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Table of Contents
Index
Glossary
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Next: Storage Up: Electronic publishing Previous: Electronic publishing

Distribution

We speak of electronic publishing when the article is encoded in an electronic signal and made public in digital form in activity (9) of the process of scientific communication described in 2.1.1.2.44 The electronic distribution of scientific articles is more efficient than the distribution of printed articles by the traditional distribution channels, as it is distributed more quickly and more directly. Information can be made available more quickly, when it is published on-line. Firstly, the distribution itself causes no delays. Secondly, articles or other publication units can be published as soon as they are ready, without waiting for the next issue of the journal. Thus, an electronic  journal can lose its periodical character and the flow of information can become continuous.

The issue of speed and ease with which an article can be obtained has two sides. On the one hand, navigating within an on-line article, once it has been found, may be relatively slow due to network congestion. On the other hand, on-line publications from different sources are accessible directly from the scientists desktop, whereas a paper or off-line publication in most cases has to be separately consulted in or fetched from the library or some other central service. Thus, electronic publications can be obtained quickly and easily, provided that the infrastructure is sufficient and the user interface is adequate.

The author's requirement for high visibility is not fulfilled by most of the present day electronic journals. At this moment, paper  journals have a more serious image, a much higher status and a far larger audience then electronic journals.2.45 This is not an intrinsic characteristic of the medium, but a description of the status quo. We assume that the prestige of the new media will increase when enough important scientists have published articles in scientifically adequate electronic journals.



Next: Storage Up: Electronic publishing Previous: Electronic publishing