The Article of the Future

A blog new to me – Scholarship 2.0 – is keeping track of interesting developments in publishing, webmetrics, bibliography and related themes. They report on ‘The Article of the Future’:

Cell Press and Elsevier have launched a project called Article of the Future that is an ongoing collaboration with the scientific community to redefine how the scientific article is presented online. The project’s goal is to take full advantage of online capabilities, allowing readers individualized entry points and routes through the content, while using the latest advances in visualization techniques. We have developed prototypes for two articles from Cell to demonstrate initial concepts and get feedback from the scientific community.


  • A hierarchical presentation of text and figures so that readers can elect to drill down through the layers of content based on their level of expertise and interest. This organizational structure is a significant departure from the linear-based organization of a traditional print-based article in incorporating the core text and supplemental material within a single unified structure.
  • A graphical abstract allows readers to quickly gain an understanding of the main take-home message of the paper. The graphical abstract is intended to encourage browsing, promote interdisciplinary scholarship and help readers identify more quickly which papers are most relevant to their research interests.
  • Research highlights provide a bulleted list of the key results of the article.
  • Author-Affiliation highlighting makes it easy to see an author’s affiliations and all authors from the same affiliation.
  • A figure that contains clickable areas so that it can be used as a navigation mechanism to directly access specific sub-sections of the results and figures.
  • Integrated audio and video let authors present the context of their article via an interview or video presentation and allow animations to be displayed more effectively.
  • The Experimental Procedures section contains alternate views allowing readers to see a summary or the full details necessary to replicate the experiment.
  • A new approach to displaying figures allows the reader to identify quickly which figures they are interested in and then drill down through related supplemental figures. All supplemental figures are displayed individually and directly linked to the main figure to which they are related.
  • Real-time reference analyses provide a rich environment to explore the content of the article via the list of citations.

Article Prototype #1 / Article Prototype #2 Source


I haven’t explored all of these features yet, but I do like the ‘comments’ tab: it turns the article into a blogpost. We’ve been trying to make blogs more academic, and here we see an academic publication becoming more blog like. Something to keep an eye on… I haven’t been into Internet Archaeology in ages; last time I tried to access it they wanted a subscription fee I think. If I’m wrong about that, I apologise; but it would be interesting to compare how they manage their articles with this proposal.

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