Monday, 6 February 2012

Important changes to Minerals Engineering and ScienceDirect

Ever since its inception in 1988, the volume number of Minerals Engineering has been synonymous with the year. Last year’s volume, number 24, represented the 24th year of the journal.

Each volume has, for many years, contained 15 issues, but this year will herald significant changes, which need some explanation.

There has been a major shift in recent years to electronic formatting of journals, and ScienceDirect usage continues to grow, with over 400,000 downloads of Minerals Engineering papers in 2011, compared with 372,500 in 2010.

Electronic publishing has allowed very rapid publication of papers. Once I, as editor, finally accept a paper for publication, it is almost immediately published in ScienceDirect, and is currently available for download in the section Articles in Press. This is effectively a holding area where accepted papers are stored until allocated an issue number and pagination. Each paper is assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a unique alphanumeric character string, which never changes. It can be used for citing a document in press, because it has not yet received its full bibliographic information. When the paper is eventually published in hard copy, it can then also be cited by its Volume Number, Issue Number and page numbers. Unfortunately many authors (and at least one editor!) find this a confusing system, hence the move this year to what is known as Article Based Publishing (ABP) workflow.

Commencing this year, issue numbers will disappear, and there will be 15 Volumes allocated for each year. Each Volume will start its life as an empty shell, and as soon as a paper has been accepted it will be assigned a specific Volume, and the page numbers will be immediately known, as each Volume will commence at page 1. The article can therefore be immediately cited as Minerals Engineering Volume XX (2012) pps.YY-ZZ, which will be exactly the same citation as when the article appears in print a few months later.

The benefit of more flexibility in opening more than one Volume at the same time will greatly benefit Minerals Engineering which publishes a relatively high number of special issues, which will be allocated their own Volume numbers. This year, using the new ABP system, special issues on Sustainability (Volume 29), Computational Modelling (Volume 31), Physical Separation (Volume 32) and Froth Flotation (Volumes 36-38) are scheduled.

Please contact me if you need any further clarification on these changes.

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