Electronic Networks And Publications Research Paper

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Historically, the basis for scholarly communication has included a variety of publications, such as scholarly journals, newsletters, conference proceedings, monograph series, and books. Face-to-face communication took place via conferences, workshops, colloquia, and other events. Purely audio communication was primarily restricted to telephone communication and radio broadcast. Video and film captured image, speech, and event for live broadcast and delayed replay.

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However, electronic networks have expanded means of communication and publication, first via CD-ROM, local area networks, and since the early 1990s and later (depending on network development in the world) via global networks including the Internet. The Internet protocol enables digital communication via email, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), chat rooms for simultaneous, interactive electronic communication, and video conferencing for educational and consulting purposes. Publication can be instantaneous with the completion of a document, image, or data set by using hypertext formats (HTM, HTML), PDF, PostScript, or even text (ASCII) formats coupled with placement in the World Wide Web. Hypertext references allow linking between cited and related items. Electronic publishing (e-publishing) includes both self-publishing and refereed publishing in various forms directly on the Internet or in an electronic journal with access via the World Wide Web. Publishers of refereed and nonrefereed scholarly journals are increasingly pro-viding digitized versions parallel to the print journals, and new ‘digitally borne’ journals available only in electronic form (for instance Journal of Elec-tronic Publishing (http: //www.press.umich.edu/jep/), First Monday (http://www.firstmonday.org), Psy-choloquy (http://www.princeton.edu/harnad/psyc. html), and many more; NEWJOUR (http://gort./ucsd.edu/newjour/NewJourWel.html) has listed all new electronic journals since 1995; Charles Bailey also provides the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography with periodic updates at http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html; see also A Field Guide to Sources on, about and on the Internet: Electronic Publishing at http: //www.cc.emory.edu/WHSCL/electronic.publishing.html) are originating from scientists, learned societies, and university presses.

Electronic publication has permeated all fields of traditional publication formats: e-books, e-journals, e-zines, electronic proceedings, newsletters, electronic theses, and especially digitally prepared encyclopedias (see Pang 1998, Miller 1998) offer the added multi-dimensional aspects of integrated active hyperlinks between related concepts, articles, references, citations, graphs, and tables, as well as home pages of authors and institutions. This augments the linear reading and information-seeking methods of the past, provided that the objects ‘pointed’ or linked to are available in digital form. The hypertext format con-tributes to more efficient, timely, and economical revision especially evident in encyclopedias, multi-medial works, and complete websites built on the concept of combining information building blocks or content units to produce webpages by ‘spontaneous generation’ at user demand.

Similarly, a single work such as an article can become a ‘dynamic document’ which allows continuous additions, alterations, and comments also in the form of an attached discussion list. This procedure is changing the nature of the publishing paradigm both in the sense of a fixed ‘date of publication’ and in the finalized or ‘closed’ state of the information content in this work (examples of dynamic documents include the experimental journal Living Reviews in Relativity (http://www.livingreviews.org)).

The basis for digital connections are the electronic networks established within the framework of the Internet protocol (TCP IP) and expanded to its present state in the World Wide Web. Electronic networks began in the 1950s and were developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) particularly for military defense purposes well into the 1980s, with some academic institutions in the USA included by merit of their involvement in defense research. The ‘Internet’ was then opened to include higher-education institutions in the USA at the end of the 1980s, as well as other US research libraries and schools. As of 1991, other institutions could also use the Internet, including non-US educational institutions and commercial enterprises.

This created new possibilities for global communication, scientific exchange, and building of inter-national collaboratories, as well as enabling rapid dissemination of scientific results. The business world also recognized the potential of the Internet for e-commerce. Booksellers, publishers of all sorts, corporations providing educational programs, as well as other entrepreneurs, have developed business strategies which integrate the electronic communication and hypertext publication possibilities of the Internet. As a result of this development, certain aspects of free access to information, as supported by libraries world-wide, have been commercialized, and new questions of licensing and ownership of intellectual property have been raised. Issues of electronic piracy, copyright, and protection of intellectual property have taken on new dimensions and demand new techniques to assure quality control, validity, authenticity, and ownership rights.

Similarly, the economics of scholarly publishing, sometimes referred to as a ‘crisis in scholarly publishing,’ have promoted the transition to electronic publication. In particular, the US Coalition for Net-worked Information (CNI) (http://www.cni.org), established in 1990 as a result of the opening of the Internet to general academic institutions, has dedicated itself since its inception to the analysis of the system of scholarly communication and its transformation through the effects of networked information transmission. CNI-initiated cooperation between university libraries and commercial publishers resulted in the first electronic journals project, TULIP (The University Licensing Program), in which pricing models and availability of electronic journals were tested (see Lynch 1995).

