Substance has always been paramount at The Rockefeller University Press, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also have style. We are thus delighted to unveil a new design for the websites of our three journals, The Journal of Cell Biology, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, and The Journal of General Physiology, and for the Press itself. The sites have an updated look and contain innovative functionality to present and highlight new and exciting science.
Since launching our online presence in 1997, we have made some adjustments to our home pages, but the design of our full-text article page—the showcase of our content—has barely changed. In our new design of this page, we have adopted a three-column format that enhances the experience of reading a scientific paper using the sophisticated tools that the modern internet has to offer.
Column 1: Navigation, sharing, and alerts
The left column provides navigation links for the various sections of the article, utilities for sharing the article through social networking and bookmarking sites, and links to alerting services. Much of this functionality will stay with readers as they scroll through the text of an article. This column also contains a link for article usage statistics, which have been provided to our subscribers since May 2007.
Column 2: The narrative
The center column contains the full text of the article. We have included some new functionality, such as hover boxes over citations and figure expansion within the page, but we have maintained the basic narrative structure of a scientific article. This reflects the linearity of the scientific method: one asks a question, conducts experiments to try to answer that question, and interprets the resulting data. This linearity is represented in the Introduction–Results–Discussion structure of a scientific article, and we have left these sections in their traditional order where readers expect them to be.
Column 3: Widgets
The fact that the scientific narrative is linear does not prevent you from carrying useful information with you as you read. The right column of the new page contains expandable widgets, viewable from anywhere within the full text, which provide access to all figures and references in the article. If the Discussion section refers back to Figure 2, for example, you don’t have to scroll back or hit another tab to open it; it’s right there in the third column. From within the figures widget, individual figure images can be opened at a larger size and moved anywhere within your browser for viewing as you scroll through the text.
In addition to the content of the article itself, it is also vital to have links to other relevant information at your fingertips. To facilitate this, we have created widgets that link to citation information, preprogrammed PubMed searches, and databases containing information related to the paper.
Anyone who does not like the three-column format can click on the expansion icon (left/right arrow) at the top right of the center column to return to the single-column format. One goal in designing the new sites was to provide the reader with a variety of choices for the format in which they read an article. PDF formats with traditional layout are still available, as are PDF files that incorporate supplemental material. And the three-column format is particularly well suited for viewing on the iPhone.
We are excited about this new functionality, and we hope our readers will find it useful for navigating through all of the information within an article and related material from other locations on the internet. We would be grateful for any feedback, which can be provided by clicking the feedback link at the bottom of each web page. We will update the existing features according to your suggestions, and we will continue to innovate.
Look for additional functionality and information to be added to the full-text article page soon, such as embedded videos and original image data. We may also incorporate commenting for individual articles, although it is unclear whether this functionality is a priority among the scientific community. In the longer term, we hope to provide additional layout options for viewing and printing articles.
Special thanks to our Production Director, Rob O’Donnell, for his extraordinary efforts in coordinating the development of these new sites with our designers and our online service providers. Thanks also to Grace Baynes for her extremely helpful consultation, from early discussions about our redesign through the construction of the new templates.