Final submission: 15 July 1998

Databases - The Journals of the 21st Century

Contribution from:
Stephen R. Heller
Gaithersburg, MD 20899 USA

Keywords: Electronic Publishing, Copyright, Databases, Publishing Economics, Libraries, Archiving



This manuscript will describe what is now happening in electronic publishing in chemistry and predict what much of scientific publishing in chemistry is likely to look like in 20-30 years from now. As chemists become more interested in and need factual data (chemical and physical properties, chemical structures, and reactions, and so on), the ability to easily submit, retrieve, use, and correct data in a database will prove much more attractive and valuable than the current model of publishing a scholarly manuscript as a separate and independent entity.

Introduction and Background

Much has been said and written about the future of scholarly publishing, by this author (1a-e) and many others (2), particularly as it relates to electronic publishing. From a handful of electronic editions of print journals in the early 1990's, there are now a few thousand electronic versions or electronic editions of print journals (3). Virtually every publisher of chemistry journals has both a Internet web site and some sort of electronic version ("pdf" and/or "html") of most, if not all, of their peer reviewed journals. To many scholars and librarians, these electronic versions of their print journals indicate the usual conservative approach publishers take to new situations. At present virtually all publishers tend to think and act as if the technology of the internet and world wide web is primarily for duplicating print publication in an alternative form, rather than viewing this technology as a way for opening up new means for scientific results and information to be created, disseminated and delivered. Partly as a result of this aggressive timidness of the mainstream publishers there are just a few dozen purely peer reviewed electronic journals, that is, journals for which there is no print equivalent. Many of these efforts in the electronic publishing area are causing numerous and diverse problems to all four main stake-holders involved in this endeavor - the authors, the publishers, the libraries, and the readers.

Some authors see purely electronic publishing (with no print equivalent) as a way to distribute their scholarly efforts more quickly and easily and cheaply. Some authors, however, see purely electronic journals, as well as electronic editions of print journals, as an easy way for people to plagiarize their work, as people search the Internet and find data and results, which they republish as their own (as if this has never happened in print). Still other authors find both these types of electronic publishing as a way to quickly find and link related works and studies. Some authors worry that their scholarly contributions will disappear into a black hole and be lost forever if a computer system malfunctions or that they will not be counted as relevant at the time they present their credentials for promotion and tenure. Some authors worry, with some current justification, that no one will read or be able to get a copy of their manuscripts because of bizarre policies on the part of some publishers (4). Some authors worry that without peer review the scholarly literature will be strewn with trash. The physics preprint server, developed by Ginsparg (5), is an excellent example of how the current technology can greatly improve communication of information within the physics community and shows how these fears are unfounded.

Some publishers see electronic editions of their print journals as a way to increase prices by offering a much more valuable product - quicker publishing, linked references, full text searching, easier access to their journals, ability to offer color instead of black and white figures at no additional cost (to the publishers), video, chemical structure search, 3-D structure manipulation, and so on. Many publishers are offering interesting licenses to obtain access to electronic journals so as to restrict interlibrary loan (an electronic oxymoron?). There are even a few in the publishing field who see purely electronic publishing as a very strong threat to their future existence, since scholars can now bypass the publisher by working with their own libraries or other institutional organizations, as discussed at the end of this manuscript. Finally, there are publishers whose reprint income from published papers will be affected by this new method of dissemination. Considering that these manuscripts often come from pharmaceutical, software, and other companies who want reprints of articles they wrote (or of articles they paid for by grants and contracts for the research work) not paying again to have a copy of what was already paid for would be a desirable change for these customers.

As for libraries, some see electronic publishing as another burden on an overly stressed system. Electronic publishing places an enormous burden on a library to become totally digital, while at the same time, potentially placing the librarians' future jobs in jeopardy. Librarians have to serve their current customers who want or need print, while being asked to expand their offerings into electronic areas with few new resources. In fact, some even wonder if the widespread existence of the public library, a 20th century phenomenon in the USA due largely to Andrew Carnegie, may cease.

