Electronic biology journal?

Don Gilbert gilbertd at silver.ucs.indiana.edu
Fri Mar 9 20:52:20 EST 1990

The editors of a specialty biology journal, Drosophila Information 
Service, are considering converting it from paper to electronic.
Would anyone who has experience or views on the feasibility and
desirability of an electronic biology journal please comment?

The background is this:  DIS generally runs notes, techniques, and
short research reports for fruit fly researchers.  There are similar
rags for mouse, yeast, etc.  One of the prime uses of this journal
has been publishing fly genetic stock information, which now works
better as electronic database files than paper.  It has been an 
annual publication in the past, running about 200 pages with about
150 notes and reports. It would benefit from a more timely
release schedule (quarterly or so).

My opinion is that, given editors to collect and prepare the notes,
a combination electronic newsgroup and archive would suit the 
needs of an electronic journal.  It is unlikely that subscribers
would want the entire contents funneled thru their e-mail boxes,
but table of contents and possibly abstracts could be distributed
to subscribers as a newsgroup or e-mail list.  Full contents of reports
could be placed in an archive that would serve people wanting the
details of an article.
There is definite need for making some pictures as well as text 
available.  I believe that viewers for GIF graphics files are widely 
and freely available for most popular microcomputers, and this would
probably serve.

Access to the electronic/network media would be a problem for some
of those who would like to read it, but it seems to me that this
is a chicken-egg situation -- existence of electronic journals would
spur users.

Don Gilbert  biocomputing office   /  archive for
gilbertd at iubio.bio.indiana.edu    /  molecular & general biology
biology dept., indiana univ.,    /  ftp iubio.bio.indiana.edu  
bloomington, in 47405, usa      /  ( user anonymous 

More information about the Bioforum mailing list