Electronic Expectations: Science Journals on the Web

Philip Calvert (Victoria University of Wellington)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




Calvert, P. (2000), "Electronic Expectations: Science Journals on the Web", Online Information Review, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 329-344. https://doi.org/10.1108/oir.2000.24.4.329.2



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This is a very useful addition to the literature on electronic publishing and electronic journals. Stankus is obviously a well‐read and sensible thinker on this subject, and he has managed to avoid being drawn in by some of the more barmy ideas that have been floated in the LIS literature on this subject. It is heartening to find a serials librarian who refuses to adopt the facile stance of publisher bashing or subscription agent mugging.

Stankus seems to me to provide a very balanced description of journal publishing during a time of instability caused by the emergence of new technologies. “For‐profit” publishers have always been much more entrepreneurial than learned societies or university presses, and what is more, they know a thing or two about science, journal editing and the flow of scientific information. That combination means they will react more quickly to the emergence of new science disciplines and are always ready to start new titles on demand. University presses, usually staffed by book‐loving arts people, will not provide the answer to the “problem” of scientific journal price increases, and Stankus explains why. Personally, if my university administration decided to use library funding to cross‐subsidise the university press publishing science journals I would be surprised and very concerned.

There are chapters here on the future of publishers, of aggregators, and on the technologies available for electronic publication. They are all, without exception, full of useful information and sensible comment. Serials librarians may find that it is the last chapter that gives them the most practical information. This is described as “Stankus’ judgement of the most important titles in certain basic sciences and selected areas of medicine and engineering” with their current Web addresses and ranked within their primary subject category. Stankus also provides a very lengthy bibliography on electronic publishing and electronic journals, though curiously it appears at the end of Chapter 1.

The fact that this monograph is conceived and written almost entirely by one author gives it a coherence and consistency that is often lacking in Haworth publications. It is a useful addition to the literature on electronic publishing and should be purchased by all libraries supporting an LIS programme, by serials librarians interested in the direction that journal publishing may take, and by those looking for specific information on publishing and acquiring electronic journals.

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