How NOT to design a journal site

Lately I’ve been searching the web sites of various scientific journals for interesting papers … and it’s a mixed experience. Some have very good search capabilities that quickly give you the results – including title, abstract, bibliographic info (please remember to include BibTeX!!), links to full papers, etc. Others are less enjoyable, requiring you to manually scan the titles/abstracts to find the interesting stuff … not fun but workable.

Others make things a little bit more complicated. First of all make the page design really busy so that it takes quite some time to find out if it is possible to search the publication or not. Then, and here comes the best part, list the results with a link to the full paper, and a two line summary that shows your search words in context.

What’s wrong with that? Well, if you click that link you will discover that you need to have a subscription to be able to download the full article … that’s OK, I can just take a quick look at the title and abstract and … but wait there is no reference from which article this summary came, none whatsoever!!!!

So here I’m sitting with a potentially interesting paper but I have no possibility to figure out the title of the paper, what it’s about or who the author is!!! It’s so stupid that I really can’t believe it.

To figure out if this article was interesting, it wasn’t, I had to search the HTML source file for each volume-numer (one page for each) for a link that matched the link from my search results … not what I call a user friendly site.