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Re: E-Journals in the Era of Print Cancellations

I have a comment to make in answer to Tony Ferguson's experience of
faculty attitudes. My experience as a publisher is different from him as a

When Chapman & Hall (as it was then) started putting print journals online
in 1994/5 I addressed a lot of editorial boards. Their worries then were
overwhelmingly with security issues - would the content somehow leak away
over the Internet? There was an undercurrent of worry about devaluing the
content of the journal : would it be on the same level as the garbage that
characterizes the medium. The first of these worries is, I suspect, less
prevalent though the latter persists.

I do not know of any surveys which seek to explain why STM academics as
authors are so reluctant to offer their articles to peer-reviewed journals
which are electronic only. I do think there is still a visceral concern
that an electronic-only journal, even if recognised as serious and
properly peer-reviewed, is somehow inferior. But in my experience worries
about archiving is what is "presented" as a main concern by those who are
willing to talk.

I know the situation is much more complex than this but are we here
basically dealing with the split personality of academe as we (publishers
and librarians alike) know it, the different attitudes manifested by
faculty as users from those manifested by the faculty as authors?

I am personally very keen on e-journals, real e-journals, because they
should enable academics in many subjects to exploit the functionality of
the web to present their message in a more sophisticated and more
compelling way, because they facilitate linking through the literature,
and because they can reach more readers - and I wonder why academics do
not seem to recognise the opportunities presented...

-----Original Message-----
From: ferguson@columbia.edu <ferguson@columbia.edu>
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Date: 15 October 1998 05:08
Subject: Re: E-Journals in the Era of Print Cancellations

>I don't find our STM faculty are aware or worried about the archival
>issue.  They are concerned with the effective use of their time.  Until we
>get a critical mass of journals to look at, issues are archiving are off
>in the future.  Now we librarians have to worry about archiving, but given
>the e-journal animal is still evolving, and appears to be in its infant
>stage, I don't think we can secure any sort of solution yet.
>I am assuming that someday in the near future, when librarians are more
>pressed for money than at present, they will decide to cancel the print
>journals.  Of course many bound journals will be bound at the hip to the
>their electric counterparts.  But eventually as libraries subscribe to the
>electronic version only (if they want old issues they will pay document
>delivery charges to libraries someplace on earth that has paper), the
>publishers will start to charge extra for print and the non-equivalent
>(anyway) print version will disappear.
>Tony Ferguson, Columbia University