The Journal of Extension -

August 2010 // Volume 48 // Number 4 // Editorial // 4ED1

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Getting Better All the Time: JOE Site Enhancements

"Getting Better All the Time: JOE Site Enhancements" describes recent improvements to the JOE site. "August JOE" highlights four of 32 excellent articles and describes a few of the themes running through the issue.

Laura Hoelscher
Editor, Journal of Extension
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Getting Better All the Time: JOE Site Enhancements

The JOE site's gotten even better in several ways recently.

Ethics of Scholarly Publishing

I hope you noticed that my last two Editor's Pages dealt with JOE copyright policy, with the ethics of scholarly publishing, and with ethical ways to get more than one article from the same research: "Copyright Rules" (April) and "Article(s) & Research" (June). I wrote them to educate those JOE readers unfamiliar with the conventions of scholarly publishing and to underscore how seriously JOE takes them.

Those two Editor's Pages have been added to the Help for JOE Authors page, where they join all of the other material designed to help JOE authors prepare better articles. We've also added a paragraph to the JOE Submission Guidelines to make our policy as clear as possible:

Articles submitted to JOE must be the sole, original work of the author(s) listed, must not have been previously published, and must have been submitted only to JOE. At the end of the process, when the editor notifies corresponding authors that their articles have been accepted for publication in JOE, they will be instructed to fill out a form affirming compliance with JOE's copyright policy. Authors unfamiliar with copyright policy should see "Copyright Rules." Authors interested in a discussion of ethical ways to get more than one article from the same research should see "Article(s) & Research."

Now there should be no excuses.

Lively Keywords

A couple of years ago, JOE started requiring authors to provide a list of no more than five keywords or key phrases with their article submissions. Since the February 2009 issue, those words or phrases have appeared beneath the abstracts of published JOE articles. They're quite useful. They provide another way for readers to get a sense of the article they're about to read (or not), and they're what bring an article "up" when users search JOE.

Well those keywords and key phrases have become even more useful. They're now "live." That is, starting with the April 2010 issue, readers can click on the keywords and key phrases under the abstracts and immediately be shown a list of related JOE articles. Pretty neat—and helpful.

Easier Sharing

Ohio State's Brian Freytag, JOE Web Developer and the guy responsible for animating those keywords and for the entire JOE site, isn't stopping in his efforts to improve the site and the journal. He's made it even easier for readers to share articles they find interesting with colleagues they think will also benefit from them.

Besides the "Share" box that's been in the upper right corner of JOE articles for awhile now, he's also added "retweet" and "Like" boxes immediately below the author names, allowing readers to immediately share articles via Twitter and Facebook, respectively.

An intriguing side benefit of this great addition to JOE articles is that the number of people who retweet or like articles is displayed. For example, if you were to go to "Farmer, Agent, and Specialist Perspectives on Preferences for Learning Among Today's Farmers" in the June 2010 issue, you'd see that, as of August 23, 2010, two people retweeted the article and five people liked it. (Nobody has retweeted my June Editor's Page, but at least one lone individual liked it.)

Now this feature is certainly no indicator of an article's quality or even of its popularity overall, but it does indicate an article's popularity with the subset of JOE readers who use Twitter and Facebook. And, over time, that subset should grow larger.

By the way, that feature will stay live—continue to function—after the articles have been archived in Back Issues, demonstrating how JOE articles keep speaking to new readers over the years. Should be an interesting thing to watch.

August JOE

Lots of the articles in the August issue, as in previous issues, address the need for Extension to not only maintain but flourish in the 21st century.

The Commentary, "Extension's Role in Preparing Youth for the Workforce: A Challenge to Extension Professionals," is not the only article in the issue that deals with Extension's role in workforce preparedness or with Extension's responsibility to serve an expanding number of clients.

The first Feature, "Creating the Capacity for Organizational Change: Personnel Participation and Receptivity to Change," is certainly not the only article that looks inward at Extension, itself, in order to better prepare Extension staff for "a climate of continuous change" and for ways to improve our service to our clients.

And the last Feature, "Using Web-Hosted Surveys to Obtain Responses from Extension Clients: A Cautionary Tale," is very definitely not the only article that deals with how we should deal with information technology. I count more than 10.

Among a rich array of Tools of the Trade articles, I'm singling out "Timber Supply Fundamentals for Extension Forestry Professionals." It's so lucid about a complex and specialized topic that even I understood it and found it interesting. The author tells us, "as biomass issues become more common," to "notice how the term 'timber supply' is used and misused" and rightly says that, "if you consider this discussion, you can avoid misusing the term."

Four out of 32 articles that demonstrate how good JOE is and how good Extension professionals are at doing and sharing their work.