Re: status of electronic journals

Tue, 25 Jun 1996 14:17:30 -0500

On Tue, 25 Jun 1996, Steve Krause wrote:

> Sounds like an interesting conference, Victor.
> Now, my question is this: at what point do the economics of academic
> publishing _force_ journals to accept and join the electronic realm?

Interesting question and this was part of the discussion at RSA but only
in passing. What I *also* said in response to the question (Are e-journals
a threat to pulp journals?) was That the rising cost of paper (up 40%
about 2 years ago) and the same for postage (which is killing me) were the
threat to pulp publications! Everyone understood this, but of course did
not understand as someone does who has to pay the printer and post office.

I suspect what will happen first, which is happening!, is that large
presses will gobble up small journals. (Now think of the consequences of
that!!) A number of people have tried to buy P/T. My response was that
when I go, so goes the journal. I paraphrased some statement from
Napoleon: je suis les pre/texts! .)>= Those not purchased, because not
valued, will just fold. The economics of publishing is very interesting. I
am able to keep the thing going because I do all of the work. Everything
except of course print the thing and deliver it to each person. I
suspect, in the long run, there will always be paper products of some sort
or other, as long as there are people willing to pay the price.

Will P/T just disappear? Of course. Like all things, P/T will have, if not
already, served its purpose. In putting together *PRETEXT: Electra(Lite)*
we (Cyn Haynes and I) are going in a completely different direction,
though at first it will look, like so many other e-journals, like a
simulation of print. But one of the things we will be doing is spoofing
e-journals themselves .)>= The theme of pretext is always to stir the pot.

But the historic moment to wait for ... is that time when Libraries start
subscribing to E-journals. Then, and primarily then, publishing in them
will be seen as valuable. And a valid contribution to what we call
"scholarship" (!).

And therein will begin the decline of E-journals! (or so V thinks). This
answer is more than you asked for. Victor