American Journal of Audiology
Although one of my favorite quotes about change is "The more things change, the more they remain ... insane" (M. Fry & T. Lewis, Over the Hedge, May 9, 2004), I believe that the recent changes to the journals published by ASHA are quite positive and have the potential to improve the readership's access to and use of research and clinical advances. Beginning in 2010, the American Journal of Audiology and the other ASHA journals will be exclusively available online. In addition to reducing cost, paper waste, and storage issues associated with paper journals, online journals allow for greater ease of access to information. With online journals, it is faster and easier to find particular authors and topics and skim through articles of interest. If you like to read the details of an article from the paper format, or if from time to time you feel the need to push yourself away from the computer to read a publication, there always is the option to print articles. Also, if you want to save an article to read later, simply download it as a PDF file. I have to confess, however, that the ability to print and save articles brings some of us right back to our natural inclinations for chaos and disorder. As my offices at home and work make evident, and as my e-journal folder reminds me every time I go to save an article, the ease of access associated with online journals can stress those of us who are organizationally challenged. The fact that the printed articles don't find their own way into the filing cabinets and the e-journal articles don't self-sort into the correct subfolders brings me right back to Fry and Lewis.
Many readers of the ASHA journals scan the table of contents when they retrieve their journals from the mailbox. A concern of some is that they will be less likely to notice new and relevant publications of interest when the journals go completely online. A solution to this is to subscribe to e-mail-based table of contents alerts (eTOCs) and CiteTrack Alerts. These alerting mechanisms are a free service offered by each ASHA journal. With eTOCs, you can opt to receive the AJA table of contents by e-mail, or you can limit the alert to just a notice of when a new issue has been made available online. The CiteTrack Alerts inform readers of when new articles matching specified search criteria are published in AJA, or when designated AJA articles are cited within new articles from other journals. To subscribe to eTOCs and CiteTrack, go to the journal's home page (http://aja.asha.org) and click on the links provided. In addition, you can request notice of when AJA Papers in Press come online, which permits quick access to recently approved manuscripts. Now for those of you who already are suffering with overflowing, unmanageable e-mail in-boxes, I refer you back once again to Fry and Lewis, and to paraphrase an Alaskan politician ... archive, baby, archive.
A recent change to the ASHA journals that should prove beneficial to many readers is the ability to use designated articles to obtain continuing education units (CEUs). To identify the article(s) flagged for CEUs, look at the table of contents for each issue. After registering, simply read the article on your own time and take a short quiz. This mechanism should be a convenient way to obtain CEUs for those of you who are limited in your ability to access other continuing education offerings. It also is a way to acquire timely information in a convenient manner.
Very recently, the ASHA journals added the ability to attach supplementary or enhanced online content to articles, which should prove exciting to readers and authors. Along with their manuscripts, authors can now submit files containing additional content not traditionally included with journal articles, such as audio and video stimuli from experiments, demonstrations of clinical or research protocols, and large tables or data files. The addition of enhanced online content will allow authors new and creative ways to present their work, and will give readers access to meaningful detail beyond the article itself.
Finally, I want to recognize and thank Dr. Anthony Cacace for his editorial excellence and dedication to AJA for the last 3 years. As the new editor, my goal is to perform up to Tony's standards. After serving for a few short months, it is clear that the position brings enrichment and the acquisition of knowledge but also requires time, vigilance, and flexibility. (I'll forgo relating Fry and Lewis here.) Tony and his group of Associate Editors brought much to AJA. They were good stewards and managed the journal very well. I thank them all so much for their time and effort, and a job well done.