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As far as I can say, for the papers published nowadays, there is usually a possibility to get an electronic version of the paper. (Often it requires payment or institutional subscription, but many publishers offer the papers free of charge for older issues.)

Are there still journals, which do not offer possibility to get electronic version of the paper online and use paper version as the only way of distribution of their journal? If yes, is it the case only for small publishers? Are there differences between various disciplines? (I have experience mostly with mathematics.)

  • Only if there are sufficiently many answers to the main question (Are there still journals who only publish in paper form?). – Wrzlprmft Aug 4 '14 at 11:41
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    We could answer better if you tell why print-only journal are important to you. Is it because you want to publish in one? or is it about how much you are missing in a literature review? About in which format you need to write an article? – Lynda Aug 15 '14 at 3:13
  • @Lydia I am not sure it is any help in answering the question, but I become interested in existence of such journals because of this: I was asked to write an opinion on a paper for some journal as a referee. I did not know the journal before. I wanted to have a look on some previous papers, to see what the standards of the journal are. But I did not find any possibility to get to the articles online. (On the website, only papers in each volume were listed without any links.) – Martin Aug 15 '14 at 4:35
  • You might get better answers by asking in a mathematics-specific exchange. Maybe pose it as a hypothetical--if you have a high speed internet connection, but are not attached to, or near, a university with a physical library, which (important) journals would you be losing access to? ALthough even that might be too broad--the question of which journals are "important" is surely highly discipline-specific even within mathematics. I agree that it would be interesting to know--kind of a hard one to research online since you're looking for things that aren't online.... – msouth Sep 26 '14 at 16:42
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Yes. But they are more or less irrelevant at this point. Very, very few people will bother to read them.

One journal in my own field was strictly print until a couple of years ago. They are finally included in one database, but with a five year embargo (meaning only very old articles are available electronically). Another newer journal with a similar target audience is completely open access. Obviously, the open-access journal is getting cited more, the established paper-only one less and less.

In my opinion, the aversion to making a journal available electronically is based on old-fashioned technophobia. There is no serious rationale for it. Yes, they could get more money from actual subscriptions if libraries and/or individuals were willing to pay for them, but that's simply no longer a viable model.

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