Re: Replies to questions about "electronic journals"

From: Thomas Bacher <>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 10:21:55 +0100

Are these answers correct? Let's be a bit more realistic

> Do you believe that electronic journals are more effective than print to
> disseminate research? If so, why?

> sh> Yes, much moreso, because:

> sh> (1) they can be disseminated to everyone, everywhere,
> sh> instantly (no advanced printing, no mailing), forever.

[I think that this should read: then can be disseminated to everyone
who has an e-mail account, internet access and the computational speed
to access the material, they can't be sent everywhere, they can be sent
instantly in most cases, but the material still needs to be vetted and

> sh> (2) they can all be accessed from a desktop (no walking to libraries)

[If you have the machine and network arrangement and the correct license

> sh> (3) they can be searched online, digitally

[Why is the word digitally here. But yes they can be searched in most
cases if formatted and indexed correctly.]

> sh> (4) they take up no space

[Absoulutely untrue. They take up space and more so as time goes on due
to the sophistication of the product, the images enclosed in the
product, and other miscellania. They also need to be archived like
print products.]

> sh> (5) they can be easily cut/paste/quote/commented

[Copied, falsified, distributed, plagarized, etc.]

> sh> (6) they can be printed-off only if needed (a lot of journal use
> sh> is just scanning/skimming: best done on-screen rather than on-paper)

[Usually they are printed off shifting the cost of printing from the
publisher to the user.]

> sh> (7) they can be reference-linked online to the online papers they cite
> sh> and are cited by (also to data and comments and responses and
> sh> corrections and updates): see

[As long as the links stay active and aren't changed.]

> sh> (8) the downloads, citations, and general "digital embryology" can be
> sh> used to develop rich, new "scientometric" measures of impact,
> sh> influence, time-course in the growth of knowledge: see:
> sh>

[In the best world scenario.]

> sh> (9) most important of all: all obsolete access/impact-barriers of the
> sh> costly on-paper medium can now be bypassed, and the refereed research
> sh> literature can all be freed online, through author auto-archiving:
> sh>
> sh>

[As long as authors cooperate and don't feel they need to be paid for
their work, as long as standards are maintained, and as long as the
have nots are given computers free of charge by the haves. If this were
the case, it would already have happened.]

The issue is much more complex than described in this utopian hyperbole.

Thomas Bacher, Director, Purdue Press
1207 SCC-E, W. Lafayette, IN 47907-1207
(765)494-2038 Fax: (765)496-2442
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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