The modern-day scholarly publishing process involves the utilization of diverse online publishing tools and methods. The choice of the most efficient publishing tools depends directly upon the publisher’s goals. Is it flawless article design and appearance? Being easily discovered on the internet? Or maybe making the articles readable on all devices?
All of these goals can be achieved with a universally adopted academic publishing practice – publishing articles in full-text HTML format.
Before we dive deeper into the topic, let’s quickly run through two other common document file formats that are used during different stages of academic publishing but serve functionally different purposes than those of full-text HTML.
XML or Extensible Markup Language is used to encode documents in a way that makes them machine-readable. The XML format is crucial for processing the document’s metadata (publisher name, ISSN, article title, etc.) and structural parts of the article (headlines, figures, etc.). If you happen to have your whole article produced in full-text XML format, it can be automatically converted into HTML once you upload the document to your publishing platform.
Besides, having your journal’s metadata prepared in XML is one of the main requirements if you want to get your journal included in indexes and databases.
PDF is traditionally used during the final stage of the document preparation as it enables creating a stylistically complete and human-friendly article layout that is ready for print. However, as more and more journals prioritize their online presence and performance, PDF alone doesn’t always fit the bill when it comes to today’s digitally-driven publishing practices. This is why most publications are now being published in both PDF and HTML formats.
Better discoverability online. To reach the broadest possible audiences, every publisher needs to consider optimizing their journals’ articles for search engines. When it comes to improving your rankings on Google and Google Scholar, HTML is your best bet as it’s the most favored format by search engines. Content provided in a clean HTML code can be easily detected by the bots that index and rank the content in Google while PDF is optimized for Google rather poorly. As for XML, search engines can read XML files, however, this language is principally used for encoding an article’s metadata rather than the whole article.
Reader-friendly content. Another advantage of full-text HTML is that it’s both machine and human-friendly. That means better readability on all devices. PDF falls short in terms of comfortable readability as PDF pages are static while HTML documents can be built to have a responsive design.
Supports embedded visual elements. HTML format is able to support all kinds of content, including embedded images, tables, figures, even videos!
Easier reference linking and sharing. One of the main downsides of PDF is its static structure. Let’s say the paper’s author added a link to another article. What if the article’s destination URL changes at some point? In order to make adjustments in PDF documents, one has to go over the same process of editing the information in the original file and republishing the updated document. HTML allows the publisher of the article to just go back and adjust the URL. Moreover, HTML articles are much easier to share or open directly in the browser, while PDF files need to be downloaded in order to be opened.
Although HTML is one of the most widely used coding languages in the world, not every publisher has sufficient resources to prepare documents in full-text HTML format.
On the other hand, there’s no need to hire a skilled specialist in order to issue HTML publications. Instead, find a reliable publishing partner that provides high-quality Typesetting and Copyediting services and flawless document preparation in any desired format.
PubliMill is a journal publishing platform designed for small and medium publishers, university presses, and academic societies. It enables publishing and managing articles in a way that allows getting the most out of your content. It’s created to make the publishing process simple and uncomplicated while at the same time optimizing the content for better discoverability.
With PubliMill, you can publish articles in two ways: one, by uploading the PDF of the article and then manually entering the necessary meta-data. Two, by uploading a full-text XML file straight into the platform which will automatically turn it into a full-text HTML article. Both ways will ensure that your article is performing well online and helps you achieve your goals as a publisher.