵Anderson K, Lucey JF. Pediatrics electronic pages: looking back and looking ahead. Pediatrics.1998;102 :124– 128.
- ↵Journal of Biological Chemistry Papers in Press. Available at: www.jbc.org/pips/pips.0.shtml. Accessed August 18, 2004
- Copyright © 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics