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Understanding what a journal is aggregator and learning to access their content according to major fields of study
Last Updated: Jul 8, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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  • Big deal  
  • Embargo  
  • Full text  
  • News aggregator  
  • Open Archives  
  • Scholarly publishing  

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The world of scholarly journals

The world of scholarly e-journals is one that is complex and is undergoing rapid development.

The terms journal aggregator, portal, web platform or journal aggregation can all be used to refer to e-journal groupings.



The term journal aggregator refers to a database of e-journals that are available online and may or may not already exist in print.

Journal aggregators group journals either by topic or based on an editorial criterion. This trend is the result of the concentration of actors within the scholarly publishing industry (e.g. Elsevier or Wiley). The number of journals available in a journal aggregator varies greatly (from 50 to 2,500, in the case of Elsevier ScienceDirect).

By pooling what they have on offer, the various e-journal websites can provide full-text access with a variety of display and search services (current awareness, search history, Marked Lists, customisation, etc.).

Homepage of the Oxford Journal.


Several dissemination models

Journal aggregators can be private or public, free or subscription-based.

The business model implemented by most journal aggregators is that of the subscription, with a licence being issued by the database producer.

From a commercial point of view, the big deal approach implies a "tied selling" phenomenon whereby it is impossible to subscribe to only one journal. This practice compels libraries to subscribe to an entire set of journals including some that are seldom read and may even be useless.

However, some journal groupings are also made available by public institutions (such as the Ministry of Research or the CNRS in France) and learned societies (such as the American Chemical Society).

These are referred to as portals or web platforms. , Lisa Georges - Licence CC : BY-NC-SA.

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To cite this guide

Colnot, Agnès, Sainsot, Alain. "Les bouquets de revues". In UEB (Université Européenne de Bretagne). Form@doct. Rennes : UEB, January 2010 (last updated on 3 July 2013). Available at :


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