The nature and scope of the Internet as a distributed information network challenges traditional tasks associated with libraries, free access to information, and also the author–publisher relationship. Issues of ‘access versus ownership’ of scholarly articles through restrictions of licensing agreements could make publishers’ servers the sole repositories of scholarly works. This also evokes a vehement controversy between certain segments of the academic community over ‘who owns scholarly publishing’ (Bacharach et al. 1998), Odlyzko (1995, 2001), Harnad (1995a), and others support the concept that the author and the author’s institution, having supported the research and researcher, ‘own’ the information and have the right to archive it on an institutional e-print server, as well as to offer it cost-free to the scientific world via the institutional server, the author’s homepage, or similar free-access mechanisms.

Thus, the original concept of ‘open’ access was synonymous with ‘cost-free’ access to information which is necessarily changing to access often with a price. Most publishers of electronic journals do not allow copies of the electronic files to be given to non- licensed users in the way that paper copies of non- subscribed journal articles were made available via interlibrary loan. Thus, certain aspects of scientific communication can no longer function without corresponding licensing agreements at the user’s institution or immediate payment (pay-per-view) via credit card.

In addition, scholars were often frustrated by long delays from the time of submission to time of publication. The ensuing conflict of interests within thescientific community has given way to the extensive participation in preprint servers and to self-publishing or ‘self-archiving’ (see Harnad 1995b). Originally based on FTP-Archives (Gardner 1990) for scientific articles, the first preprint server, the so-called ‘Ginsparg-Server,’ originally developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1991 by Paul Ginsparg to allow researchers in high-energy physics immediate access to scientific articles without the delay of peer-review and publication schedules. Since then, other subject-oriented eprint servers patterned after this server have evolved (NCSTRL, REpec, Cog-Prints, PhysNet, MathNet). In 1999, representatives from these servers plus representatives from research libraries and digital library initiatives in the USA met to discuss a cooperative project to create a retrieval mechanism for all eprint servers. Originally called the Universal Preprint Service (UPS), this evolved into the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) (http://www.openarchives.org) which has determined a standard set of metadata and a harvesting protocol for search and retrieval of the metadata from all participating eprint servers, including not only self-archived articles, but also electronic theses (see also the National Digital Library for Electronic Dissertations and Theses (http.//www.ndltd.org)) and other formats of electronic scholarly information.

Another response to the development in scholarly publishing is the increased participation of university libraries and learned societies in alternative initiatives such as SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (http://www.arl.org/SPARC/); see Johnson 1998, Rosenzweig 1999). Over 175 (at the beginning of 2000) research institutions, college and research libraries, consortia, and library associations from North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia in SPARC pool their resources to produce high-quality scholarly journals on a purely electronic basis. The intellectually high quality, but significantly cost-effective, scholarly journals created by this group challenge overpriced commercial competitor titles while preserving the academic tradition of quality through peer review.

Electronic publications have the potential of citation-linking from one electronic work to the full text referenced. This, however, has implications connected not only with standardization of technological markup, but also with cost and access to the full texts of the referenced works. ‘Click-through,’ or direct, access from a hyperlinked reference or concept in one electronic work in a publisher’s or institutional server to another server where the targeted item is stored may be inhibited by licensing regulations or be subject to conditions negotiated (or not negotiated) by the responsible institution.

As a results of such restrictions for education and scientific research, the US Government supported development in 1999 of several subject-oriented e-print servers, PubMed, PubScience, and Pub-Med-Central (http://www.nih.gov/about/director/pubmedcentral/pubmedcentral.htm). These developments, in addition to those evolving out of the scientific communities, challenge prevailing publishers’ policies for licensing scientific information while also providing mechanisms for free access to article information on a subject-based, as well as on a global and interdisciplinary, level.

To counteract this, about 25 publishers world-wide collaborated to develop the ‘Cross Ref’ service (http://www.crossref.org) which would allow reference-linking and click-through licensing agreements. This publishers’ consortium has determined a standard set of bibliographic, content, and naming values (Digital Object Identifier, metadata), a common navigation tool (search engine), and a pricing scheme to facilitate direct access via references to full texts in other publishers’ servers based on composite licensing agreements with all participating publishers or on a payment schemes (‘pay-per-view,’ ‘pay-per-print’) at point of use.

