Click for next page ( 68

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 67
7 Symposium Wrap-Up MODERATOR'S OVERVIEW1 The changes in the publishing system that are being driven by online journals were discussed extensively throughout the symposium. There is a range of issues that requires close attention, some of which are summarized here. For instance, it is clear that the costs of online-only journals are less than print plus online. Nevertheless, print versions seem unlikely to be eliminated completely across all of STM publishing in the near future, and so the costs of a dual system persist for most publishers. There are economies of scale that tend to favor publishers of large numbers of STM journals, and these economies are not available to small and mid-sized publishers. As a result, some cooperation and grouping of content have arisen within some sectors in order to mimic or replicate these economies. Recent mergers and acquisitions within the STM journal mar- ket have heightened smaller publishers' concerns about their longer term viability as independent entities. Most of the broad range of online busi- ness models are still quite experimental and seem likely to diversify and hybridize over time as the publishing system develops and new advances emerge. 1The Moderator's Overview was given by Mary Waltham, publishing consultant, and member of the steering committee for this symposium. 67

OCR for page 67
68 ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING With regard to archiving, questions remain about who will be respon- sible for the long-term preservation of journal content--publishers, na- tional libraries, or other third parties? What will be archived--all of the journal content or just the research content? Who will curate the journal archive and ensure it migrates to appropriate platforms as technology evolves? Who will pay? Filtering and quality control of the information were identified as be- ing central to the publishing process. In the future, with more open access to all types of information and data, who will provide reliable and consis- tent filtration and quality control, and who will pay for that? Increased online access results in increased usage of information. Speak- ers talked about the likelihood of publishing becoming a more disaggre- gated process with separate pieces of the continuum done by different groups--from content creation through dissemination. The journal as a package of information is not granular enough and so further unbundling of information is taking place. Customers and users want more granularity in the online environment than a journal issue represents. There also was discussion of who needs copyright as opposed to "wants it" or "uses it." Copyright is very dependent on both the author and the mission of the publisher with whom they may be working. Finally, the continuous online publishing process means that docu- ments may no longer be static but evolve through time because addition, annotation, and revision are simple. Interoperability and common stan- dards are essential to bring together and integrate information and to pro- vide a dynamic reference tool. Achieving integration is essential for making the optimal use of scientific information. A key point for publishers is, where do they add value to the publish- ing process, and is that value added where users and customers want it? The role of publishers must continue to change to meet the needs of the re- search community. The remainder of this Wrap-Up session highlighted a number of other key issues raised during the meeting from the perspective of a working scientist, a university administrator, and a librarian.

OCR for page 67
SYMPOSIUM WRAP-UP 69 REFLECTIONS OF A PRACTICING SCIENTIST2 Within the physics community at Stanford University online journal access has already replaced print. Open access to scientific information ap- pears to be the next inevitable step. It is what the academic community is now looking for and will finally insist on, although getting to that point will not be simple. This transition will generate tension, which will require strong and well-informed leadership to ensure that ultimately that tension is creative for science and those involved with it. STM journal publishing will not go away; rather, the current changes in the system are forcing a closer examination of where value is added in the process and what the alternatives are. New modes of value added develop rapidly online, and some of these will persist. The efficiency of information transfer is enhanced by online formats-- it is faster and there is more of it--but this is not an ultimate good without increased understanding as distinct from knowledge and acquisition of facts. Although the current online tools enable rapid access, they do not by them- selves improve or accelerate the ability to form good judgments. Students, in particular, struggle with trying to understand research materials. Overall, however, the implications of electronic publishing have not received suffi- cient attention in the scientific and university communities. PERSPECTIVES OF A UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATOR3 Discussions about the future of journal publishing and its models have two crucial elements. The first element of a new system is that it will drive costs out of the old system, although electronic publication of course is not cost free. Recovering those costs and sharing them in an equitable and sus- tainable manner are separate issues, however, and the second key element. The open-access movement tends to shift costs away from the user and toward the producer of information. The experience in subscription-based journal publishing over the past 15-20 years has demonstrated that among the features of high-priced journals is a form of quality control. When university libraries cut their budgets for serials acquisition and reduce the 2 Malcolm Beasley, Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor of Applied Physics, Stanford University. 3 James O'Donnell, provost, Georgetown University, and cofounder in 1990 of the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, an online book review journal for classical studies.

