Articles on e-publication, 1992-1999

Note: From 1996 through 1999, I maintained this page to provide links to significant articles on Web access to journal articles. I stopped adding to the page for these two reasons: (1) Many of the relevant items were finally in the pages of Science and Nature. This gave them the readership they deserved but prevented them from being freely Web accessible. (2) In September 1998, in conjunction with publishing my article on the subject, American Scientist initiated an e-forum on free access to journal articles. Since then, this forum, moderated by Steve Harnad, has become the best place to learn the latest happenings and viewpoints relative to Web access to journal articles.--TJW.

Fee vs. free in online research: : commercial publishers form a PubMedCentral alternative. The Scientist 13(24) [Web-published] (6 December 1999).
by Paul Smaglik

Twelve scientific publishers have joined together to provide an electronic linking service that could serve as a paid alternative to PubMedCentral....

Journals online: PubMed Central and Beyond [a debate]. BioMedNet, issue 61 (3 Sep 1999).
with Harold Varmus (NIH), Mary Waltham (Nature), Michele Hogan (Director, American Association of
Immunologists), Karen Hunter (Elsevier), Paul Ginsparg (creator, Los Alamos e-print archiv), and Vitek Tracz (CEO, Current Science Group) [Synopsis by Lois Wingerson]

Consider that on average, the total library budget (including staff) is less than 4% of a university's budget. Of that 4%, less than one quarter (or 1%) is spent on serials. And, if you were to squeeze all the profit out of that 1%, you could reduce that by perhaps one quarter of 1%. In other words, all of the complaining about journals pricing comes down to less than one quarter of 1% of a university's budget. The question that should be addressed is, Where is the rest of the money being spent, and why do libraries have such a low priority on campus?”--Karen Hunter

And from the physicists' point of view, the biologists frequently seem an exceedingly timid group, having ceded direct control over their research results to parties not always acting in their interests. (For instance, exerting stringent copyright control that might limit readership, enforcing embargoes to limit prior disclosure and discussion, and sometimes placing other obstacles in the path of research communication).”--Paul Ginsparg

PubMed Central: An NIH-operated site for electronic distribution of life science research projects. Web-published

(30 Aug 1999).

Peer-reviewed reports will be provided to PubMed Central from participating publishers and societies that have mediated the review process. The submission of content to PubMed Central can occur at any time after acceptance for publication, at the discretion of the participants. Although early deposition offers the greatest benefit to the scientific community, we recognize the concerns of publishers about financial consequences of rapid submission and will welcome content submitted at any time.

In order to facilitate participation in this initiative, some of the expenses associated with publication may shift from readers to authors. As they do with journal subscriptions, page charges, and reprints, NIH grantees (and those of other funding agencies) may choose to use funds to pay any additional expenses, e.g., submission and document preparation charges.

British journal and Stanford plan an 'e-print' server for biomedical research. Chronicle of Higher Education (30 June 1999). by Goldie Blumenstyk

Officials of the journal, the BMJ, say the site is designed to break the hammerlock that journal publishers have on the dissemination of scholarly information. And by allowing authors to publish electronic versions of their journal preprints -- articles that have not been formally published -- the new 'e-print' server could also help get important new research into the public domain more quickly, the editors say.

Science publishing evolves: Tangled in the Web. The Scientist 13(12) [Web-published] (7 June 1999).
by Paul Smaglik

It's going to be a preprint service. It's going to be a reprint repository. It's going to kill off society journals. It's going to save them. It's going to compete with commercial titles. It's going to complement them. There appears to be no consensus on the effect of E-biomed, a potential government-backed electronic publishing service proposed by Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health, will have on other journals--both paper and electronic.

Prolegomena to any future e-publishing model. Pages 293-298 in Redefining the Information Chain, New Ways and Voices, ICCC/IFIP Electronic Publishing Conference, Ronneby, Sweden, ICCC Publishing (May 1999).
by John W. T. Smith

It has been assumed by many considering the design of new publishing models that all the roles of the paper journal would need to be played by one organisation (the publisher?) in any net-based replacement. Now we know this is not necessarily the case we can consider more distributed models-and distributed models map much more neatly onto the underlying structure of the net.”

