Science Article on Electronic Publishing among Physicists

Dave Kristofferson kristoff at NET.BIO.NET
Thu Mar 4 19:49:31 EST 1993

So no one has commented on the 26 Feb '93 issue of Science, p.
1246-1248 yet???  I thought those of us out here on the edge of the
U.S. teetering on the brink of falling into the Pacific were the last
to get our journals 8-)?!?

There's a very interesting article on the use of a bulletin board
system to circulate preprints among physicists.  Coincidentally, John
Garavelli suggested recently that we start a newsgroup for circulating
prepublication abstracts (the Science article clearly states the the
physicists are currently violating copyright laws 8-).  This seems
like an idea whose time has come, and I'd like to get a gauge of the
reaction to such an idea.  Because of the copyright restrictions I
don't think that we can legally get into the game described in Science
and there are two other drawbacks unique to biologists.  The article
mentioned that the physicists are all using the TeX word processing
system as an interchange standard.  I doubt if there is such similar
unanimity among biologists based on a survey that we did earlier on
BIO-JOURNALS/bionet.journals.contents (MS Word is probably in far more
common use in this community but it is not overwhelming).  Secondly,
biologists probably have the need to distribute high resolution
illustrations such as micrographs and gel photos, etc., far more often
that do physicists.  I think the various journals would be far more
likely to cooperate, i.e., not sue someone 8-), if circulation was
limited to the abstract including an address by which a person could
get a reprint.  If the author wishes to send out electronic copies of
the manuscript in response to requests generated by the abstracts,
then the legal question would lie in their lap 8-).

Comments??  A general usage group such as this would not need a
discussion leader.  I would be happy to get it up and running if there
is some sentiment that it would be useful.


				Dave Kristofferson
				BIOSCI/bionet Manager

				kristoff at

P.S. - Unfortunately nowhere in the Science article is there any
mention of what other scientists outside of physics are doing on the
net 8-(.

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