This paper provides an extensive survey of the recent literature on scholarly publishing and its conversion to the electronic medium. It then presents the results of a questionnaire survey of the UK‐based scholarly publishing industry. The results of this survey suggest that the publishers are moving quickly towards the use of the Internet as a major medium for the distribution of their products, though they do not expect an early print publication. They also do not expect that any alternative system, based on scholars providing their results free of charge at the point of use, will seriously threaten the future of the commercial scholarly publisher. They do, however, perceive several significant difficulties in the near future. These include a shortage of appropriately trained staff, uncertainties about pricing mechanisms, lack of adequate budgetary provision by universities for library purchases, and unrealistic expectations on the part of scholars that electronic information should be inexpensive.
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