E-BIOMED: A proposal for electronic publications in the biomedical sciences. Web-published draft (5 May 1999).
by Harold Varmus, Director of NIH

In this essay, we propose a system for electronic publication of new results and ideas in the biomedical sciences. We do this with the conviction that such means of publication can accelerate the dissemination of information, enrich the reading experience, deepen discussions among scientists, reduce frustrations with traditional mechanisms for publication, and save substantial sums of public and private money.”

“Copyright to reports posted in E-biomed would be retained by the authors, with the provision that intact versions would be freely available for transmission, downloading, and publication.

NIH plan brings global electronic journal a step nearer reality. Nature 397: 735 (29 Apr 1999).
by Declan Butler

Authors would retain their copyright, with papers being available freely from the archive

Impact of the Internet on Entomological Research. Portion of an article submitted to Annual
Review of Entomology (vol. 45, 2000) by J. T. Zenger and T. J. Walker.
by T.J. Walker

At least seven forces favor eventual free access to Web-posted journal articles.

Scholar’s Forum: A New Model For Scholarly Communication. Web-published article (March 1999).
by A.M. Buck, R.C. Flagan and B. Coles, California Institute of Technology.

The centerpiece of this proposal is a document database that incorporates and builds on important features derived from Paul Ginsparg's highly successful physics preprint server. Begun in 1991 and today comprising nearly 100,000 records in physics and related disciplines, demonstrates the viability of a large electronic archive that supports alerting services, automated hyperlink referencing, indexing, searching, and archiving.

Moving with dispatch to resolve the scholarly communication crisis: from here to NEAR.
ARL Newsletter Issue 202 (Feb. 1999).
by David E. Shulenburger, Provost, University of Kansas

At present, essentially all scholarly journals require that all rights to copyright pass from the author to the journal when a manuscript is accepted for publication. In this proposal, only the exclusive right to journal publication of the manuscript would pass to the journal. The author would retain the right to have the manuscript included in the National Electronic Article Repository (NEAR) ninety days after it appears in the journal.

The writing is on the Web for science journals in print. Nature 397: 195-200 (21 Jan 1999).
by Declan Butler

The Internet revolution is injecting more competition into publishing and giving power back to scientists and learned societies.

Competition and cooperation: Libraries and publishers in the transition to electronic scholarly journals.
Web published article (19 Jan 1999).
by Andrew Odlyzko

The infamous ‘journal crisis’ is more a library cost crisis that a publishing pricing problem, with internal library cost much higher than the amount spent on purchasing books and journals. Therefore publishers may be able to retain or even increase their revenues and profits, while at the same time providing a superior service.

The evolving genre of electronic theses and dissertations. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (7 Jan 1999).
by Gail McMillan, Edward Fox, and John L. Eaton, Virginia Tech

Some publishers are beginning to exert somewhat less control by allowing students to release access to their ETDs [electronic theses and dissertations] after their articles have been published in traditional academic journals…. Universities are, of course, simultaneously appalled at the idea of commercial entities telling them what they can and cannot do with the research conducted within the academy.

The invisible hand of peer review. Nature [online], 5 Nov. 1998.
[Harnad has also posted a longer version.]
by Stevan Hernad.

The refereed journal literature needs to be freed from both paper and associated costs, but not from the process of peer review whose ‘invisible hand’ is what maintains its quality.

Intellectual property: Who should own scientific papers? Science 281: 1459-1460 (4 Sep 1998).
[S. Harnad has posted excerpts and comments.]
by S. Bachrach, S.R. Berry, M. Blume, T. von Foerster, A. Fowler, P. Ginsparg, S. Heller, N. Kestner, A. Odlyzko, A. Okerson, R. Wigington, & A. Moffat

The suggested policy is this: Federal agencies that fund research should recommend (or even require) as a condition of funding that the copyrights of articles or other works describing research that has been supported by those agencies remain with the author.

