The long-awaited scientific publication revolution – is it starting here? Cell launches a new format for the presentation of research articles online
Over the past year, Cell has taken this challenge to heart. In conjunction with our authors and readers, we have worked to develop an online format that breaks free from the restraints of paper and allows each reader to create a personalized path through the article’s content based on his or her own interests and needs. Underlying the “Article of the Future” is a new approach to structuring the traditional sections of the article, moving away from a strictly linear organization required by print towards a more integrated and linked structure. Tabbed and hyperlinked navigation through the Introduction, Results, Figures, Experimental Procedures and Discussion allows subject-area experts to quickly access in-depth information on a particular experiment while providing more general readers an opportunity to absorb the conceptual insights without being overwhelmed by additional details.
Within this overall architecture are a number of exciting functionalities. For example, the Data tab, a film strip of thumbnails for all of the figures in the paper (including supplemental figures), allows a reader to rapidly scan through the data and then connect from an individual figure to the related textual discussion of the findings. The Results Tab lets the reader view a zoomable figure, the legend and associated Results text easily on a single screen. A Graphical Abstract and Highlights on the landing page of each article complement the traditional text Summary and promote article browsing by creating a visual summary and bullet points that easily convey the main take-home message of the paper. And the online display fully integrates supplemental information including multimedia content within the context of the main article and facilitates more fluid navigation between the two. Of course if you prefer to read the classic version, it remains accessible as a printable PDF with options to view and print either the core paper or the core paper plus supplemental information.
It looks fabulous. Will it supplant or supplement deadtree printouts? Time will tell. Including data-tables is a great idea; the filmstrip presentation for graphics is great too.