OCR for page 67
70 ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING number of titles they acquire, they are exercising a form of quality control over what they will accept. If the "big deal" is fraying around the edges, that will transmit itself back to the publishers as news about which journals are to be sustained and which journals are not. The closing of print journals and the cutting back of titles by publishers over the past two decades have been achieved mainly as a result of publishers' mergers and acquisitions and the recognition that not every title is sustainable. Does the open-access model deliver superior quality over the commer- cial model? As one argues about business models and recovery of costs, it remains an open question whether a change in the system will improve or degrade the quality of scholarly communication. As long as that issue remains open, there is no forcing argument to use in favor of one model or the other. It is important, therefore, to continue to assess what the effects on quality of information, timeliness of access, and quality of peer review in the different models are. There is an emerging differentiation of the products that scholars, sci- entists, and publishers want to have supported. At least three different kinds of information were discussed at this symposium. At one end, there is the timeliest of information services, providing the linked news from the re- search front as rapidly as possible with little consideration for archiving or price, but simply getting the most recent results disseminated as fast as possible so that science can progress. At the other end of the life expectancy of that information is when it has become an artifact, something to be preserved, maintained, and sustained long after its commercial life, or per- haps even after its scientific life, has been exhausted. That first information service tends to be market based. That last arti- fact service is not market based at all, but is something done out of noblesse oblige for the greater good of the community. Between them there is a borderline area, where the information service itself needs to be mediated to those who have limited access to the market. An effective scientific, tech- nical, and medical information system will address inequities in the market and find places at the information table for those who do not have the market clout behind them. Understanding that differentiation of product, which is an increasing differentiation in the electronic environment, in- creasing not only among products but increasingly differentiated among disciplines, will be an important part of understanding what a new system of information can be like. It is time to begin disaggregating the scholarly and scientific publishing crisis, if there is one, into problems that can be addressed in rational and coherent kinds of ways.

OCR for page 67
SYMPOSIUM WRAP-UP 71 A RESEARCH LIBRARY VIEWPOINT4 The progress of science requires access both to raw material and to evaluated judgments and conclusions. It appears that the raw material and the evaluated conclusions coming out of scholarly research are bifurcating into two fairly distinct realms. One of them is a quite tightly controlled, often highly priced, peer-reviewed literature and the other is the minimally controlled, scholar-managed, open-access publication and database regime. Both environments present challenges to the universities. One could gener- alize from the symposium that some publishers are making every effort to increase control over the content that they publish and to expand their reach both in time and in format. The university perspective on the value chain of the process by which new information is created is very different from the value chain perspec- tive that one hears either from authors or from publishers. From the uni- versity perspective, the university builds the infrastructure and provides an opportunity for faculty to develop curricula and conduct research. The uni- versities attract and admit the students, especially the graduate students who also conduct some of the research and represent the next generation of the research community. The universities provide access to information at a cost that seems to them to be reasonable, as a percentage of their overall annual operating budget, and they delegate that responsibility to their re- search libraries. Not everyone in research libraries believes that the subscription model as a way of acquiring information is fundamentally broken. However, the costs to the libraries under the subscription model are in many cases con- sidered excessive, and the terms and conditions under which information is allowed to be disseminated and used on university campuses are onerous because licensing agreements control which subsets of a community can actually look at the information. It is the combination of the price and of the constraints on the information that represent problems in the system from the library perspective. Over the past 10 or 15 years publishers have developed independent business models, which do not have a symbiotic relationship with the uni- versity. It is in that environment that the costs have gone up and that the terms and conditions of use have changed. There is now a very clear bound- 4Ann Wolpert, director of libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

OCR for page 67
72 ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING ary between the universities and the publishers that capture the work that comes out of universities, evaluate the quality of that work, and publish it. The conundrum for universities has several dimensions. For many pub- lications, the costs are simply too high for the value received, and the li- censing conditions are problematic, in terms of what we can do, particu- larly with digital information when it is delivered to our campuses. The intellectual property environment is not only incomprehensible to the average faculty member and student, but it places what happens at universities at risk. Any legal regime that varies by circumstance is not a particularly useful one for the users. It seems clear that intellectual property law that is designed to meet the needs of the entertainment industry and the international publishing conglomerates is not particularly conducive to facilitating the needs of the academic community. It also is apparent that the functions of scholarly communication and publication are diverging. Traditionally, communication with colleagues was through publications; now it is quite clear that researchers, professors, and students can communicate outside of the formal publication record. The formal publication record is moving in many cases off to one side, which again affects the question of how much value we should put in the formal record of advances in a discipline, if in fact most of the communication is happening some other way. It is difficult to determine what reasonable standards and norms might be for the cost of peer-reviewed publication. Those costs vary tremendously, and we do not know what drives them. We also do not know what drives the cost of print as opposed to the electronic publication. So it is very hard for us to think logically without the kinds of norms and standards that one can get from most other industries. Finally, we do not know what new models of peer review and recogni- tion might be developed for open-source publications, which is an area that requires more attention.