How do I cite an early-access article, and how do I cite it when it is later published?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
An early-access article—also called an article published before print or an article published ahead of print, among other names—is an article that is slated for inclusion in a journal but posted on a publisher’s website in final, edited form ahead of the full issue. When you cite such an article, list the publication details provided on the site for the early-access version. As always, follow the MLA format template.
In most cases, list the author or authors, title of the article, title of the journal, and the date the article was published online. In a second container, list the name of the publisher’s website on which the article appears and the DOI for the article. The following example shows a citation for an early-access article published on the Sage Journals website:
Kormelink, Tim Groot, and Irene Costera Meijer. “Material and Sensory Dimensions of Everyday News Use.” Media, Culture, and Society, 5 Feb. 2019. Sage Journals, doi:10.1177/0163443718810910.
If you are citing the same article once the full journal issue is available on the same website, include the publication details for the issue, as shown in the example below:
Kormelink, Tim Groot, and Irene Costera Meijer. “Material and Sensory Dimensions of Everyday News Use.” Media, Culture, and Society, vol. 41, no. 5, 1 July 2019, pp. 637-53. Sage Journals,
Note that whereas the publication date for the early-access article is listed as “5 Feb. 2019,” the publication date for the article published in the journal is listed as “1 July 2019″—the date the entire issue was published. Also note that although the DOI of an early-access article does not typically change once it is published, publishers’ practices vary, so be sure to provide the DOI listed for the version of the article you consult.