Research Article

Just Roll with It? Rolling Volumes vs. Discrete Issues in Open Access Library and Information Science Journals

  • Jill Cirasella orcid logo (Mina Rees Library The Graduate Center, CUNY 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016)
  • Sally Bowdoin (Assistant Professor, Head of Serials, Brooklyn College, CUNY)


INTRODUCTION Articles in open access (OA) journals can be published on a rolling basis, as they become ready, or in complete, discrete issues. This study examines the prevalence of and reasons for rolling volumes vs. discrete issues among scholarly OA library and information science (LIS) journals based in the United States. METHODS A survey was distributed to journal editors, asking them about their publication model and their reasons for and satisfaction with that model. RESULTS Of the 21 responding journals, 12 publish in discrete issues, eight publish in rolling volumes, and one publishes in rolling volumes with an occasional special issue. Almost all editors, regardless of model, cited ease of workflow as a justification for their chosen publication model, suggesting that there is no single best workflow for all journals. However, while all rolling-volume editors reported being satisfied with their model, satisfaction was less universal among discrete-issue editors. DISCUSSION The unexpectedly high number of rolling-volume journals suggests that LIS journal editors are making forward-looking choices about publication models even though the topic has not been much addressed in the library literature. Further research is warranted; possibilities include expanding the study’s geographic scope, broadening the study to other disciplines, and investigating publication model trends across the entire scholarly OA universe. CONCLUSION Both because satisfaction is high among editors of rolling-volume journals and because readers and authors appreciate quick publication times, the rolling-volume model will likely become even more prevalent in coming years.

How to Cite:

Cirasella, J. & Bowdoin, S., (2013) “Just Roll with It? Rolling Volumes vs. Discrete Issues in Open Access Library and Information Science Journals”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 1(4), eP1086. doi:

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Published on
15 Aug 2013
Peer Reviewed