How Not to Organize a Journal

September 4th, 2010

ACS Publications…you are killing me.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters has a very…ummm…original way of organizing its content online.  If you select an issue from the archive, the papers are sorted by subject rather than by page number.  So, scrolling down the contents for April 2010 (vol. 1, pages 1020-1169), you sequentially encounter articles from pages 1288, 1020, 1160, 1107, and 1068.  Huh?

I imagine most people access back issues of a journal in order to find a particular paper—as I did—and not to browse for pleasure.  This predominance can only grow wider as the archive grows older.  What is the purpose of making it hard for people to find a paper by its page number?

And if you’re going to do it this way, why even bother numbering the pages at all?  I haven’t seen the hard copies of this journal, are its pages also not sequential?  That would be interesting.

Or maybe this is how the next generation does things and I’m just getting old.


8 Responses to “How Not to Organize a Journal”

  1. Egon Willighagen Says:

    Of course, any modern website would just allow you to sort the table of papers by subject, title, page number, etc. Personally, I don’t care about page numbers at all anymore, and use the DOI and the title otherwise. I cannot remember the last time I actually looked up a paper by page number… BTW, I second the idea of dropping page numbers if the journal is no longer in print…

  2. joel Says:

    Hit CTRL+F ((⌘+F for Apple)) and type in your page number foo. Welcome back, by the way!

  3. Paul Says:

    Yeah yeah, but that’s so inelegant. Can’t they just pick another Nintendo cheat code to sort the articles properly?

  4. excimer Says:

    @Paul: If you type in JUSTIN BAILEY to any ACS pubs page, you’ll get 255 free paper accesses and Peter Stang will show up purple with green hair

  5. Matt Says:

    @Paul Little known factoid: Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-B-A-Start will get your paper accepted without peer review.

  6. Paul Says:

    That would explain some of the papers I’ve come across recently.

  7. joel Says:

    @excimer type in NARPAS SWORD at any kiosk at ACS, and RB Woodward’s brain will show up and pose for photos.

  8. J-bone Says:

    Matt, if you have a co-author I believe you need to include Select-Start.

Leave a Reply