OnlineFirst is a feature that allows final revision articles (completed articles in queue for assignment to an upcoming issue) to be hosted on-line prior to their inclusion in a journal volume/issue. This feature is commonly referred to as publish ahead of print, publish before print, continuous publishing.
Benefits of OnlineFirst
OnlineFirst provides clear benefits to all researchers and users of the journal’s online content. The feature allows access to the very latest papers in the field. Authors also benefit from greatly reduced lead times between submission and publication of articles. An author’s research will therefore reach its audience more quickly, enabling an article to receive greater usage and exposure, including earlier citation opportunities by related work.
Citations to OnlineFirst articles
Each OnlineFirst manuscript is citeable using the date of the manuscript’s first online posting and the DOI. Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) are assigned to all SSE journal articles for use on digital networks and the metadata associated with that content is registered with the DOI Foundation (www.doi.org). DOIs provide a persistent, permanent way to identify manuscripts published in the online environment, even after they are assigned to a print issue. Information such as volume, issue, and page numbers are not allocated to OnlineFirst articles (as that information is not known until the issue is completed), therefore these manuscripts should be cited as follows:
JR Jones, AB Smith. Article title. Journal Title. Prepublished Month, day, year, DOI: 10.1177/0123456789123456
After the article is assigned to a specific issue, new citations can be made using volume and page number information, while still using the DOI:
JR Jones, AB Smith. Article title. Journal Title. 33(4) 2013, PP 211-217 DOI: 10.1177/0123456789123456
Each article DOI is registered with CrossRef , allowing permanent resolution to each article and giving publishers the ability to link their references to articles whenever they are cited.
Transition to a final issue
Once an OnlineFirst article is assigned to its final issue and given its bibliographic data, such as volume, issue, year and page numbers, the hosting of the article on-line transitions from the OnlineFirst listing to that of the completed issue. Citations using either the DOI or the bibliographic data will both resolve to the final article