Last there are the readers, for whom, in principle, the whole system has been created and operates to serve. Often the readers are also authors. In chemistry, as compared to physics, there are many more readers than authors, which is probably part of the reason the physics electronic pre-printer server (5) has had such widespread acceptance in that community although no similar project exists in chemistry. As time goes on and more readers become computer literate and educated the value of good, well designed, and well implemented electronic journals and electronic information products, it is reasonable to expect readers will begin to demand more from these electronic products. Coupled with the smaller role of intermediaries (librarians and information specialists) and the transfer of financial resources to the end user or journal reader, readers will be requesting certain products and services which the publishers and libraries will need to provide or the readers will find alternative solutions, to what the mainstream science publications office offer.

What ties together these four groups of stake-holders or players in the field of scholarly chemistry publishing is their concern over electronic publishing and how to deal with it so as to minimize disruptions in their current way of doing business. "Technological changes always present a problem for the owners of the old technology" (6). Those authors, publishers, and librarians who do not change are the least likely to survive, much less to prosper, in the future. In this subject area all the owners or stake-holders in this system are being confronted with problems. For authors the main issue is simple. Will this new way of presenting the fruits of their labor result in the same recognition as previous ways of publishing? Today there is no way to answer that question, but as a new generation of chemists comes of age and into an era that is more computer and electronic literate, this issue will likely recede.

Privately, publishers see this new technology replacing them (perhaps not completely, but enough to cause serious damage to their current organization, structure, and income) as cars have overwhelmingly replaced horses, PCs have replaced most typewriters, and calculators have replaced all slide rules. While speech did not disappear after Gutenberg started to print bibles, and thinking and memory did not disappear after writing was discovered, there are always those who will fear the absolute worst case scenario and plan and behave accordingly. The current problems in scholarly publishing in general and possible solutions have recently been reported in two articles entitled "To Publish and Perish" (7a) and "Reforming Scholarly Publishing in the Sciences: A Librarian Perspective" (7b). The first of these articles discusses the problems of the price explosion of scientific journals in the past two decades and proposes possible steps for the scientific community to regain control of what it produces. The fundamental problem that this first manuscript tries to address is how a number of sociological changes have occurred in a short (but undefined) time frame. It is easy to say that authors should end their preoccupation with numbers (i.e., "I published 40 papers last year, therefore I am good, I deserve a promotion", and so on) so that publication is decoupled from faculty evaluation; that authors should assert property rights (i.e., copyright); and they should invest in electronic publishing. While the authors state that "it is time for the presidents of the nation's major research universities to fish or cut bait", history is not on their side. Will this just be another example of when there is a window of opportunity, university management has the blinds down?

In the second manuscript (7b), the authors voice their concern with the "growing commercialization of scholarship in the sciences, where authors assign their copyrights to commercial publishers". (Actually, authors assign their copyrights to both commercial and non-commercial publishers.) This paper also contains an excellent summary of the increase in the number of published papers and number of scientific journals, and the costs of scientific journals over the past two decades. The authors also discuss some studies and report on who is to blame for the problem of high costs and/or insufficient library budgets. In actuality the blame lies in two places. First, it lies squarely on the authors, who control where things are published, who are the editors and peer-reviewers, and who allow the commercial and non-commercial publishers to determine prices or, in effect, charge whatever they care to. (One solution, to "boycott" publishers who do not meet the needs of readers, seems to be a word that is not in any scholar's vocabulary.) It would be hard to find a business person who would turn down valuable intellectual property provided to him at no cost along with the opportunity to sell it back to the person who just gave it away to him. Why criticize the publisher who really understands the marketplace and the foolishness of its contributors and customers? Few businessmen would refuse an offer of freely given valuable intellectual property along with a giver's promise to buy it back. If publishers' customers are irresponsible, why shouldn't a publisher act the same way? Why are authors and librarians surprised when they are burned after they behave this way? Again one finds that truth is stranger than fiction.

