Scholarly communication and the continuum of electronic publishing

, and . J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci. 50 (10): 890--906 (1999)


Electronic publishing opportunities, manifested today in a variety of electronic journals and Web-based compendia, have captured the imagination of many scholars. These opportunities have also destabilized norms about the character of legitimate scholarly publishing in some fields. Unfortunately, much of the literature about scholarly e-publishing homogenizes the character of publishing. This article provides an analytical approach for evaluating disciplinary conventions and for proposing policies about scholarly e-publishing. We characterize three dimensions of scholarly publishing as a communicative practice—publicity, access, and trustworthiness—and examine several forms of paper and electronic publications in this framework. This analysis shows how the common claim that e-publishing ” substantially expands access” is oversimplified. It also indicates how peer reviewing (whether in paper or electronically) provides valuable functions for scholarly communication that are not effectively replaced by self-posting articles in electronic media.

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