End-of-98 thoughts

From: Marvin Margoshes <physchem_at_EARTHLINK.NET>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 14:01:00 -0400

Here are my thoughts as we reach the end of the September Forum:

Online scholarly publishing is young and growing. It has two
characteristics that ensure that it will substantially replace print
journals. Most importantly, it is a richer medium for conveying
information. Secondly, it is less costly than printing and mailing, and the
cost gap is getting larger.

There are some disadvantages to online publishing. Perhaps the most
important is the lack of means for long-term archiving. Also, it is less
convenient by far to read from a screen than from a page, especially when
what is on the screen is the image of a printed page. The second
disadvantage will become less important as display technology improves and
the display no longer mimics a printed page.

Scientists can be conservative in their habits, and very many are reluctant
to give up the familiar printed page. As online publications make more use
of their advanced abilities to convey information, scientists will rely less
on printed journals. In my view, the transition from print-dominance to
online-dominance will take five to ten years.
Those on this Forum who have advocated steps to force a more rapid
transition have not, in my opinion, made a compelling case for haste.

The initial question for this Forum was "who will pay"? No consensus has
emerged, and I don't think there need be. The experiments with various
pricing modes will give the answer.

The defect with this Forum was that the most important players in scholarly
publishing weren't well represented. I mean the authors and readers, not
the editors, publishers, and librarians.

Marvin Margoshes
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:28 GMT