The Routledge journal Shakespeare (ISSNs 1745-0918 Print, 1745-0926 Online) appears online every three months with an annual printed volume of four issues.
The electronic issues are identical to the printed volume, including in their pagination. Because the journal has a considerable backlog of accepted articles waiting for an available slot in an issue, it can take some time before they appear even in the electronic form.
The journal has decided to adopt a publication method known an 'Online First' in which articles are made available electronically even before they are assigned to an issue. In this method, articles are copy-edited, typeset and corrected as normal. They don't have their final pagination, but are in every other respect identical to the article that will eventually be published in an issue. Once online, the articles can be cited by their Digital Object Identifier (DOI) (a unique code findable online that remains the same throughout the life of the article), and when it comes time to publish the issue, the 'Online First' articles are replaced with the fully- paginated versions.
This means that authors' work is accessible sooner than before. Feedback from authors shows that it is increasingly important to publish quickly and ensure that articles are widely available. Publishing articles online earlier also increases the citation window, so it has a positive effect on impact factors.
For the purposes of the UK's Research Excellence Framework (REF) appearance in the 'Online First' stream counts as publication and such an article is returnable in the census.
Information on the journal and a link to the online submission system can be found at <http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rshk20/current>.