If electronic networks generate distribution mechanisms capable of undermining the traditional model of publishing, what are the implications for established copyright practices? Seeks to answer this question from the viewpoint of academic authorship, in particular that of the academic who chooses journals as vehicles in which to disseminate ideas and research results. Regards the surrender of copyright by academic authors to their publishers as an exchange which benefits both parties: publishers got to fill their learned journals, and academics had their work distributed to a far wider readership than could otherwise have been reached ‐ until very recently. The Internet and its continued growth present academic authors with desktop access to what is potentially the greatest distribution network in existence. Concludes by considering the future of journal publishing and copyright in the electronic domain, and offers reasons for guarded optimism about the roles of both publishers and libraries in the light of two viable models of electronic journal publishing ‐ project ELVYN and project MUSE.
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