What is OnlineFirst publication?

Modified on Tue, 9 Jul at 10:51 AM


What is OnlineFirst?

OnlineFirst is a feature offered through Sage's journal platform, Sage Journals. It allows final revision articles (completed articles in queue for assignment to an upcoming issue) to be hosted online prior to their inclusion in a final print and online journal issue. This feature is commonly referred to as publish ahead of print, publish before print, continuous publishing, and P>P. Access to full-text OnlineFirst articles are only available to paid subscribers or through a site license.

Benefits of OnlineFirst

OnlineFirst provides clear benefits to all researchers and users of the journal's online content. The feature allows subscribers and members the ability to access the very latest papers in the field. Authors also benefit from greatly reduced lead times between submission and publication of articles. Without OnlineFirst, an author's work would only appear online once a finalized issue was sent to print. However, with OnlineFirst, manuscripts can appear online while other articles are being completed for an upcoming issue. An author's research will therefore reach its audience more quickly, enabling an article to receive greater usage and exposure, including earlier citation opportunities by related work.

How to cite OnlineFirst articles

Each OnlineFirst manuscript is citeable using the date of the manuscript's first online posting and the DOI. Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) are assigned to all Sage content for use on digital networks and the metadata associated with that content is registered with the DOI Foundation (www.doi.org). DOIs provide a persistent, permanent way to identify manuscripts published in the online environment, even after they are assigned to a print issue. Information such as volume, issue, and page numbers are not allocated to OnlineFirst articles (as that information is not known until the issue is completed), therefore these manuscripts should be cited as follows:

    Smith, JR, Brown, AB. Article title. Journal Title. Prepublished Month, day, year, DOI: 10.1177/0123456789123456

After the article is assigned to a specific issue, new citations can be made using volume and page number information, while still using the DOI:

    Smith, JR, Brown, AB. Article title. Journal Title. 2006, 33: 211-217 DOI: 10.1177/0123456789123456

Each article DOI is registered with CrossRef (www.crossref.org), allowing permanent resolution to each article and giving publishers the ability to link their references to articles whenever they are cited.

Transition to a final issue

Once an OnlineFirst article is assigned to its final issue and given its bibliographic data, such as volume, issue, and first page number, the hosting of the article online transitions from the OnlineFirst listing to that of the completed issue. In other words, users will be able to locate the article via the journal's main archive page rather than the OnlineFirst page. Citations using either the DOI or the bibliographic data will both resolve to the final article. The primary, completed article will be the prominent article found when linking into the DOI or article URL.

To view the list of OnlineFirst article postings, visit the journal±s homepage and click on the OnlineFirst link at the top of the page. Readers and authors alike are encouraged to sign up for OnlineFirst email alert options, ensuring immediate notification each time a paper is published online first. Email alerts are also available for ongoing journal tables of contents and for alerts by author name and keyword. Browse Sage Journals and sign up for new content alerts today.

Do citations to OnlineFirst articles get counted in the calculation of Impact Factors?

Yes, provided all other relevant Impact Factor and indexing criteria are met.

For example, Article A is published ahead of print in 2007 and in its final issue in 2008; Article B is published in its final issue in 2008 and cites the 2007 Online First version of Article A. The citing reference in Article B looks as follows: 

    Author, XYZ. Article A. Journal Title. Prepublished Month, day, 2007, DOI: 10.1177/0123456789123456 

Article B's citation (of Article A, published in 2007 in Journal Title) will count towards the 2008 Impact Factor of the journal in which Article A was published. 

Had the author of Article B instead referenced the 2008, final issue version of Article A, the citation would have counted towards the Immediacy Index but not towards the Impact Factor. This is because the Impact Factor is calculated on the basis of citations to articles published in the two years preceding the Impact Factor year, while the Immediacy Index is calculated on the basis of citations to articles published in the Impact Factor year itself. 

Is the OnlineFirst article considered final and definitive?

Normally, the article will not change from this version (except by the addition of pagination and volume/issue data). Authors will not be invited to review their articles again. However, if errors are identified in this version then they may be corrected when the article is published in an issue, or in exceptional circumstances by uploading a new version of the article. Issue publication is our Version of Record, after which articles will only be corrected by use of an erratum.

Was this article helpful?

That’s Great!

Thank you for your feedback

Sorry! We couldn't be helpful

Thank you for your feedback

Let us know how can we improve this article!

Select at least one of the reasons
CAPTCHA verification is required.

Feedback sent

We appreciate your effort and will try to fix the article