Technical reports and journal articles are both used to report the results of research and development projects. There are differences between the two that are driven by the objectives of each form of reporting.
The primary objective of journal articles is to report results of experimental and/or theoretical scientific investigations to enhance the body of scientific knowledge. This is the primary way that (1) science advances and (2) the scientific community communicates among its members and practitioners. Typically, there are space limitations prescribed by the journal publisher that limit the length of journal articles usually to only a few pages. Journal articles are almost always subjected to a rigorous peer review process before they are accepted for publication.
The main objective of technical reports is to document the research findings together with the approaches and techniques to inform the research process. Unlike journal articles, technical reports face no space limitation. At OSTI, our technical reports range from a few pages in length to several hundred and average 60 pages in length. The content is more under the control of the author(s) and is rarely subject to peer review beyond that which the author(s) or their institution(s) may seek.
A commonality between electronic technical reports and journal articles is the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to uniquely identify each document. DOIs are used to ease the referencing of a technical report or a journal article in downstream publications. The advantage of using a DOI for a document is that it is a permanent identifier that will ride with the document even though the document’s location and other metadata may change. Referring to an online document by its DOI thus...Read more...