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RE: Question about open access and print

A few things I fell confident about:

individuals will continue to subscribe to the journals they want 
to read privately, and libraries will subscribe to the journals 
their patronswant to read in the library. Such journals certainly 
include Nature, and Science, and the news magazines in each 
academic field. This might amount to about 1% of the titles now 
published--this much at least will continue. I am confident of 
nothing further.

I hope their publication will continue to be in paper as well as 
electronic, but this depends on future technological developments 
and personal preferences. Even now one has the choice.

Other journals are not read and never have been. They serve as a 
source for producing photocopy or printout, or for downloading 
individual items, or in the pre-photocopy period, taking notes on 
individual articles. This activity can be provided for in many 
ways, and I haven't the least idea which will prevail, or which 
is best (these are not necessarily identical) . It probably will 
not be the present one, because of its known dysfuntionality.

Some people say that we can't do better, but I know what I hope 
for, which is an article database with journal and other 
overlays. If anyone claims to actually know, just convert that to 
a personal fancy, similar to my own.

Given my own fancied ideal, quality control would be in the hands 
of the people who select the overlays. It seems simplest to think 
of them as virtual journals, with conventional journal editorial 
boards and conventional peer review, but this may merely be my 
inadequate imagination.

Books? Books that people want to read will continue in whatever 
form people want. There was a period when most fiction was 
published as periodicals. I like paperback-sized books, but 
technology will permit customization. It does even now.

Books containing articles that people want only to copy, or 
conference proceeding serving the same purpose, have no more 
intrinsic reason to exist in physical form than journals. The 
articles go into whatever system one imagines for articles. 
Conference programs have yet to find a good format.

How this will be financed and organized cannot yet be usefully 
discussed, as proven by the level of current discussions. How we 
will make the transition is similarly unknown. I personally guess 
that it will be by the catastrophic collapse of most journals as 
libraries stop buying them. Whether or not one likes this is 
hardly relevant.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University