Second, as the reference above (7b) stated, the responsibility lies with heads of universities and other research organizations, who allow their staffs to give away valuable property at no cost to the receiver (the publisher) and then buy it back for a substantial price (7a). Any manager who pays for a product (the published results of research), gives it away, and then pays again to get it back, seems to lack the sort of fiscal and other management skills one would like in most organizations. As these authors (7b) point out, "North America's largest universities, through their research libraries, spent more than $386 million on current serials in 1996, ...". This is a substantial amount of money. These authors sum up their librarians' perspective by mentioning the newly formed Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) whose charter is to not do any actual work or try to create any real products, but rather "whose mission is to be a catalyst" for others. So far its catalytic action has been to generate additional statements, such as those from the Big 12 Plus Libraries Consortium (7c) who warn that "the very nature of the research enterprise is at risk ...and ...that faculty members and administrators must find better ways of managing intellectual property, both in print and on line, if they hope to protect and promote scholarly communication."

The queues to publish in prestigious journals are still longer than the lines at Disneyland or your local motor vehicles office. Rather than stop submitting papers to highly respected journals, authors should consider withholding complete copyright transfer to the journal publisher and give just a license to publish to the publisher. To establish this practice, there must be leadership and direction from the top. Talk is cheap (well, not so cheap if you are talking to a lawyer or publishing in a scientific journal); it is action that is needed. One group, the members of the study, (8a) "The Transition from Paper", recently proposed such a policy and ways to achieve this change in a plan that has nothing to do with copyright law, but everything to do with copyright (8b).

There needs to be both a carrot and a stick approach to effect change in publishing. The carrot is that money saved by finding less expensive ways to publish could be returned to the author, via additional research and teaching support (1a). The carrot is also a professor's comfort in knowing he or she will never need to worry about using his or her own works again in a class or elsewhere without first having to ask and often pay the publisher to do so. The stick could include decisions such as not to renew an employment contract if a scholar refuses to keep copyright of his or her work or turn copyright over to their university or employing organization. This approach has worked with the intellectual property rights of patents, and it should work with the intellectual property rights of copyright. According to the U.S. Constitution, Section 8, Clause 8, the purpose of copyright is "to promote the progress of Science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and inventions". (For the record I would note that there is no mention of publishers in the Constitution, only authors and inventors.) When print publishing was the only practical way for scholars to publish, transferring full copyright to a publisher was a logical and reasonable decision, since the publisher was the only entity that could undertake the broadest possible dissemination of the research results. Today, with the Internet this is no longer true. An even more important change is the fact that the data in much of the scientific literature are not being disseminated in a manner that is truly useful to the reader and researcher.

Rather than examine the transition from paper to what the future journal will look like and how it will happen and operate, this manuscript is being written to discuss a possible new model or paradigm shift, that is, what may replace the current scholarly journal for many areas of science, particularly chemistry. Just as talk about faster passenger ships in the early 20th century was rendered moot by the airplane, and as the Pony Express was replaced by the train in the 19th century, I see the likelihood of these new forms of scientific repositories called electronic databases replacing much of the chemical literature as we know it today. In other words, there will be a new way to present publicly the fruits of chemical research which will be more rewarding to both the person creating the information and the person who wants to obtain the information. This new way will also be less costly because it eliminates considerable waste and duplication, and gives the scientists what they really want and need. This manuscript is more than words. It is a plan to change and improve scientific publishing.

User Requirements

While members of each group - authors, publishers, librarians, readers - seem, quite normally, to concern themselves with short-term changes and perturbations in their well oiled, tuned, and high-priced system, it would seem reasonable to step back from the everyday and immediate activities and take a strategic view of the goals of these efforts and determine whether there are new ways to achieve them. Products are only useful if they meet a need. While airplanes are a 20th century technology, the movement and migration of people serve a basic human need that predates civilization. While the telephone is a recent invention, speech is not very new - it was likely one of humanity's first inventions. Today's publishers are like the carrier pigeon companies of the 19th century. They were the best at the time for what needed to be done and they did an excellent job.

