Online First Pre-publication

For Select Journals, Series, and Conference Proceedings

What is Online First?

Online First is a form of pre-publication access offered by PDC for select journals, series, and other publications. Forthcoming articles that have been formatted and corrected by PDC’s production team are made available online prior to final review and publication in a particular issue. The first page of the article is freely visible to anyone. Full access is available only to authorized users and subscribers.

Purpose of Online First

Articles that are published Online First can reach potential readers more quickly than the traditional publication cycle. Articles that are complete can be made accessible while production work on other material continues. Researchers can get faster access to the latest research and authors are able to present their results more quickly. This can mean increased usage and exposure, which benefits each journal as well.

Who has access to Online First articles?

Full access to these articles is available to each journal’s subscribers or authorized users. Free access is limited to abstracts, citation information, and the first page of each article.

How to cite Online First articles

An article published Online First can be cited using the author, title, journal, date of online publication, and the digital object identifier (DOI). The DOI is a permanent locator for a document online. A web address might change but a DOI for a given document always remains the same. PDC registers DOIs and data for each Online First document with CrossRef ( to facilitate permanent linking. After publication of the issue containing the article, new data is provided to CrossRef for this article. The DOI remains the same.

The DOI in a citation to an Online First article will automatically point to the final version of the article after publication of the issue. This final version – the Version of Record – can always be located using the DOI from on Online First citation.

What is the Version of Record?

When an issue is completed each article receives complete bibliographic data, including volume, issue, date, and page range. The DOI remains the same. The published version of the article with this information is the Version of Record. Citations to the Online First article will automatically be directed to the main page of the final Version of Record. This final version will be the version found when linking to the DOI.

The pre-publication Online First version of the article remains listed with its original date of publication on the journal’s Online First page. The Version of Record can always be found after final publication by following the DOI.

Is the Online First article identical to the Version of Record?

In most cases, yes. The only change between the two will be the addition of volume, issue, date, and page range. The Online First version has already been proofed and is generally ready for final publication.

In some cases, however, minor errors may be found and corrections made prior to final publication of the issue. The published Version of Record should always be consulted as the authoritative version of each article.

If a change has to be made after final publication of the Version of Record, that change will be identified with an Erratum notice. See our CrossMark policy page for PDC’s policies regarding possible removal or retraction of an article after final publication.

Can PDC provide this service for any journal?

Yes. The only requirement is that the journal’s production work flow or printing arrangements be managed by PDC’s production team. Please contact Greg Swope at gswope[@] for more information.

Can my journal choose not to participate in Online First?

Yes. Participation in Online First is optional. If your journal or sponsoring organization is uncertain about which forms of online access it wants to permit, we can help you develop the right plan to suit your need.

Is there additional cost to my journal for Online First access?

No. If PDC manages the production work flow for your journal there is no additional cost. Contact Greg Swope at gswope[@] for more information about PDC production work.

Updated December 9, 2013