In the discussion below, the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) will be representative of the academic journals whereas the Code4Lib Journal (C4LJ) will represent practitioner journals. From the outset, the major difference between the two types of journals is primarily the fact that while the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology is peer reviewed, Code4Lib Journal (C4LJ) is not. The contents in the academic journal are subject to scrutiny by many professional compared to the opinion of a single person or a group published as such in practitioner journals. The discussion below delves further into the characteristics of each journal and then attempts to compare them each on its own strength.
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST)
JASIST is published by JohnWiley and Sons Ltd (JASIST, 2011). This peer reviewed journal publishes research that is original in the following areas: social and legal aspects of information, communications, applied information science, theory of information science and management, economics and marketing. The journal has a wide array of contributors most of whom make unsolicited submissions to it. The contents are reviewed by the editors and if they meet the required threshold, they are subjected to further reviews by outside scholars who are regarded as experts in the topics under scrutiny. The reviewers, usually two, generate reports that are used to inform the decision of the editor. Mostly, the reviewers referred to as ‘referees’ remain anonymous and any information that may lead to their identification is kept confidential.
However, there are journals that practice public peer reviews and hence avail the verdicts of the reviewers to the general public. After the thorough reviews, the editor has a choice of rejecting the article, returning it to the author for revision or printing it. Even after some articles have been accepted, they are usually subjected to additional revisions by the editorial staff so as to be professionally done and to meet the journals criterion for publishing. Due to this long process of review, some articles take up to a few months to publish with others even taking years awaiting printing.
The peer reviews are very necessary in advancement of the research in a single topic. Since scholars are usually limited to a small area in the academic field, they rely on the peer reviews to give them vital information critical to the further advancement of the research. JASIST is published once every month having a total output of 12 publications a year. With the advent of technology, journals are now available on the internet where interested parties can subscribe to them (Hendler, 2007). JASIST is subject-indexed into Google Scholar and can be accessed on the internet (Bakkalbasi et al., 2006).
The journal editors have been expanding the scope of the journal for some time and have made great improvements. The journal has carried numerous articles detailing research in the LIS field and has remained largely consistent in its publications (Lengnick-Hall & Wolff, 1998). There has been a considerable shift in the journal for the last three years from just publishing researches in the field for the benefit of academicians but also detailing the research that is most applicable in the field or that which details a different dimension from that already in practice.
Code4Lib Journal (C4LJ)
The Code4Lib Journal is primarily aimed at fostering communication between different members of different libraries. The journal focuses on informing the librarians primarily involved in cataloguing about the intersection of libraries, technology and the future. The main function of the journal is to foster communication between technologists. As the advances in computers become more profound in our everyday lives, the world of computers in librarianship becomes even harder. New technologies are only illustrated in blogs, websites, conferences and IRC channels. The librarians to whom these projects should benefit are often misinformed and often conduct individual research so as to unearth them. Ultimately, there was need for a journal whose sole purpose was informing the practitioners about the advances in their industry. The journal serves as a communication avenue for standards-makers in the librarianship profession and the wider community. The journal is published quarterly meaning that there are four copies every year.
Code4Lib Journal (C4LJ) is managed by an editorial committee. Apart from the editorial committee, there is a person who volunteers to be a coordinating editor for every publication. The major role of the coordinating editor is to make sure that the particular issue he/she is charged with gets out on time and is of a quality standing. The articles that appear on Code4Lib Journal are not peer reviewed but an editorial process is instead in place to vet them however, since the journal has only existed for some time, there is peer reviewing for a subset of articles published in it.
The editorial committee can solicit for submissions from specific people with an invitation on a specific topic. The authors can also submit articles at their own volition without solicitation from any quarter and on the topics pertaining to library cataloguing. The editorial committee then convenes private forums where submitted articles are discussed. There are instances where the committee convenes in public, not to discuss articles but for forums like public listerv and wiki pages. Submissions can be in form of drafts of in abstracts. Here, the committee convenes within a month to discuss and vote on them. An article only needs to get a simple majority from committee members participating for it to be approved. After the provisional acceptance, an article will be allocated an editor and an issue. Furthermore, if the original submission was an abstract or a proposal, then the author will be given a time frame for the submission of a draft. The assigned editor will work with the author to get the article ready for publication. The assigned editor will mediate all communication between author and the EC, such as requests for changes, and generally keep track of the author.
The editorial committee of the Code4Lib Journal consists of the following people drawn from different libraries Carol Bean, Federal Courts Libraries, Eleventh Circuit, Edward Corrado, Binghamton University Libraries, Andrew Darby, University of Miami Libraries, Gabriel Farrell, Drexel University Libraries, Tom Keays, Le Moyne College Library, Tim Lepczyk, Washington University, Emily Lynema, North Carolina State University Libraries, Tim McGeary, Lehigh University Libraries, Kelley McGrath, University of Oregon Libraries, Tod Olson, University of Chicago Library, Ron Peterson, University of Delaware Library (ronp at udel dot edu) and Jonathan Rochkind of the Johns Hopkins Libraries (C4LJ, 2011). Of the 12 members of the committee, only 2 are female. This reflects gender disparity as 1the committee seems to be solely comprised of men.
C4LJ has operated for quite some time. In the last three years, the journal has steadily improved both in quantity and quality. Originally, the journal did not have its articles peer-reviewed but steadily, the articles carried have been vetted by different profession for the benefit of professionals in the field. Presently, there are more submissions to the magazine compare to earlier times. This shows an increase in readership as well as an appreciation for the content carried in the journal. The major focus of C4LJ is making sure that the advances in library technologies are communicated to the relevant parties.
The Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology is a peer reviewed academic journal aimed at advancing research in library and information science. The articles contained in the journal serve to create more awareness on the systems being created and how they assist their everyday users. The library and information science doctrine is very wide and often, there are journals that focus on a single topic. JASIST is very popular in the publication of original research in the LIS field. The journal has a format and frequency aimed at informing academicians in the profession and motivates them to generate more research in the field. The emergent trend in the way that the journal publishes its articles is borders on practicality. While the articles previously contained in the journal solely focused on the academic detail, there has been advancements that have shifted the focus on more practicable research that is beneficial to users in the long term.
The Code4lib Journal is to a large extent not peer-reviewed. The journal’s main aim is to communicate to librarians the advances in their field of operation. This has been fundamental in informing them on new technologies and systems spread across the internet and in individual institutions. The professionals in this field have an avenue in the journal where they are able to exchange information and in turn inform the wider stakeholders in the field.
- Bakkalbasi, N. et al. (2006). Three options for citation tracking: Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science. Biomedical digital libraries 3(7).
- C4LJ. (2011). Editorial Committee. Web.
- Hendler, J. (2007). Reinventing Academic Publishing -Part 1. IEEE Intelligent Systems 22 (5).
- JASIST. (2011). Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Web.
- Lengnick-Hall, C.A., & Wolff, J.A. (1998). Achieving consistency in purpose. Strategy and Leadership, 26, 32-38.