In all areas of scholarly efforts the goal is improved knowledge. The improved knowledge comes from excellent scientific research, which is performed in universities, research labs, government labs, and private companies throughout the world. People who do the work want recognition for their positive efforts. The global community needs to document these efforts so that future generations can build on these efforts and improve mankind and our standard of life. In the past 1-2 centuries, and mostly over the past few decades, there has been a vast increase in human knowledge, particularly in the area of science and technology. Food, medicine, transportation, and other fields have made enormous progress. This great growth in information and knowledge has led to considerable growth in the number of books and scholarly publications. In chemistry, this growth in information reported in scientific journals has been staggering. While many think it is very new, in fact, the problem is over a century old. The Beilstein Handbook (9) was conceived as a means to organize and classify the considerable amount of organic chemistry knowledge that existed over a hundred years ago. Chemical Abstracts was started in 1907 (10) to help with the information overload. In more recent times, Current Contents (11), various handbooks such as the CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics (12a) or the Kirk-Othmer Concise Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology(12b), printed compilations, and databases of chemical reactions, toxicological data, spectral compilations (such as the NIST Mass Spectral Database (13), and so on) have come into being due to this information overload and the need for better organization and access to data and information. These products have become very valuable and highly desired in recent years.

If compiled, organized, and accurate information is what users require, it would seem that the future needs would likely be better met by providing this information in the form most useful to readers and customers. Thus, I see the future of scientific communication, in areas such as chemistry and molecular biology, being in the area of databases as a primary means of dissemination, rather than scientific journal articles. Why publish, abstract, and then extract when it can be done in one step? The reason that it is done this way now is because this is what people have been doing for a long time and most are happy with the system. The problem is that this is leading to a variety of system overloads, mostly financial, and thus the system will likely collapse at some time in the near future. It no longer makes sense, technically or economically, for an author to produce data and chemical structures in computer-readable form, convert them to a print journal, and then re-enter the information into a database so it can be used for studies, correlations, and so on. An example of such a product is the JANAF (Joint Army-Navy-Air Force) tables, described in the next section.

The New Database Journal

What I am proposing in this article is the structure of a new model and form of scholarly communication. In many ways its structure, organization, and staffing is similar to that of the current journal publication, but there are some critical differences. Besides a number of technical issues, there are serious political and financial issues that will have to be solved.

What I envision as the main future repository of scientific information in this new model is a collection of databases, all linked together, wherever useful and feasible. Certainly having direct hyperlinked access to a reference or piece of data is much more useful and valuable than just a bibliographic citation. Certainly these hyperlinks will make the life of a librarian considerably easier and more productive in that there will be fewer requests for locating and obtaining journals and other sources of information, thus leaving more time for problems that require a trained librarian. I definitely believe and realize that not all scholarly chemistry endeavors will fit into this database scheme, since there will always be a need for theories and high-level discussions and overviews of different areas of chemistry, and science in general. Certainly this article is one example of a manuscript that does not fit this new concept, being an all-text article. There will also be a need for articles with various forms of multimedia, and publications such as the Internet Journal of Chemistry (IJC) (14) will be ideal for these. However, in chemistry and molecular biology, databases, which have become so important in the past 10-15 years, will be even more important and valuable resources and commodities in the 21st century.

As a specific example of how the new journals could work and look, I will consider the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data (JPCRD) (15). JPCRD, a joint venture of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Chemical Society (ACS) , and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was first published in 1972. The participation of these organizations is a recognition of the key roles that the federal government, the scientific community, and professional societies play in the endeavor to provide high quality reference data.

JPCRD is currently a bimonthly print journal. In 1996 its ISI impact factor (11) was 5.82. The crucial requirements for publication are that articles assess the quality of the published information and contain full documentation as to the source of the original measurements and the criteria used for selection and evaluation of the data. Monographs and supplements to the Journal, which are articles too lengthy for a typical print issue, are published separately. The JANAF Thermochemical Tables, 3rd Edition (16) are among the best-selling monographs that continue to fulfill the constant demand for data by the national and international scientific community. However, in recent years many scientists have asked for their data in computer-readable form, which was yet another reason to consider an alternative form of data publication and dissemination.

