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Sociological Research Online was launched in March 1996 and is the result of a consortium chaired by Professor Nigel Gilbert at the University of Surrey, and includes the Universities of Surrey and Stirling, the British Sociological Association and SAGE Publications Ltd. The journal is currently edited by Steven Roberts and Charlie Walker (Monash University and University of Southampton) who are supported by an Editorial Board reflecting a wide range of sociological interests and representing a number of sociological departments.

Initially, Sociological Research Online was funded by the Electronic Libraries Programme. This programme was set up as a direct result of the Follett Report, chaired by Sir Brian Follett (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick), which studied the continuing revolution in electronic information. The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), which established and oversees the Electronic Libraries Programme, called for expressions of interest in 1994. Sociological Research Online is one of nearly 40 projects which won funding. Many of the bids were for parallel publishing projects, to reproduce established journals electronically, but Sociological Research Online is an online only journal which can publish papers which make use of the visual advantages of an online format as well as more conventional papers.

Aims of the Journal

The journal was very much involved in research into how electronic journals are best created, used and financed. This included issues to be explored, such as systems of referencing, the distribution of articles and notions of copyright.

Articles in Sociological Research Online apply sociological analysis to a wide range of topics in order to demonstrate the value and relevance of sociology today. In particular, the journal encourages articles which take advantage of the possibilities of multimedia. Articles are fully peer reviewed, as with paper journals.

Advantages of an Electronic journal include faster times to publication, less cost and opportunities for new formats, including giving readers direct access to original quantitative, audio and video data.