The Open Journal Project

These pages last updated
1 November 1999

the project
R&D centres and publishers
produced by the project
at conferences and seminars
hosted by or accessible through the project


The Open Journal Project

"Bringing journals alive on the
World Wide Web"

Fast facts

The Open Journal project is effectively closed.
Finding out about it: The work of the project was described at length in the final report and more succinctly in a paper in D-Lib Magazine, and these are good starting points if you want to find out what the project did and what it achieved.
What happens next? The Open Citation Project, also funded by JISC, is extending the work pioneered by the Open Journal project to citation linking in large-scale eprint archives, notably the LANL physics eprint archive. The scope and requirements of citation linking have grown significantly since the Open Journal project began and new developers have emerged. The new project involves all those who are creating the latest and best in linking tools and services.
What was it? An R&D project
Funded by: Electronic Libraries (eLib) programme
Start date: May 1995 End date (funded phase): May 1998
R&D centres: Multimedia Research Group, Southampton University, and Electronic Publishing Research Group, Nottingham University
Other partners: Eleven publishers of primary and secondary journal information. Details
Mission statement: To build a framework for publishing applications enabling journals on the Web to be interlinked in ways which build on the traditional qualities and identities of the journals, and which increases the readers' ability to follow, search and access the literature for themed study and research using the maximum available online resources.
Deliverables: Demonstrator Open Journals for evaluation and selected open access
eLib category: Electronic Journals
Keywords: electronic journals, digital libraries, hypertext linking


The aim of the Open Journal project was to provide a framework for publishing journals in a network environment, on the World Wide Web in particular, such that maximum access to, and from, the publications is ensured. This involved bringing journals produced in html and pdf formats 'alive' with large numbers of hypertext links created with the Distributed Link Service and information mining agents.


Journals and links

The popularity of the Web has accelerated the development of online scholarly journals in the last couple of years. The dominating feature of the Web is the hypertext link. Innovative publishers of Web journals are now adding new features to the online version, and foremost among these features is the use of links. New initiatives to link references in journal papers to the cited article, either in full-text form or to the abstract of the paper in a database, are the first manifestation of this approach.

The Open Journal project worked with publishers in the fields of cognitive science, biology and computer science to explore how this approach can be extended by using links to make explicit other relations between works, and to take users directly from journals to non-journal resources, linking full-text papers to abstracting and indexing databases in the cognitive science example. The essence of an Open Journal is to make resources available not as isolated materials but as cooperating assets within an information delivery environment.

The Distributed Link Service, instead of coding link data within the original documents as in html, stores these data separately in link databases, or linkbases. The link data can be superimposed on a document when it is viewed on the Web. Effectively, the links are added at runtime, appearing as familiar Web 'buttons' within the text. In other words, the page will look like any other Web page, but it may or may not have many more links.

In addition the project explored the impact of linkbases on publishing. In a rich link environment the critical need is for quality links. Links are a means to offer access to selected works, which is what journals do now. One scenario in this analysis is that the published 'journal' will become a set of links.

This page http://journals.ecs.soton.ac.uk/
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Electronic Libraries programme (eLib)

The Open Journal project is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils, as part of its Electronic Libraries (eLib) Programme.


Contact Steve Hitchcock our Liaison Officer


Open Journal Project,
Department of Electronics
& Computer Science,
University of Southampton,
SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: (01703) 594479
Fax: (01703) 592865