Electronic publishing

Peter Rauch anamaria at GRINNELL.BERKELEY.EDU
Sun Mar 17 10:32:54 CST 1996

> Date:         Sun, 17 Mar 1996 12:07:08 +0100
> From: Hannu Saarenmaa <Hannu.Saarenmaa at EEA.DK>
> The biggest concern on electronic publishing IS THE INFRASTRUCTURE.
> For the traditional way, libraries, paper, and museums with specimens
> provide it.

The traditional infrastructure also included the peer review system,
the professional societies, the _trained_ and _skilled_ systematists,
and probably a host of other "silent" and not-so-silent partners.

An assessment to identify who they are and what role they play and
how it's played and what the consequences and results are, is
in my mind all part of the needs analysis to make sure we create
an electronic publishing infrastructure that meets traditional (those
that remain valid) AND newly emerging needs and possibilities.

> The main benefits of electronic publishing are in FAST publishing,
> access, and searching of information.

There _must_ be some other big benefits of e-publishing?
How about more informative pubs (due in part to ease of including more
information, ease of creating the information [sort of in three dimensions
instead of two on paper, for example], other...?

> We must do something to speed
> up research as our planet is now losing more species per year than
> we can describe new.

Will e-publishing make even a small dent in satisfying that need?
Suppose all the current systematists could snap their fingers and cause
all of the final draft manuscripts they have on hand to be published
instantly.  Now what do they do next? Certainly not snap their fingers
again --there'd be nothing there to publish. Back to the microscopes.
Those "132" practicing systematists would take some while before the
next batch of "new" species at risk (or not) of extinction would be
ready to disclose to the world.  Nothing short of a massive
augmentation of newly trained systematists will address the problem of
the slow rate of discovery and divulgence of the planet's biodiversity.

And, even knowing _what_ is on the planet probably brings not anywhere
near enough knowledge or wisdom to slow down the rate of environmental
destruction.  That problem is much bigger than both systematics and

> Hannu Saarenmaa

None of what I said above should be taken to infer that I suggest
we not bound full strength into e-pub world. It's just a question
of _which_ locomotive traveling faster than a speeding bullet we
should leap onto ;>)


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