Sage upgrades online journal platform

Sage, an international publisher of medical journals, books and electronic media, is shifting all of its 560-plus titles onto a new platform hosted by Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press.

All of Sage's journals had a digital site prior to the transition, but the new platform will offer additional features and functionality for readers, and more online advertising real estate for marketers, according to Bob Vrooman, commercial sales director at Sage. Advertising sizes on the HighWire platform are larger, and conform to Internet Advertising Bureau standards. Ad placements include a leader board and a wide skyscraper, said Vrooman.

Sage opted to keep ads out of the PDF versions of its journal articles, to “provide the best online reading experience” for subscribers, and because pharma ads—with their characteristically long, opposite page safety information—can be “a little tricky” to present within a PDF, said Vrooman.      

Although Sage is experimenting with all-digital journals —World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery launched in April as an online-only title—Vrooman said Sage's primary model is still print and digital. “We have a few new journals slated for [online-only] launches, but the model is still new to us, and is in the experimental stage,” said Vrooman.

In 2009, Sage converted approximately 12 journals from print to online-only, but most of those were not medical journals, according to Vrooman. While most of Sage's subscribers outside of the medical division are libraries (rather than individuals), medical journals still attract individual physician subscribers, and “most MDs want the print option,” said Vrooman. “Typically, journals that still attract print advertisers, we'll keep [in print].”

In terms of journal advertising revenue, Vrooman said online is slowly increasing, but “until the tipping point happens,” the company will continue to launch journals in print.
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