Starting with the June 2012 issue of Oceanography, The Oceanography Society has offered full electronic editions of the magazine free to members through Qmags (http://www.qmags.com), while also maintaining open access to individual articles on its website (http://tos.org/oceanography/ issues/archive.html). We are pleased at the relatively high percentage of TOS members, 35% to 45%, who access the electronic editions, though that figure doesn’t tell us how many people actually paged through, let alone read, any particular articles. Most of these users download the full PDF or view the magazine in a browser, in roughly equal proportions. What is surprising, however, is how few people download the iPad version of any issue (generally around eight, give or take), and virtually no one accesses the Android version (two to three for most issues).
With so much of our readership downloading a digital version of Oceanography, it is surprising how few comments we have received about this service. In particular, it would be very helpful to hear from our iPad and Android community—both those who have used the Oceanography app to read the magazine and those who have such devices but choose not to use these apps—what you like and don’t like. Is there something about the apps that makes them cumbersome to use for reading the magazine? Is the print too small on these devices? Are the magazine files too big to download efficiently? Are the PDF and browser versions easier to use and read so that there’s no need to access the magazine on smart devices? How do our versions compare with other journals?
We are not quite ready to go with electronic-only availability of Oceanography yet, though that possibility is always in the back of our minds because printing is a significant part of the expense of producing the magazine. In addition, the cost of mailing the hard copies has been escalating over the past several years while postal delivery has simultaneously slowed down noticeably. And of course, it would be good environmentally to get rid of paper copies. While electronic delivery of magazines, not to mention other media, has advanced enormously with improved applications and interfaces and faster download speeds, we are sensitive to the possibility of losing the two-thirds of our readers who don’t access the electronic version of Oceanography, as well as to our sponsors who use hard copies of the magazine to disseminate their programs’ accomplishments to broader audiences. It’s nice to be able to hand out a beautiful hard copy of the magazine, awkward when only digital copies are available.
We value your input on the electronic editions of Oceanography. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
– Ellen S. Kappel, Editor