RSS feeds are how I skim journals and stay up to date. Some journals do RSS feeds better than others.
Here’s an example from Thin Solid Films, from Elsevier.
Title, Journal Title, Authors (just initials, ugh)
Terrible. Admittedly some Elsevier journals don’t have TOC images, like this one, and the ones that do, do show them in the RSS, but all journals should have them.
Science, from AAAS:
Article Type, Title, First Author, One Sentence Summary, Authors
A one sentence summary is better than nothing, but why not the full abstract?
Journal of Materials Science, from Springer:
No authors, really?
IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, from IEEE:
Same as Springer, c’mon!
Nature, from Nature Publishing Group:
Title, First Author, Title, Journal Title, DOI, Authors, Abstract
Some redundancy, no image, but at least the abstract, acceptable.
Langmuir, an ACS journal:
Title, Authors, TOC image, Journal Title, DOI.
Journal of Materials Chemistry A, from RSC:
Title, First Author, Journal Title, DOI, Authors, Abstract, TOC image, Citing Information, Copyright Information
Good, but definitely some extraneous information/text.
Advanced Materials, from Wiley:
Title, Authors, Abstract, TOC image.
So you can tell that I’m a chemist/materials scientist, and don’t have any physics or bio journals, but I think I have a pretty broad range of publishers here. Who did it best? I listed them from worst to best, so definitely Wiley does RSS best. The only other thing I would like to see (that nobody does that I’ve seen) is the institution with the author names.
Another rant; things which are unnecessary to show in your RSS feeds:
Table of contents: That’s what this whole feed is, you don’t need it all listed separately. Especially if you don’t actually list the contents in RSS clip itself (which nobody does).
Editorial board: I understand they do a lot of work, good for them, but just a link to your editorial board without even listing them in the RSS clip? Not helping anyone.
Cover images: Great, no problem with having these in the feed, but don’t link to a page which is just the cover image, link to the actual article it’s about.
Would be great if I could get publishers to read this and change their ways…
If you can’t tell, I’m a little into journal TOC images. I enjoy ones which are either really well done, or really ridiculous. They grab your attention, which should really be the goal.
With the number of journals I skim via RSS (39 at the moment, it varies) I need the title or the TOC to jump out at me. Normally I’m just reading the titles, deciding if it is a) relevant to something I’m working on or have worked on, b) immediately gives me an idea for a proposal, or c) just sounds really interesting.
If your title doesn’t do any of those 3, you have a last chance with your TOC image. (Tangential point, some journals need to get their RSS feeds together, more on that in another post.) Put some time into your image, whether it be for making it look really good, or really ridiculous. With the time it took you to do the research and write the paper, is an hour or two for a chance to increase readership too hard?
Example of lazy TOC which prompted this post:
A photo of a molecular model? Sigh.
Supercapacitors from food, nice and green, definitely safer than the other way around.
The yogurt forming process is mediated by the bacteria, and hence this precursor has high nitrogen content which can get doped into carbon upon controlled precursor pyrolysis.
Yogurt, a novel precursor and an easily scalable and manufacturable food item, can yield high quality heavily nitrogen doped porous carbon with excellent supercapacitor properties.
For our experiments yogurt and milk of best quality supplied by renowned Indian diary cooperative, named Amul-Masti and Amul-Taaza, respectively, were purchased.
I’m just disappointed there was no awesome TOC image.