Electronic Transactions on
Organized under the auspices of the
Quality Assurance of ETAI Articles
Information for Evaluators
The present page is intended for anyone who is charged with assessing the
quality and merit value of an ETAI published article, for example
members of academic promotion committees and officials of research funding
agencies. The basic question is: how does an ETAI published article compare
with an article published elsewhere?
The following observations may be useful for your decision.
ETAI articles are properly published
The term "electronic" in our name
does not mean that articles are only placed on
someone's web page and that they can later be changed at random. ETAI
articles are published both on paper and electronically, and the
electronic versions are subject to a strict set of rules and safety
measures to insure that they will remain on-line for an extended
period of time, and that they can not be tampered with. The graphical
appearance is similar to what you find in any other serious journal.
The term "electronic" for us just indicates that most users will
download articles from the net rather than subscribe to physical journal
issues from the publisher.
ETAI quality control is more thorough than elsewhere
In order to be accepted to the ETAI, an article has to go through two
The identity of the referees is confidential, but the review discussion
is done openly. Organizing the quality control in this way serves several
- Open reviewing during three months, where the article
is advertised to the community of researchers in its specialized
area, and a public, on-line discussion is organized about its
- Confidential refereeing after the open reviewing period has
concluded. Here, leading researchers in the
specialized area of the article weigh the article as well as the
review discussion and decide whether or not to accept the article.
For these reasons, we claim that ETAI's quality control method is
superior to the one used in ordinary journals.
- More feedback to the author.
- More reliable checks that previous work has been correctly cited,
and that the reported results had not been previously published.
- More encouragement to reviewers who contribute actively to the
improvement of the article.
- Better controls against reviewers/referees who mistakenly reject
a valuable article.
- Discourages authors from submitting low-quality articles. (In an
ordinary journal, noone gets to know if you submitted a rejected
article, so it is easy to take chances).
More meta-information available in ETAI
The public review discussion used by ETAI is retained and kept on-line
even after the acceptance decision has been made. This is important
when the merit value of the article is to be assessed, since it makes
it possible to do a more precise evaluation than just looking at the
title of the journal.
Consider this: If an article has been published in a conventional journal
or conference proceedings, then the only information that you can
effectively use is the title of the journal and the full text of the
article. Given that you won't be able to read all the submitted articles,
you can only go by the journal's prestige. We all know that this is a
very crude measure of the article's quality, but often it is the only
information you have.
If the article has been accepted by the ETAI, however, you are welcome
to check the discussion that preceded acceptance. It may contain
questions, critical comments and encouraging comments by colleagues,
but also the answers by the author(s). The protocol of this discussion
will allow you, with minimal effort, to get an idea of how the article
was received by the peers.
"But newly started journals need some years to build up quality..."
Yes, for paper journals, because they need to fill their annual quota
of a certain number of published pages. In the ETAI, on the other hand,
we don't have that constraint since it is made available free of charge
over the net. Therefore, we have no reason whatever to compromise quality
in order to fill the year's volume. (At the same time, we don't have to
maintain a queue of papers awaiting publication - every paper goes into
the ETAI as soon as it is accepted).
Who publishes in the ETAI?
Allow us to make one more observation, for the particular case that you
are considering an academic promotion. Most likely, you are not only
looking for the candidate with the longest list of publications, but
also for the candidate with the best potential for continued research.
Now, if a young researcher has published articles in the ETAI, what
does that say about her or him? We suggest that the candidate is then
likely to have the following characteristics:
If this is the kind of person you would like to recruit, then
having published articles in the ETAI must count in favor of this
- Likes to try new ideas. The ETAI is an entirely new way of
doing scientific publication.
- Likes to communicate. The most important difference between being
an author in the ETAI and being an author elsewhere is that as an
ETAI author you have to interact with colleagues.
- Not afraid of debate. After all, if you submit your article to the
ETAI, it just may happen that someone comes up with a strong
criticism, you have to answer it, and the whole world is watching.
- Research interest and curiosity more important than collecting
credit points. After all, who knows how future promotion committees
will rate ETAI published articles... but this author chose the
ETAI anyway, because he or she liked the concept.
ETAI policy documents
The following documents may be of use for further understanding of
how the ETAI works.
||The ECCAI system for specialized research publication.
Accepted for the ECCAI board in January, 1997, as the policy document
for the ETAI and its relation to the AICOM.
||The ETAI Policy Committee
The tasks of ETAI area editors.
This memo is more concrete as a spec of commitments and a checklist for
what the area editor needs to think about at each step of the review
||Scientific Communication on the Internet.
This draft of an
article, dated February 1998, describes "the ETAI experience" as a
whole, but with an emphasis on colloquium-layer issues.
Rules for First Publication Archives (FPA:s). Explains the safety
measures that guarantee persistence of ETAI published articles.
||The production of the electronic and paper issues of the ETAI
At present, this is a link to the page of accumulated contents of ETAI
with accepted articles so far. (An additional page with explanation
of the practical routines for this is to be added here).
||Historical background and formal status of ETAI
||Changes in Scientific Publishing
Linköping University, Sweden.