First Monday - Lettters to the Editor
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First Monday - Lettters to the Editor

X-Sender: dubin@spot.colorado.edu
Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 13:17:21 -0700
To: Edward J. Valauskas ejv@uic.edu
From: Mark Dubin dubin@colorado.edu
Subject: Waiting for Thomas ...

Ed,

In reading your article in the December 'edition' of First Monday, I have the following thought. For relatively "conventional" types of scholarly presentations, your arguments are persuasive. (Although, the development of a really good electronic reading tablet might have a modest impact.) However, I hope and believe that as we as scholars discover the special affordances of hypertext/hypermedia, and as software tools that facilitate those affordances are developed, we will come to have something that is truly different electronically than is available via paper. How long until that is commonplace? I suspect a "generation" will be needed. Whether that is is "Net time" or human time is not clear, but I suspect that since humans are the users, it will be closer to human time.

- Prof. Mark Dubin
- MCD Biology, University of Colorado
- CB 347, Boulder, CO 80309-0347
- dubin@colorado.edu
- http://spot.colorado.edu/~dubin
- (303) 492-3491 (FAX 492-7722)

Reply

To: Mark Dubin dubin@colorado.edu
From: Edward J. Valauskas ejv@uic.edu
Subject: RE: Waiting for Thomas ...

Mark:

Thanks for your message.

It's difficult to imagine a complete transition from paper to electronic forms of scholarly communication, for every discipline. Some disciplines are more "sympathetic" to digital scholarship - like researchers in high-energy physics at CERN or the Fermi Lab - than historians or lawyers. Recent debates in the pages of First Monday demonstrate the reluctance of some areas to embrace electronic journals and other "new" media.

With improvements in Internet bandwidth and access, as well in Internet publishing tools, there indeed may be a point in the future where printed scholarly journals cease to exist. But I doubt it will be soon - in human time or Net time.

Best wishes,

Ed

Edward J. Valauskas
Internet Mechanics
Post Office Box 87636
Chicago, IL 60680-0636 USA
e-mail: ejv@uic.edu

Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 08:11:33 -0600 (CST)
From: Jay Woods
X-Sender: jwoods@radiks.net
To: valauskas@firstmonday.dk
Subject: Is an electronic scholarly journal radically different

I noticed in your discussion in:

http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue2_12/valauskas/index.html

that a couple of features that I hope for in electronic journals are missing. All of them revolve about making the article a dynamic entity rather than a static one. I would like to see the following:

  1. Forward bibliographic references to articles since publication especially articles that reference the example article.
  2. New notes concerning the validity of any hypotheses or facts presented in the example article.
  3. Pertinent comments on the analysis presented in the example article.
  4. Flags in the home page that there have been changes. In terms of your journal and your article as an example, flags in the following URLs:
    http://www.firstmonday.org/
    http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue2_12/index.html

The overall result would be to convert the example article from a snapshot of thinking on a particular subject rooted in past efforts to a node in a web of works. It would allow the scholar to traverse from any germane article to the latest work and reduce the mental shock of changes in working hypotheses at a major cost to the author of keeping touch with the subject and a minor cost to the journal of setting the flags and archiving the changes.

Jay Woods

Reply

From: Edward J. Valauskas
X-Sender: ejv@uic.edu
To: Jay Woods
jwoods@radiks.net
Subject: RE: Is an electronic scholarly journal radically different

Jay:

Thanks for your message.

Your suggestions are interesting. How would they exactly be done? Who would do them? There is a certain amount of work required to make an article "active" so whould the effort fall on the author, editor, or both? Could it be automated?

Best wishes,

Ed

Edward J. Valauskas
Internet Mechanics
Post Office Box 87636
Chicago, IL 60680-0636 USA
e-mail: ejv@uic.edu

Reply

Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 14:50:04 -0600 (CST)
From: Jay Woods
X-Sender: jwoods@radiks.net
To: valauskas@firstmonday.dk
Subject: Is an electronic scholarly journal radically different

Concerning forward referencing [ 1 ], I would expect that the author would be active in watching the literature for new references. In this he would be helped by other interested parties via e-mail and other forms of communication. After collecting an interesting number of references, they would be e-mailed to the editor for addition to the original document. Since the appending to the original is likely to be a standardized method, it should also be easy to automate.

Concerning attaching annotations based on forward references [ 2 ], again this is part of the author's effort and would be attached to the new references.

Concerning the flags that need to be set in the table of contents for the issue and in the volume/issue listings, I would expect that this would be done automatically also. The details depend on how the web pages are being generated at this time.

Jay

Notes

1. http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/ETD/road_epub.html

Andrew Odlyzko, "On the road to electronic publishing," April 15, 1996,

Free electronic journals have shown that it is possible to have high editorial and refereeing standards in an electronic format, together with various novel features, such as animation and forward referencing, which are possible only in the digital world.
2. gopher://gopher.lib.virginia.edu/00/alpha/mellon/part2/ch9.txt

"Electronic Publishing," from the Mellon Report.

However, the new technologies may well expand the review process and change its character, with preliminary versions of manuscripts being made available on a network for comment by interested readers. The author would then prepare a final version, incorporating any suggestions that seem to have particular merit.[16]

[16] Charlene S. Hurt and Sharon J. Rogers, "How Scholarly Communication Should Work in the 21st Century," _The Chronicle of Higher Education_ 36 (October 18, 1989):A56; Yavarkovsky, "University-based Electronic Publishing Network," 19. On the possibilities inherent in any kind of pre-publication scheme, see also n. 40.

[40] Gherman and Metz, "Serials Pricing," 323; Getz, "Electronic Publishing," 2. Earlier (p. 322), Gherman and Metz observed that "[t]here is nothing to stop commercial publishers from `prepublishing' solely in electronic form, and then selling the archival and canonical version of the same journal in print a year or so later. The paper version could quite likely contain modifications based on electronic dialogues between readers and authors of the original version." Gherman and Metz's observation expresses a concern about the possibility that commercial publishers might exploit one characteristic of electronic texts, their mutability, for economic gain. Implicit in their observation, however, is the further possibility that such texts might undergo many iterations, precisely because one can make changes with ease: the author's original text might be revised in light of the reviewers' comments; once the revised text is mounted on the network ("published"), subsequent readers' responses might be incorporated in yet another iteration. Here again, electronic technologies serve to challenge traditional distinctions; the peer review process could ultimately be only the first in a series of ongoing reviews of the text that result in new versions as new information comes to light and new perspectives serve to refine the arguments originally made. In this way scholarly exchanges would exploit the dynamic quality of electronic texts, which contrast with the fixity of printed texts."


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