Condensed Print Format

My boss has pointed out this piece of news covered by C&EN. Apparently, starting from July, all ACS journals will be printed in a “rotated and condensed” format, that is two pages on one printed page in landscape format. This is an effort to reduce printing and distribution costs.

In my opinion, this change is just one further step towards purely electronic journals that are not printed at all. I think this will deeply affect the way we present our data and how we look at formatting. Preparing a manuscript in a way meant for printing is different from one which will never appear in print. Some may welcome this change because it saves paper, others will probably miss the possibility of flicking through a new issue of JACS. Although I rarely go to the library to pick up a printed journal, I admit to reading printouts very often (see this post).

Update: Apparently, in 2010 the print versions will stop completely, with the exception of JACS, Acc. Chem. Res. and Chem. Rev. See also Nature News.



  1. Brandon Nordin says:

    Just a few FYI’s from an ACS insider:

    JACS is specifically excluded in this move to condensed print.

    The majority of our full text downloads are in PDF…although HTML is growing rapidly.

    We are looking at enhancing our print functionality (and design), for both Journal TOCs and full articles…as well as potentially introducing ability to highlight and annotate.

    With ACS journals XML tagged as part of the composition and editing process, reformatting on the fly for various device types from wide screen Macs to small hand-helds is an easily predicted future development.

    Brandon Nordin
    VP. Marketing, Sales and Web Innovation.

    P.S:Ultimately this move will save a Central Park sized chunk of forest per year.

    • “P.S:Ultimately this move will save a Central Park sized chunk of forest per year.”

      Wow, that is fantastic. All that from changing the magazine format to a flip book format.

      Not only do I get to feel like a five year old while reading science articles, I do it while saving forest? Awesome.

      I wonder how much we could save if we changed our textbooks to a similar format?

  2. I don’t understand? So I will have to rotate it by 90 degrees and read it like a flip book?

  3. I already print out JACS articles this way. Two pages to fit onto one print page. I think it is one of the things to blame for my worsening eyesight.

    I got an electronic book reader for this purpose, but the stupid thing couldn’t embiggen JACS articles correctly without deleting the figures. How hard is it to make software that works just like Adobe PDF reader for those things?

  4. Randy Winchester says:

    An important point that I got last week was left out:

    “Beginning in 2010, all individual ACS journal subscriptions will be available only as Web Editions: After December 31, 2009, individual print subscriptions will no longer be available. You may renew your current print journal subscription to the electronic Web Edition of the equivalent journal, at a special discounted price extended to ACS members. ”

    Why didn’t they include that in the original message?

  5. Tree hugger says:

    As to the comment about saving trees, it is debatable. I find people print out the journal rather than read it online and they tend to have to print multiple copies. Or they print because the university does not charge for printing and there are more copies printed than there were before, using less efficient technology.

    • The counter argument to that says printers are probably only printing the 2-5 articles they really want to read, instead of the whole journal. Thus even though the number of articles read on paper may not change significantly, the number of articles printed on paper should decrease fairly dramatically.

    • I find it a bit hypocritical to talk about saving trees when it’s obviously about saving money… or do you think it’s a coincidence that this move should happen in the middle of the economic crisis?

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