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U.S. government journal improves its UX and 508 compliance

Migrating journals, archives, podcasts, and Chinese translations to Literatum

Challenge

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the institutes comprising the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), wanted to improve their readers’ online experience with their research content and make managing its delivery more efficient.

Their open-access, online-only flagship journal, Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), was hosted on WordPress. But its 45-year-old archive of nearly 500 issues was housed separately. Keeping both platforms compliant with security and government regulations was complex and time-consuming. Compliance with the United States’ “508” regulations that govern assistive technologies for users with disabilities was especially challenging.

Because WordPress is not designed to support scholarly content, journal article metadata that improves discoverability had to be applied manually. Deposits to Crossref and PubMed were manual as well. And WordPress’s incompatibility with the JATS XML content format reduced the journal’s effectiveness with Crossref. This limited citations, which in turn risked negatively affecting the journal’s impact factor.

Solution

Atypon designed a new publication website for NIEHS on Literatum, Atypon’s online publishing and website development platform. NIEHS now has a single site for all its content: the journal and archives as well as conference abstracts, a library of high-resolution podcasts, and full-text HTML versions of Chinese-language translations of journal articles. Literatum has made their content much easier to manage, discover, access, and use.

The new fully mobile-responsive, continuous-publication website was designed and launched in just eight months thanks to UX 3.0, Atypon’s streamlined design-and-build system for modern, consumerized websites.

Outcomes

For NIEHS: Reduced site management and better compliance

  • The site’s 508 accessibility compliance increased to 70 percent at launch. Work is in progress to achieve full compliance.
  • Page Builder, Literatum’s easy-to-use UI/UX design and site management tool, gives NIEHS complete control of their new website’s look, feel, and content.
  • Crossref and PubMed deposits were easily automated as a result of Literatum’s native support for JATS XML.

For researchers: A modern publication website with an improved user experience

  • An intuitive interface adapts automatically to all screen sizes.
  • Search results across all content types appear in a unified interface.
  • Real-time content suggestions are tailored to each user’s reading behavior.
  • “Most read,” “most cited,” and “related to” article recommendations are automatically displayed.
  • Figures are embedded in an article’s full-text HTML and displayed in a side panel.
  • Lists of citations, references, and media mentions, as well as links to related third-party content, are included on article pages.

Future development

NIEHS is considering the addition of a streaming video library as well as a preprint server that will let authors publish papers early to solicit feedback.

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