by Todd Carpenter (Managing Director, NISO, One North Charles Street, Suite 1905, Baltimore, MD 21201; Phone: 301-654-2512; Fax: 410-685-5278) [email protected], www.niso.org
The notion of what constitutes a journal article has traditionally been fairly straightforward. When we think of an article, many of us picture that linear text item found in a magazine or journal. As articles are increasingly distributed in electronic form, however, the opportunity arises to easily provide additional content and data supporting what we have typically considered an “article” — opening a Pandora’s box of management issues. With print journals, the occasional additional content was first provided on CDROM disks. With the transition to electronic journals, these materials — which are lumped into the overarching term “supplemental materials” — can include items as diverse as presentation slides, supporting data sets, data analysis tools, dynamic visualizations, videos or animation of experiments, or audio. Even the term “supplementary” may be inaccurate, since in some fields this additional material may, in fact, be critical to understanding the article, such as in fluid mechanics where visual representations are often the best way to convey experimental results.
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