Free Internet access to traditional journals. American Scientist 86(5): 463-471. (1998)
by T.J. Walker

Can scientists find ways to share published research results without high cost? The experiences of one society suggest it can be done cheaply, even profitably.

The American Scientist forum on this topic attracted 146 subscribers and numerous postings.

A PowerPoint97 slide set of the author’s version of figures 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 is here made available by the copyright holder with no restrictions whatsoever [629 KB]. (Two of the slides include CorelDraw! clip art, which may be re-used by others according to (liberal) policies that are distributed with the CorelDraw! program.)

Reforming scholarly publishing in the sciences: a librarian perspective. Notices AMS 45: 475-486.
(April 1998)
by Joseph J. Branin and Mary Case

Scholarly publishing may be a precarious occupation, but to librarians publishers seem to end up in control of this cycle, with the ownership of scholarship and with the right to sell it as a commodity.”

By placing ownership of publications outside the circle of the academy, scholars run the risk of making their works unaffordable and unavailable to research libraries.”

To publish and perish. Policy Perspectives 7(4): 1-12 (March 1998)
based on a national meeting of presidents, chief academic officers, and librarians of major North American research universities, co-sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Universities, and the Pew Higher Education Roundtable

A moment of opportunity is at hand, occasioned by the potential for peer-reviewed electronic publishing and a sense of desperation spawned by runaway acquisition costs. Missing this opportunity will mean more rapidly accelerating costs, greater commercial control, and, in the end, less access to scholarly communications.”

The economics of electronic journals. Pages 380-393 in R. Ekman and R. Quandt, eds. Technology and
scholarly communication. Univ. Calif. Press. (1999) [earlier versions e-published in Aug. 1997 and Sep. 1998]
by Andrew Odlyzko

Scholarly publishing is a public good, paid for largely (although often indirectly) by taxpayers, students’ parents, and donors.”

However, the transition is likely to be complicated, since the scholarly publishing business is full of inertia and perverse economic incentives.”

As Andy Grove of Intel points out, any time anything important changes in a business by a factor of 10, it is necessary to rethink the whole enterprise. Ginsparg’s server lowers costs by about two orders of magnitude, not just one.”

The future of scientific journals: free access or pay per view? April 1998 draft, with hyperlinks.
(Pre-print of article published in American Entomologist, Fall 1998, 44(3): 135-138.)
by Thomas J. Walker

Researchers have always wanted all interested persons to have convenient access to their published results and have been willing to pay for it. Until now, the best they could do was to publish in widely circulated journals and to buy and mail paper copies of their articles. The advent of Web distribution offers a near-perfect solution that is affordable.”

ARL promotes competition through SPARC: the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition.
ARL Newsletter 196 (Feb 1998).
by Mary Case

The conditions of the scientific and scholarly publishing marketplace make it impossible for higher education to sustain library budgets on a scale sufficient to keep up with increasing prices and the level of output. At the same time, access to and use of digital information resources could be restricted by legislative attempts to expand the copyright holders’ control over access to intellectual property..”

A provost challenges his faculty to keep copyright on journal articles. Chronicle of Higher Education
(18 Sep 1998).
by Lisa Guernsey.

Why should colleges pay publishers to gain access to work produced on the campus?

On-line journals and financial fire-walls. Nature 395: 127-128 (10 Sep 1998).
[Harnad has also posted an expanded version.]
by Steven Harnad

But the biggest brake on progress is still surely the reluctance of authors to entrust their work to a new, unproven medium in place of the one that has served them faithfully for centuries.

Print vs. the Internet: the future of the scientific journal. Insectarium Virtual (1998).
by José A. Mari Mutt

The initial resistance of authors, the apprehension of journal producers worried about losing subscriptions, the desire of commercial publishers to continue generating good profits, and the worries of libraries faced with the task of handling electronic journals, have originated a parallel system in which serials are published simultaneously in both media.

