Which is Better: Digital Or Print Journal?

impactio blog Which is Better: Digital Or Print Journal?

In a world where almost everything is digital, print journals are holding their own against extinction. When it comes to publishing their findings, researchers must choose between publishing in print or digital journals.

There are only a few publishers that use both print and digital journals due to increasing publication costs. Both options have their own positives and drawbacks. Does one type of publication have a leg up on the other? Do readers prefer digital or print journals?

Before debating if print or digital is better, one must take a moment to appreciate how far research publication has come since its humble beginning.  

A General History of Scientific Publishing

The British science Fellowship known as The Royal Society of London was founded in 1660. The Society promotes the use of science to advance humanity. Compiled of the world’s leading scientists, the Royal Society is responsible for the creation of the scientific journal.

The very first scientific journal was published over 350 years ago. The Royal Society published Philosophical Transactions in 1665.

The Royal Society’s members edited and revised submissions of the journal, laying the framework of the peer review process used today.

Philosophical Transactions is still in publication 300+ years later, though in a vastly different format than its founders ever imagined.

In 2017, the entire archive dating back to 1665 was digitized online. Internet users can peruse the archives for free.

The Onset of Digital Resource Journals and Open Access Publishing

Free access to research journals on the internet is a product of open access publishing. Aside from research work under copyright, the majority of research journals are available on the internet without logging into a specific server or system. 

Digital journals can be traced back to the 1980’s and 1990’s when the internet was first gaining popularity. We’re so used to having internet access at the tip of our fingers, it’s difficult to remember the days of dial-up and limited internet access.

Almost everything is digital these days, including a wide range of research journals. While some publications offer print and digital journals, the declining publication industry has caused some publications to choose one or the other.

Should researchers submit their research to digital or print journals? Both have their advantages and drawbacks.

Pros and Cons of Digital Versus Print

Publishing in a print journal or its digital counterpart is a personal decision researchers must make for themselves. Studies show that readers and researchers prefer both digital and print journals for different reasons.

However, statistics find that readers greatly prefer the quality of images in print journals over digitized images.

What are some other pros and cons of the two journal mediums?

Print Journal Pros:

●      Better quality images

●      Easier to read

●      Nostalgia

Print Journal Cons:

●      Only found in libraries

●      Limited space per research article

●      Expensive to publish

Digital Journal Pros:

●      Accessible to anyone, anywhere

●      More often cited in other research

●      Keyword searches improve discoverability

Digital Journal Cons:

●      Images are lower quality

●      Can be difficult to read

●      Contributes to erosion of libraries

Overall, researchers prefer digital journals to increase the visibility of their research work. Citations and sources can easily be hyperlinked in digital journals for easy access.

It’s likely that print journals will eventually be replaced entirely by digital journals.

However You Choose to Print, Follow Your Work’s Influence With Impactio

Getting published in either digital or print journals is an exciting accomplishment. Digital journals may increase your exposure, but there’s another way for your work to gain traction in the science community.

Impactio is America’s leading networking platform for researchers and scholars. Connecting with others in your field builds your reputation and influence. Impaction can help track your work’s influence. Create your profile today to watch your work grow.


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