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Title: Digital publishing and the knowledge process
Author(s): Steele, Colin
Keywords: electronic publishing
scholarly communication
digital publishing
Date created: 2004
The digital information environment has ensured that the twenty first century will be a global watershed, like that of the fifteenth century in the Western world, for changes in the creation, distribution and access of knowledge and information. Changes however are not being reflected in the formal frameworks of scholarly publishing. In the digital information environment, the challenges will be significant ranging from information overload to a multimedia non-linear access to information. Developments in the public and private web reflect the tensions of initiatives and consequent challenges, such as currently being experienced between the increasing aggregation of multinational publishers on the one hand and Open Access Initiatives on the other. Globally publish or perish pressures have increased on researchers with the need for publication becoming the pathway to success in research assessment exercises, leading to tenure and promotion. The book and the article are no longer intrinsically a means of distributing knowledge. Depending on ones viewpoint of the Faustianbargain between authors and publishers, the scholarly publishing environment has been in crisis for a number of years. While this has been particularly reflected in the debates on serials, many humanities scholars have experienced declining sales of their monographs and a lack of appropriate outlets for their research publications. While many traditional university presses have been closing down or losing money for a number of years, new models are emerging with different philosophies and capitalizing on new electronic settings. User studies have indicated that Print on Demand (POD) is universally seen as an essential requirement of output. in those contexts Open Archives Initiatives have seen the creation of a number of E-Print repositories which in turn have organically led to the establishment of E-Presses. Future scholarly publishing patterns will be much influenced by author attitudes at the creation level. Major programs of scholarly advocacy in the context of scholarly communication processes will, however, need to be implemented if scholarly authors, their institutions and their research output are to benefit from the new digital frameworks.
Type: Journal article
Appears in Collections:Open Access Research

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