- It is free
- Publication is quick
- No stylistic restrictions
- Interactivity
- World Wide Indexing
- The SoS Database

(1) We did this especially for those of our readers who have not yet been in touch with the WEB very often so that it will not take them long to become familiar with this journal. Besides, we want to be easily accessible to everybody, irrespective of whether they have high speed network connections to the Internet or just dial in SLIP access.

What is the difference

When you browse through SCIENCES of SOILS you will think the journal has basically the same top-down structure you are familiar with from paper journals. Indeed, that is true (1). But this also means that SCIENCES of SOILS offers all the features paper journal do, including peer review of and permanent access to previously published articles.
Now you will ask: Why publish in SCIENCES of SOILS when it so strongly resembles established paper journals? What is the difference?

The Web provides very many advantages paper never can, most of which are already integrated into the journal, whilst further will follow. Apart from the features described on the Home Page, I would like to point out some major advantages for both authors and readers.

(2) As already pointed out by Esther Dysan in Intellectual Property on the Net, published in her Release 1.0.
It is free
We charge neither authors for publishing nor readers for using this journal. You ask: How can you manage to do all this for free? It must cost you something. You must pay for the Internet server and you have to pay whoever does the work of setting up and maintaining the pages. Yes, it does cost us something, and to cover these expenses we intend to carry advertising on the pages soon. We are also looking for sponsors. You will - at least to some extent - be familiar with this model of financing from journals such as Nature, Scientific American or ES&T. And for the Web in particular, advertising seems to be the only viable financial model in future (2).

Publication is quick
With most paper journals there is currently a long time span between submission of a manuscript and its final publication. A year is not unusual. Sometimes it is even longer. This is not necessary. We do things much faster. With us, four months is a realistic value. The only "delay" is the reviewing process, and you can forget all the other things that hold up publication in traditional paper journals. Once an article has been finally accepted, it will be set up for publication in about one week. There are no deadlines. There are no monthly or quaterly issues.

There are no stylistic restrictions
If an author considers a particular presentation or layout of his or her scientific material most suitable for the expression and understanding of his or her results and ideas, we will support this. Web publishing does not impose formal restrictions. Anything and everything is possible. How about a virtual tour to soil profiles ? Or animated models?

It is interactive
We strongly support communication with and between our readers. Through the discussion lists authors can contact their readers directly, whilst the discussion groups provide the opportunity for the exchange of scientific information between readers. Publishing is no longer static.

There is World Wide Indexing
(Meta indexing)
Articles are prepared in such a way as to be indexable in the whole World (Wide Web). An article published in SCIENCES of SOILS is not only accessible through the journal, it can also be found from any point of the Web. If someone is looking for a subject that has been covered in articles published in SCIENCES of SOILS he will also find all these relevant articles when, for example, using a Web search engine such as Yahoo, WebCrawler or all the othes.
This means that articles published in SCIENCES of SOILS will be read more often. And not only are these articles available all the time and all over the world. They are also more readily available to more people.

There is the SoS Database
SCIENCES of SOILS has its own database. You no longer need archive articles yourself. We do that for you. Whenever you need to find certain topics or authors who have published in the journal, you simply use the SoS database. All you have to do is type in the keyword(s) you are looking for and you will immediately receive the relevant information. Then you click on the docment(s) the search engine has come up with, and there you are! (This feature will be implemented within the next few weeks)

Of course, there are many more features, but obviously not all of them are of use in the case of a scientific journal. For the first version of SCIENCES of SOILS we have integrated those features we consider most important and convincing. Further will follow. An additional, more Web-like (graphic) issue is planned. However, all this is nothing against content and quality of articles. Peer review will provide the solid foundation for the scientific quality of the journal. And I am proud of our advisory board, which without doubt guarantees the highest reviewing standards.

Finally, I would like to encourage you to send in your manuscripts and profit from the advantages of electronic publishing. Should you have any problems or queries concerning the preperation of your contributions, please contact me, and we will be pleased to help.
By the way, we are always interested in any approvements that can be made, so please, send us as much feedback as possible. All criticisms and suggestions are very welcome. On the basis of your feedback, we can optimize SCIENCES of SOILS for our users, because: This Journal is for YOU.

(Thomas Hintze)
September 1996


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