A major research study on the changing paradigms of scholarly publishing, the Open Journal Project, began in 1996 under the eLib Programme in Great Britain and has been expanded as of 2000 under the joint JISC–NSF International Digital Libraries Re-search Programme in the ‘Open Citation Project’ (http://opcit.eprints.org/). The ‘Open Citation Project’ will establish electronic reference links from 100,000 papers in the Los Alamos arXiv e-print server (http://arXiv.org) to the corresponding electronic full texts on other sites (publishers’ servers as well as other noncommercial sites). In conjunction with the Computer Research Repository (CoRR), a consider-able number of nonelectronic resources in the cited physics, mathematics, and computer science literature will be integrated, also demonstrating procedural aspects of connecting electronic and nonelectronic documents via citation-linking as an enhancement of the information value of electronic resources (see Hitchcock et al. 1998, 2000).

Electronic publication formats also have the potential for long-term archiving of scholarly publications combined with global access. In 1995, the Johns Hopkins University Press (JHUP) cooperated with the Milton S. Eisenhower Library with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize full-text scholarly journals from JHUP in the Project MUSE (http://muse.jhu.edu/muse.html). By 1999, 46 peer-reviewed JHUP journals in the humanities and the social sciences were available via a searchable database. This database will continue to be expanded to include all JHUP journals.

The JSTOR project (Journal Storage—The Scholarly Journal Archive), in which back volumes of journals in philosophy and the humanities have been digitized to facilitate electronic access and navigation, has developed a new, collaborative payment model (see Guthrie 1997a, 1997b). Member libraries pay an initial fee based on the size of the parent institution and number of students and faculty, as well as an annual fee for individual use. Thus, the consortium of library customers supplies the funds which allow continued maintenance of existing digitized journals, as well as seed-funding for systematic scanning, processing, and integration of further complete sets of other selected journals.

Standardized archiving procedures for scholarly publications in electronic form have not yet been achieved. The archival function of digitizing print volumes at key subject-oriented institutions can pro-vide the respective scientific community with an electronic repository of materials which the publishers would not find financially feasible to digitize. Further use of digitization and development of standardized metadata for digital preservation are incorporated in the CEDARS Project in Great Britain (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/cedars/) which addresses strategic, methodological, and practical issues of digital preservation of information resources. Various projects in Australia, the USA, Germany, and other countries are also working on these issues.

The quality of content management and information provision through electronic publishing in any format is dependent on a variety of new concepts: standardized metadata, licensing terms and conditions governing access, citation-linking, subject-specific search engines and archival servers, intellectual design, and new forms of visualization of scientific knowledge. Metadata initiatives (for instance, the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) (http://www-tei.uic.edu/orgs/tei), the Government Information Locator Service (GILS) (http://www.gils.net/), the Encoding Archival De-scription (EAD) (http://lcweb.loc.gov/ead/), and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) (http://lcweb.loc.gov/ead/) are some of the most notable; see also the IFLA Electronic Resources Bibliography: for ‘Digital libraries: Metadata resources’ (http://www.ifla.org/II/metadata.htm)) parallel traditional library cataloging categories while accommodating new meta-information needs for resource discovery, search and retrieval, access and availability schemes for digital and non-digital items. Various projects, such as the Electronic Text Center of the University of Virginia or the Gutenberg Project (a world-wide collaboratory for digitizing literary classics and making them available in electronic format), were in-strumental in promoting the transition from print to electronic texts and creating text-mark-up metadata schemes. Other metadata schemes implement structures for payment and access models (terms and conditions), and facilitate processing of remuneration and payment channeling of artist’s honoraries or performance fees to the appropriate recipients, for instance in the fields of music and art (e.g., the Interoperability of Data in e-Commerce Systems).

Studies on the acceptance and use of electronic publications show that the natural and biomedical science communities demonstrate greater acceptance and frequency of use of electronic-information re-sources (see The International Coalition of Library Consortia 1998, Rusch-Feja and Siebeky 1999). The social and behavioral sciences are less accepting of electronic resources due to often substantially longer articles and later integration of computers in these fields. There are also cognitive and behavioral reasons relating to qualitative assessment of use and acceptance of electronic information resources. Further research on digital presentation of scientific results, visualization techniques, and design aspects to heighten readability of electronic resources and render ease of interpretation of complex data sets, especially in the natural sciences, can be expected in the coming years. New developments in information retrieval and search precision, automated collection of metadata, and personalized information brokers in complex information portals will add value to electronic publications which surpasses that of print equivalents and will create new dimensions for electronic publishing and scholarly information in a networked environment.


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