Re: The Urgent Need to Plan a Stable Transition

From: Arthur Smith <apsmith_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 17:27:17 -0400

Well, I do have some work to get done here - I think I've said just about
everything I need to in previous posts. One final note on the "trade" book

Stevan Harnad questioned:
>(Less rigorous peer review in journals than books? Which journals?
>Which books?)

I actually wasn't specifically meaning peer review, just review in general.
A scholarly work is probably read closely by an average of 1 person
other than the author(s) prior to publication (higher for some journals,
but less than that for some too...). For the 10% of books written that
actually get published by a respectable publisher (not a vanity press) the
number of close readings is surely considerable higher, since the rejection
rate is so much higher for books than for scholarly articles. I'm
getting the 10% number from friends I know who have written books and
tried to get them published, and from an interesting article on electronic
books (and publishers' reaction to them) in Salon magazine:

I think the transition from print book to electronic book publishing
will also be very interesting. It's possible it may have a
strong influence on our notions about electronic journals.
The two forms of publication may well merge - what after all is the
difference between a long electronic scholarly article and a short
electronic scholarly book, other than the context a publisher puts
around it?

The future definitely has much in store that we cannot yet conceive.
But what we can see, whether merely possible or "inevitable", we
should plan for - I'm certainly looking forward to the Science and Nature
articles Stevan Harnad mentioned (will they be available free online?)

          Arthur (
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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