Electronic publication

Wed Oct 3 15:58:34 EST 1990

     I have actually discussed the possibility of electronic publishing with
several publishers of paper journals.  They are very interested in the idea,
but have no idea of how to proceed.  The problems with cost recover and
distribution are part of the difficulty.  Let me raise a couple of interesting
ideas.  I am not necessarily recommending these ideas, but merely pointing out
some interesting possibilities.  Hopefully, this will generate some

* Costs could be (partially) recovered by having electronic advertising in the 
  published electronic journal.  Advertisers would pay as they do now. 
  would see the advertising when the look at the journal (as they do now).
* Readers could go to an online BBoard and read the table of contents of the 
  journal (after seeing the electronic ads?).  If papers are of interest, they 
  could be downloaded and a fee charged to the user.
* If hypermedia links could be implemented, it should be possible to have 
  references in the text of the paper actually link to the referenced paper 
  itself.  Clicking the reference in the text of the paper with a mouse would 
  then open another window containing the referenced paper.  Obviously, this
  take many years and many electronic publications to become at all feasible,
  it might be an important long range goal.
* Again, utilizing hypermedia techniques, it would be interesting to allow
  (refereed) comments to be attached to the published paper.  These comments
  notes could be accessed as in the last point with a mouse.  For example, I 
  might attach a comment to text in the paper suggesting an alternative 
  interpretation of the data; the authors of the paper may attach new data at
  later date that relates to the original paper (or at least attach a pointer
  a newer paper).  Thus the original publication can be considered dynamic. 
  old data always will be there, but will be put in the context of more recent 
  information and will benefit :) from comments of knowledgeable readers.
* The previous point raises the question of what constitutes a paper and 
  therefore what constitutes authorship.  If I attach to a published paper a 4 
  page comment that contains experimental data and interpretive text, do I get 
  "credit" for a publication?  Should the original authors be co-authors on
  added "comment"? etc.

                                        Bob Gross
                                        Biology & Molecular Genetics
                                        Dartmouth College

                                        bob.gross at dartmouth.edu

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