I was pleased to see in the recent report by Tracy Gardner and Simon Inger, entitled: How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Journals: Comparing the changing user behaviour between 2005 and 2012 and its impact on publisher web site design and function, the following statement:
Publishers need to support all conceivable routes to their content through
the web. This can best be achieved through the distribution of XML header
information to as many discovery platforms as possible, through RSS feeds,
collaboration with CrossRef, library technology vendors and through working
with major gateways, A&Is and search engines.
The mention of RSS therefore endorses the work of services such as JournalTOCs, and is also something I’ve banged on about, quite a bit, in this blog over the past months. I’ve also mentioned several times the importance of publishers producing high-quality RSS feeds for their journals, based on the Recommendations on RSS Feeds for Scholarly Publishers. An additional factor is that with the growth of hybrid journals (those which contain some Open Access articles and some articles behind paywalls), the use of the DC Rights element in RSS TOC feeds will increasingly aid discovery of OA articles in such journals which otherwise may be missed by institutions without subscriptions to those titles.
JournalTOCs ingests the RSS Table of Contents feeds of over 1,300 different publishers, and then presents the very latest research output is a user-friendly way, in one place. It therefore takes advantage of RSS feeds, but users of JournalTOCs do not need to know, or understand, anything about RSS in order to discover the latest articles. In some ways, therefore, JournalTOCs is like a multidisciplinary Abstract & Index (A&I) database.
The report by Gardner and Inger says that journal alerts are the second most popular resource for discovering the latest articles, but that A&I databases continue to grow as well for this purpose. JournalTOCs, in essence, does both!
My post Where to find new scholarly research papers: 30 key, free websites, written a year ago, is still receiving lots of hits (it is by far the most popular post that I’ve written on this blog). It lists many services which utilise RSS.