This paper focuses on academic, scientific publishing, as a form of documentation and communication of scientific findings in the changing world of converging information and communication technologies. It assesses the current state of technologies and forms of publishing electronically, and future trends and possibilities. This is linked to a discussion of the nature of the publishing industry, its form in relation to economic issues in demand and supply within publishing and specifically electronic publishing in this area. The paper suggests that the recent policy document from the European Commission, Strategic Developments for the European Publishing Industry towards the Year 2000 may present a number of difficulties for the scientific publishing industry. This strategy outlines a number of possibilities for increasing the extent of electronic publishing. These possibilities conflict with the particular situation of scientific publishers, which are generally small businesses with limited resources and expertise, and without the financial stability to be able to set up or initiate electronic publishing. The analysis of the policy suggests that the publishing industry and its representatives may need to work more closely with small publishers, so that the infrastructure may be developed to overcome these problems for these exciting new technologies, and methods of utilising them for electronic publishing, exchange of information and communication, to be fully utilised.
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