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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2004. Electronic Scientific, Technical, and Medical Journal Publishing and Its Implications: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10969.
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2004. Electronic Scientific, Technical, and Medical Journal Publishing and Its Implications: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10969.
Page 8

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1 Introduction The main focus of this symposium was how different business and distribution models for scientific, technical, and medical (STM) informa- tion publishing are changing in the face of digital technology developments. How do the emerging models address the need of the scientific communi- ties for the widest possible long-term access to such information? In devel- oping the symposiums' program, the planning committee was mindful of the broad, ongoing changes in scientific research, funding, and goals-- changes that stimulate, and are stimulated by, new forms of scholarly com- munication. The challenge was to identify issues and problems that the STM communities need to control and resolve in order to exploit the re- markable and growing opportunities offered by the rapidly evolving com- puter and networking technologies. Indeed, the current situation can perhaps be described as a "chaos of concerns."1 The advances in digital technology are producing radical shifts in our ability to reproduce, distribute, control, and publish information. Yet, as these advances increasingly become an integral part of scientific activity, they tend to conflict with some of the existing practices, policies, and laws that govern traditional publishing. 1Portions of this Introduction are based on the keynote presentation by James Duderstadt, president emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering Millen- nium Project, University of Michigan. 7

8 ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING The issues are complex, in part, because the stakeholders are so many, so varied, and with different agendas. Those who fund research want to see that the information is advanced and made available to the public. The authors, reviewers, and part-time editors do not charge the publishers for their labor. They are motivated to contribute to the public good and to receive public recognition for their ideas, but of course they also have other rewards, not the least of which is tenure. The journal publishers, as inter- mediaries, while they do not pay for the material that they publish, do add significant value, and provide the scholarly output in a useable, published form. Libraries, similarly, provide an intermediary function by paying the increasingly expensive subscription fees, though they typically do not charge for subsequently providing access to the journals. And, of course, the end users--who are also primarily the originators of the STM journal litera- ture--either pay for their own personal subscriptions or obtain the resources free through libraries. All these stakeholders have their own needs and objectives in the evolv- ing process of scholarly communication, many of which are congruent, but some that now conflict, and all of which are being continually redefined by technological, institutional, financial, and other changes. Current uncer- tainties in the responsibilities for digital preservation and archiving func- tions are but one example of this. The symposium therefore provided a forum for identifying and discussing some of the key pressure points and areas of disagreement by bringing together expert representatives of these major stakeholder groups. The symposium began with speakers in the first two sessions examin- ing cost and revenue aspects of different business models in publishing from the perspectives of some of the main types of stakeholders in the STM publishing process. The third session provided a brief overview of legal issues in the production, dissemination, and use of STM journals, focusing on copyright and licensing by authors, universities, and publishers. Speakers in the next two sessions then looked toward the future, speculating about what publishing might be in the future and what constitutes publication in the digital environment. The final session provided the perspectives of several invited speakers on the symposium discussion. This summary high- lights many of the key issues identified during the course of the proceed- ings, in both the invited presentations and in the subsequent discussions with the expert audience.

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The Symposium on Electronic Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM) Journals and Its Implications addressed five key areas. The first two areas addressed--costs of publication and publication business models and revenue--focused on the STM publishing enterprise as it exists today and, in particular, how it has evolved since the advent of electronic publishing. The following section reviewed copyright and licensing issues of concern to the authors and to universities. The final two sessions looked toward the future, specifically, at what publishing may be in the future and what constitutes a publication in the digital environment.

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