We are delighted to announce that the full archive of all papers published in The Journal of Experimental Biology is now available to everyone online, with all papers older than 6 months available for free.
Anyone browsing through The Journal of Experimental Biology's website over the past few months may have noticed the expansion. Over a period of weeks in late 2005, the number of volumes on the website mushroomed from 36 to 209, increasing the journal's online coverage from 13 years of material,dating from 1992, to over 80 years, all the way back to Volume 1 Page 1,published in October 1923. In the process, we have digitised 87 114 pages of text and figures, comprising almost 4500 papers. But what is more, it is now possible to search the entire back catalogue of JEB with HighWire Press's search engine, opening up a world of literature on your desktop that was hitherto available only if you walked through the doors of a library.
When I joined JEB in 2001, I remember Bob Boutilier, the then Editor-in-Chief, talking about his dream of archiving the entire journal on a freely accessible website. Fortunately, Bob wasn't faced with the main obstacle confronting most large volume scanning projects, finding copies of every issue ever printed, because he already had access to an almost complete set of volumes. Ever since 1926, when the editorial office was established in Cambridge University's Zoology Department, the office had received a copy of each issue of the journal. Although six had been misplaced in the intervening years, the office had gathered an almost intact collection. In 2004, we began working with HighWire Press to arrange scanning the 180 kg of journals stored in Cambridge, and we finally uploaded the majority of the electronic archive to the website in November 2005.
But soon after the preliminary archive went live, we discovered a problem;papers were inexplicably missing. It soon became clear that gaps had been introduced during the automated uploading process; we were soon being inundated with website user queries about the gaps. Fortunately, HighWire Press were able to identify the missing papers and restore the missing data to the Internet.
Finally, the Central Science Library in Cambridge helped us to complete the archive by supplying the six missing journals. The final 1361 pages were scanned by the University Library, and the archive was completed, 82 years after the journal's original launch.
Of course, many people have contributed to this project along the way,helping me to track down missing volumes and suggesting alternatives when I couldn't find solutions to problems. Fran Steck, of HighWire Press, has been the journal's point of contact during the lengthy course of this project,deftly managing the scanning and Internet uploading procedures from her base in the USA. We are grateful to Fran for all her help. We would also like to thank Jerry Bye at the University Library in Cambridge, who scanned the final six missing volumes, and Simon Goose from the Central Science Library, who kindly lent the volumes for scanning.
Knowing how many enquiries I received requesting papers that weren't available on the Web, I'm sure this is a long-awaited resource that will be much valued and appreciated by the integrative biology community. Bob's dream is finally complete.