The intrusion of ads

We are now used to seeing ads on web pages, and it seems quite normal. In fact, occasionally, they are even interesting or useful. And Google is certainly working hard to make them even more so.

Tom Wilson has published Information Research for many years ...

Information Research, is an open access, international, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal, dedicated to making accessible the results of research across a wide range of information-related disciplines. It is privately published and edited by Professor T.D. Wilson. It is hosted, and given technical support, by Lund University Libraries, Sweden. Editorial support is provided by the Swedish School of Library and Information Science, Gothenburg University and Högskolan i Borås. [Information Research: an international electronic journal. Information science, Information management, Information systems, Information retrieval, Digital libraries, Information seeking behaviour, Information seeking behavior, World Wide Web, WWW]

I occasionally look at it. It has carried ads on issue contents pages for a little while. In the current issue the location of the ads has changed: they are level with the contents on the right hand side of the page.

For some reason, I find these very intrusive and inappropriate. I am not quite sure why. It may partly be to do with the contrast between the blues, but this only contributes to the uneasiness, it does not create it. And it is probably difficult to offer ads which are in line with the article contents. However, call me old-fashioned, but I guess my main concern is that the table of contents of a research journal doesn't seem like the place to view ads.

[Of course, I am not saying that Tom should not do this. He does a lot of work and has real costs.]

Comments: 3

Mar 31, 2009
Joy Palmer

Does not sit well w/ critical digital literacy either -- students are taught that ads on online scholarly content are likely indicators that the content might not be trustworthy. (not a foolproof metric, of course).

I also wonder if the quality/type and placement of the ads is more the issue here, not the use of advertising in itself. Tough one -- like you say, support revenue has to be brought in from somewhere.

Mar 31, 2009
Owen Stephens

Don't some print journals carry advertising? I'm not sure advertising is inherently bad in academic journals - although I imagine you'd want to be careful with what was being advertised (especially contextual advertising, as this could result in an article critical of something being accompanied by an advert for the same thing)

I guess you need to ask whether the advertising affects the contents of the journal? Also if the things being advertised are compatible with the journals 'ethos'.

Mar 31, 2009
Lorcan Dempsey

Yep. Thinking about it, I wonder if part of it is that the ads are not actually very relevant.