electronic publication - reply

Doug Yanega dyanega at DENR1.IGIS.UIUC.EDU
Tue Apr 18 16:59:07 CDT 1995

Gary Noonan <carabid at csd.uwm.edu> wrote:

>        What we probably are going toward is a hybrid publication system, at
>least for monographs. The cost of books is such that many scholars can't
>afford them, and authors can't afford to purchase reprints.

don't forget that most libraries are dropping journal after journal these
days, too...

>An interim
>solution is to publish monographs conventionally in books, distribute enough
>copies to satisfy the code and then distribute CD-ROMS with the monographs.
>Electronic publications such as CD-ROM can also contain numerous
>other items such as research specimen databases.
>Interactive keys with abundant illustrations,
>including color photographs, can be included. Photographs of habitats can
>also be included. Hopefully in time the codes will be changed to recognize
>CD-ROM as a publication validating a name or name change. Printed monographs
>are no longer affordable for most people and offer much less than can
>CD-ROMS. CD-ROM publication could satisfy the current concern that
>electronic publications can change from day to day. A CD-ROM is not
>changeable, unlike publications put onto Internet or floppy disks.

I've looked into this myself in the past, regarding "publishing" databases.
I have to agree completely, my primary question still being how do we go
about "changing the codes" to acknowledge CD-ROM as a valid publication?
This should be a *general* crusade among scientists, not only for taxonomic
monographs, but for general forms of publication. The process of peer
review can still be preserved, but the savings in publication costs can be
enormous - as we see journal after journal folding completely due to
inability to turn a profit (and astronomical subscription prices on those
remaining), it seems the time is perhaps past due to acknowledge that paper
is not the only valid medium. Maybe we can't get past the "interim" stage,
where only a few hard copies are deposited in the Library of Congress, for
example, but I suspect even *that* would go a long way to streamlining the
publication and dissemination of scientific work.
As a related aside, I'm curious: in terms of physical resources, are the
raw materials and processing required to create a single CD and its case
significantly cheaper/costlier than the equivalent amount of paper and such
required for a printed equivalent, in an *ecological* sense (pollution,
renewability, etc. taken into account)? I'm wondering if the infamous
"paper vs. plastic" fallacy might also apply here, in which case it might
even be our environmental duty to promote CD-ROM publication (just a

Doug Yanega      Illinois Natural History Survey, 607 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA     phone (217) 244-6817, fax (217) 333-4949
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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