|Table of Contents|
|Table of Contents|
Senders creating documents: authors
In pure science, researchers both publish and read articles, alternating the roles of sender and receiver.2.36 Authors are scientists who create scientific information and represent it in scientific articles, in the first main stage of the communication process. We assume that these scientists not only have research skills, but also have sufficient presentation skills, such as writing skills. They may be assisted by referees and editors.
We concentrate on what we assume to be the author's primary goal: the advancement of science. 2.37 This goal has two aspects: firstly, the author aims to add to the body of scientific knowledge, offering present and future colleagues information that they can use in their own research. Secondly, the author wants to advance his own research by soliciting feedback from colleagues.
In order to achieve this primary goal, the author has to achieve three interactional goals in the article: he has to 1) inform the receiver of his work, 2) convince him of its reliability, and 3) convince him of its relevance
Now, let us consider the requirements that must be fulfilled to allow the author to achieve his goals. The author's primary goal can be achieved only if the receiver's requirements for effective and efficient communication are met. Therefore, the author has to present the information in a clear and acceptable way when creating the document in the first stage. For that purpose, the standard format for articles has to be clear, so that the author understands how and where he has to represent the information. Furthermore, he needs appropriate tools and guidelines allowing him to present and encode, in a convenient way, all the information he considers relevant. This implies that the author should not be limited to textual or `printable' representations, or limited by restrictions with regard to the amount of information. It also implies that the author should not be obliged to do unnecessary work: if part of the information that the author wants to convey has already been presented, he has to be able to re-use that previous presentation. Since the representation of scientific information requires a profound understanding of the information itself, it is more efficient for the scientist to write the article himself then to explain everything to a non-scientist professional writer and delegate the representation of the information.
For his (secondary) goal of gaining recognition, the author needs to establish his claims of priority and intellectual ownership. For that purpose, the author requires the registration of his work (in activity (5) of the scientific process, the collection), and its authenticity to be guaranteed in the archives (10). The author also wants his work to get a `seal of approval'. For that purpose, he requires the certification provided by the quality control performed in (6).2.38
With respect to the technical added value, the author would like a high quality `physical product' (created in activity (8)). More important to him is high visibility in the publication (9), in order to attract as large a part of the target audience as possible. The integrity of the information is also an important issue, especially in the archives (10): no one ought to be able to change the information.
Senders disseminating documents: editors, referees and indexers
In the second main stage of communication (disseminating the message), scientists can play the role of journal editor, referee and indexer. Editors who actively solicit articles for publication aim to elicit all relevant information available, steering the flow of the information. For that purpose, they have to be aware of existing knowledge and interesting developments in the field.
The referees responsible for the scientific quality control must be experts on the subject of the article. The goal of the referee is to ensure the scientific quality of the article, by either eliminating or ameliorating incorrect, incomplete or unclear articles.
The goal of indexing is to provide index terms that characterise the information represented in the document in such a way that the receivers are enabled to locate the document if it is relevant to their information needs. These index terms can be provided by the author, by a professional indexer, or by an automatic indexing computer programme. If the author is responsible for the characterisation of the article, it can be seen as part of the creation of the article. If a professional indexer has to find adequate index terms, he has to read and understand the article. Thus, the requirements of the scientists adding value to an article that they have not written themselves correspond to requirements of the receivers. Therefore, we shall consider the requirements of these types of senders in conjunction with the requirements of the receivers.