Science and communication: an author/editor/user’s perspective on the transition from paper to electronic publishing.
Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship (1998)
by Vincent H. Resh

The main issue of the transition from paper to electronic publishing comes down to a simple fact: scientific journals are most intensely read by young researchers, but decisions about how these journals communicate information are made by much older editors. Thus, changes are being made according to the perceptions of the producers rather than what the consumers need, expect, and are ready to use.

SGML and PDF-Why we need both. J. Electronic Publ.
by Bill Kasdorf

SGML is all about structure and meaning, and has little or nothing to do with appearance; PDF is all about appearance, and has little or nothing to do with structure and meaning.

On the future of scholarly journals. Editorial, Science 279 (17 Apr 1998): 359.
[If you aren’t a subscriber to Science and to Science Online ($12 extra), you will not be allowed to use this link.]
by A. M. Edelson

To realize the fullest benefits of electronic publishing for the user, publishers must be willing to open their archives to pay-per-view via the Internet...

Free access is affordable”, a letter submitted to Science on 1 May 1998 in response to
Edelson’s editorial. (not accepted)
by Thomas J. Walker

Economic cost models of scientific scholarly journals... Pages __-__ in . Economics, real costs and benefits of
electronic publishing in science - a technical study. Proceedings of ICSU Press Workshop, Keble College, Oxford, UK, 31 March to 2 April 1998. (in press, 1998)
by D.W. King and Carol Tenopir

We have chosen to divide these [publishing] activities into five functions: article processing, non-article processing, journal reproduction, distribution and publishing support.”

Electronic publishing takes journals into a new realm. Chemical & Engineering News
18 May 1998: 10-18
by Sophie L. Wilkinson

Older articles

Learned inquiry and the net: the role of peer review, peer commentary and copyright. (September 1997)
by Stevan Hernad

The French expression for copyright is “droit d’auteur,” “author’s rights.”

All-or-none: no stable hybrid or half-way solutions for launching the learned periodical literature into the PostGutenberg Galaxy. Pages 18-27 in I. Butterworth, ed. The impact of electronic publishing on the academic community.
Portland Press, London. (April 1997).
by Stevan Hernad and Matt Hemus

...[the magazine] SCIENCE carries both trade articles written by their staff science journalists for a fee, and research reports written by scientists for free. ... It is not overstating it to say that if the authors of these nontrade articles could BUY their way into the pages of Science, they would be prepared to pay sizeable sums to do so!

...the learned author is as well-served by the levy of a charge for access to his work as an advertiser would be if potential clients had to pay to read his adverts.”

The electronic future of scientific journals. Illustrated web-published article, with links to relevant
literature (September 1997).
by Thomas J. Walker

Going digital. Scientific American 276(3):58-60. (March 1997)
by Michael Lesk

Winners and losers in the global research village. Invited contribution for Conference held at
UNESCO HQ, Paris, 19-23 Feb 1996.
by Paul Ginsparg

[the present system] is premised on a paper medium that was difficult to produce, difficult to distribute, difficult to archive, and difficult to duplicate—a medium that hence required numerous local redistribution points in the form of research libraries. The electronic medium shares none of these features....

Ownership of faculty works and university copyright policy. ARL, a Bimonthly Newsletter Of Research
Library Issues And Actions No. 189. (December 1996)
by Clark Shores

Electronic reprints—Segueing into electronic publication of biological journals.
BioScience 45: 171. (March 1996)
by Thomas J. Walker

Tragic loss or good riddance? The impending demise of traditional scholarly journals (1994).
by Andrew M. Odlyzko

A subversive proposal. (1994)
by Stevan Harnad

University libraries and scholarly communication: a study prepared for the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation. Assoc. Research Libraries, Washington, DC. (1992)
by A. M. Cummings, M. L. Witte, W. G. Bowen, L. O. Lazarus, and R. H. Ekman

Last revised 26 April 1999.