Journals and the right choice of words

Erik Duval has just blogged about the first issue of IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies.
His blog post is available at http://erikduval.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/ieee-transactions-on-learning-technologies/

I’m glad to see the launch of a new journal in the field of learning technology and very glad to see that the content is going to be Open Access after a 12 month embargo during which it’s only available to subscribers. They’ve got a featured article that looks interesting “Capture, Management, and Utilization of Lifecycle Information for Learning Resources, Lasse Lehmann, Tomas Hildebrandt, Christoph Rensing, Ralf Steinmetz” http://www.computer.org/portal/cms_docs_transactions/transactions/tlt/featured_article/featured.pdf.

<rant> I may just be grumpy because the train strike is making my life difficult but there are two things about this journal (or -to be fair- IEEE’s journal system) that have already managed to frustrate me.

The first is that there is no publicly (non-subscriber) viewable table of contents  – this may be a mix up because its the first issue – but apart from the featured article – I have no idea what’s in this issue.

The second is that the journal has access to PrePrints and Rapidposts.

‘PrePrints are papers accepted for publication in a future issue, but have not been fully edited. Their content may change prior to final publication. RapidPosts are articles that have been accepted for inclusion in a future issue. Content is final as presented, with the exception of pagination.’

This making available of content that is ‘in press’ is great and adds value for subscribers – but please – find a different word!  ‘PrePrint’ – as confusing as it may be as a term – has very strong connections and a lot of established use in Open Access repositories. When I see that word I expect to find something I can access not a subscribers’ login screen.

IEEE login screen

I know this choice of words has nothing to do with the editors but frustrating potential readers isn’t going to incline me to return to the page. </rant>