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The impact of electronic publishing on library services and resources in the UK

2.8 Journal publishing

Many electronic bulletin boards are now accessible via networks, as discussed in the next section, and increasing numbers of so-called 'electronic journals' are joining them. These journals vary from barely moderated bulletin boards to systems which incorporate several of the features of conventional peer-reviewed journals. An indication of how seriously this form of publishing is being taken is given by recent proposals to form a consortium 'to help promote and shape the development of the Internet as a new medium for the publication of peer refereed research'(ref6).

Electronic publishing media have a range of characteristics that greatly increase their potential for disseminating and making flexible use of stored information. These same characteristics create concern for authors and publishers, for control of a work is less easily exercised in an electronic environment. Librarians recognise the need for authors and publishers to protect their intellectual property, while at the same time wishing to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new media. There is a need for librarians and rights owners to work together and agree reasonable conditions for promoting fair access to ideas and information held in the new formats.

In planning for the future, a number of points need to be taken into account, including quality standards, standard contracts and agreements, bibliographic control, subject access, and other requirements such as good supplier support and documentation. These are discussed in the next chapter.

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