I am wondering the qualitative difference between a printed journal publication and E-journal? Whether both have same impacts. I understand that impact varies from journal to journal and publisher to publisher. But I am talking about the reputed publishers only e.g. Springers, Elsevier etc. I would also like to mention that the said printed journals here are elecronically availalbe first while e-journals have no printed version.

So how good to publish a paper in an e-journal? Whether papers published in e-journals give same impression as in printed journals?

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    There is no general answer here. There are outstanding journals of both types, not all published by "reputed" publishers. There are garbage journals of both tytpes, some published by "reputed" publishers. Quality, cost, and medium (cellulose vs. bits) are three orthogonal axes.
    – JeffE
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 15:15
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    There are some online-only journals (ie 'e-journals') that have been around for over 20 years and are well-regarded even if they aren't absolute top-rank. There are also online-only journals that are top-rank (eg Forum of Mathematics) and so on. An online-only journal from an reputable established publisher should be considered as not particularly worse than any other journal on average from that publisher. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 6:57
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    I would say that Springer and Elsevier, while certainly reputed, are mostly reputed for being incredibly expensive and doing a poor job overall (with regard to production, notably). Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 8:31
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    @BenoîtKloeckner that opinion, while very popular in some places of the internet, is marginal, at least in the academic circles that I know.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 10:03
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    Indeed, as @BenoîtKloeckner suggests, it does appear that Elsevier and Springer have embarked on a course (the last 15+ years) to monetize their prior (deserved) reputation. This leads to various corruptions, naturally. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 14:33

2 Answers 2


You appear to be confusing together two different issues: open-access vs. paywalled and printed vs. electronic.

Let us start with printed vs. electronic: the difference between a article available electronically vs. an article available only in print is that the article available electronically will be read and a paper article generally will not. With a very small number of exceptions, for the most part electronic access is the means by which scientists access journal articles these days. If they journal is not open access, then the researcher will be using an institutional subscription.

Now, as for open access vs. paywalled: some studies have shown that open access articles tend to be read and cited more than paywalled articles in similar quality journals. For both open access and paywalled articles, however, the primary determinant in how they are viewed is the quality of the journal in which they are published, and in both cases there are excellent journals and terrible journals.

  • My question was e-journals (no printed version is available) vs. printed journals (electronic version is available first). Will you please give an idea whehter researchers have same impression for both the journals? Kindly consider reputed publishers only.
    – Kay
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 0:59
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    @Kayan The distinction is irrelevant: no researcher that I have ever talked about publications with cares whether a printed version is ever produced, except in very unusual cases. Print is simply irrelevant for most purposes. For many journals that I publish in and read, I do not even know if they are purely electronic or not.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 1:16
  • I don't see how open access vs paywalled is relevant. There are open access journals that have printed versions (Pacific Journal of Mathematics for Industry, for example) Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 6:54
  • @DavidRoberts A prior version of the question mentioned open access, in a way that seemed to conflate open access and online-only. I am choosing to leave the paragraph in because many people make the same confusion.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 11:43
  • @jakebeal ok, thanks! Worth pointing out it was in response to earlier version of question. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 6:27

I think a lot of scientists don't know whether a journal actually appears in print. So it's not about that they don't care, it's also a lack of knowledge. In 10+ years of research I've only seen paper copies of maybe a dozen journals.

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