Electronic and printed
Journals are often published in both printed and electronic formats. However, the advantages of electronic publishing, such as being inexpensive due to not needing a budget for paper and print, has caused the scientific journals to be published only in electronic format. Electronic publishing can have open access or limited access.
Article by article electronic publishing
Some journals might share their articles on their websites as soon as they are ready to be published. For example, all the journals which are published by Biomed Central Publish follow this publishing method. The benefit of this method for the authors is that their article is published without delay and also, they do not have to pay for the printing and binding of the journal. Some publishers publish one issue or one or two volumes all at once, while others do not unless it is requested from them and the expenses are paid. In the electronic method, access might be limited or free.
In some scientific journals, there is a delay between the acceptance of the articles and printing them due to the great number of received articles, which disappoints the authors. To solve this problem, the journal’s website could publish a special issue consisting of those articles that are waiting to be published. These are often the articles that are edited and are under publication; for example, they are waiting because their page numbers have not been decided yet. However, the authors might face some problems. Therefore, using article manuscripts might not be beneficial and cost the scientific journal an extra amount of money.
Furthermore, some authors might not like their article to be accessible to the public before it is formally published. For example, if a university or a research center has funded the research and the researches has a commitment to mention them. The authors might also worry about their articles being published before the volume or the issue of the scientific journal is decided. Moreover, in this method, the digital objective index (DOI) for each scientific journal must be obtained which leads to the task overload of the journal and also needs financial consideration.
Only electronic publishing
This method costs nothing regarding print and distribution. Therefore, it is beneficial for a scientific journal to be published only electronically. Electronic publishing has become common only in the recent decade, especially for scientific journals. For example, all of the Bio-Med Central journals are published in this way and the access to these articles is free. However, there are other scientific journals with limited access.
It is worth mentioning that electronic publishing might not be known in some countries or even for some reason they might not have access to the websites of some journals. Therefore, chief editors of scientific journals have a significant role in making electronic publishing known in developing countries.