Twelve leading scientific and scholarly publishers are collaborating on a reference-linking initiative that will change the way scientists use the internet for research.
The initiative will allow researchers to move easily from a reference in one journal article to the content of another, typically located on a different server and published by a different company or organisation.
About three million articles will be linked through the service from the first quarter of 2000, and more than 500,000 articles will be added each year.
The system will enhance the efficiency of browsing and reading primary scientific and scholarly literature because readers will be able to gain access to logically related articles with one or two clicks of a mouse.
The service will be run from a central facility managed by an elected board that will operate in cooperation with the International Digital Object Identifier Foundation. The service will contain a limited set of metadata, allowing the journal content and links to remain distributed at publishers' sites.
Each publisher will set its own access standards, determining what content is available to the researcher following a link.
The publishers involved are: Academic Press; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the American Institute of Physics; the Association for Computing Machinery; Blackwell Science; Elsevier Science; the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Kluwer
Academic; Nature (Macmillan); Oxford University Press; Springer-Verlag; and John Wiley and
The service is being organised as a non-profit entity to safeguard the independence of each participating publisher.
It is based on a prototype developed by Wiley and Academic Press, developed in cooperation with the IDOIF and builds on work by the Association of American Publishers and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. It takes advantage of IDOIF standards, other worldwide web standards and latest internet technology.
Science publisher Richard Nicholson said: "This reference-linking service marks the natural progression in online publishing by science journals."