JPCRD was conceived and came into existence as part of an effort to distribute standard reference data to a wider audience. At the time the journal was started, a printed publication was the only method to meet the needs of the user community, a situation similar to that of the Beilstein Handbook when it was first created and published some 100 years ago. JPCRD provides a means of systematizing and compacting the major components of the primary research literature, bringing together the research reported in widely dispersed journals, critically evaluating the data, and distilling the essential information into a manageable product. In the 1970's the idea of having a print journal to meet the needs of the community was both reasonable, correct, and the only real choice. In the late 1990's this appears to be no longer true, as it was found in the late 1980's to be no longer true for the printed Beilstein Handbook of data on organic chemicals. While subscriptions to the journal have decreased, as has been the case for most journals in all areas of science, the real problem that the JPCRD faced was that the high quality of evaluated data it contained were difficult to access and use in print form. Today, as opposed to the 1970's, data are most often used in problem-solving equations, which are parts of computer programs, rather than the hand calculations of the 1970's. Considering that most of the manuscripts in the past few years are sent to the journal editor in computer-readable form, the notion that the only way to get the data into a computer program after the information is published is to re-type it leaves much to be desired.

The initial discussions of what to do with the journal involved the usual position of the publishers, which was to create "pdf" and "html" forms of the journal and make these available via the Internet. This procedure would require the additional expense of converting the print product to these forms, and mounting the resulting computer files on a computer system server connected to the Internet. While this would make delivery of the information faster and easier, it would not be less expensive to do so. The additional costs would need to be, quite justifiably, passed on to the end user.

From this experience, and similar ones with other publishers, it is clear that the publishers are locked into their current positions by virtue of the system that has evolved mainly since the end of World War II. The scientific community, up to very recent times, has been well served by the combined activities of the publishers and libraries to handle what they create - namely more and more manuscripts, generally of a more specialized nature. The centralized system that has been created, a large collection of journals, has become too big. It is too unwieldy to continue to work well and satisfy the needs of the scientific user community as well as those of the library community. Like massive and unmanageable political systems of the recent (USSR, British Empire) and distant (Roman Empire) past, it is likely to come apart and re-invent itself in a new form that comes closer to the needs of the community.

The proposed new JPCRD will comprise two parts. The first part, Part A, would be a database of properties of chemicals, which will be data and structure searchable. Part A would most likely look similar to an expanded version of the current NIST Chemistry WebBook, containing many more properties. The second part, Part B, would be a database of supplementary information about the property values in Part A. Part B would look very much like a current journal article, with authors, introductions, experimental sections, conclusions, and references. The main difference would be that Part B would contain the hyperlinks to the actual data (which would be in Part A or in the WebBook) rather than the data themselves. Thus, Part B would not include the data. Users finding data in Part A would also be able to hyperlink to the actual citation and be able to read the experimental and other sections of the manuscript in Part B. In this way authors will still be able to point to a specific location (journal citation) for their peer-reviewed work, or add to their resume the fact that their data is in the WebBook. Journal citations would be similar to a current print JPCRD citation, having a volume number and year, but rather than have a range of page numbers, there would be an article number, as pages have little or no meaning in an "html" file. For example, printing the pages out in the USA on 8 x 11 inch paper would give rise to more pages than printing out the information in Europe on A4 paper. Also, as I age and my eyesight changes, I tend to use a larger font type so when I print out this article from my web browser in 1998 it will take up more pages than it did a few years ago.

As for the logistical process of handling and processing material submitted by an author, the new system being proposed for JPCRD is rather simple, involving the use of the Internet and related electronic technology, while still being grounded in the principle that it must meet the needs of the user community. The current or old system process, for all scientific journals in general, is:

1. Author submits a manuscript (usually in electronic form on floppy disk)
2. Editor sends manuscript for review
3. Accepted manuscript is returned to author for revision *
4. Manuscript is accepted by editor
5. Manuscript is edited by publisher's staff
6. Manuscript is typeset by publisher's staff
7. Manuscript is printed by publisher
8. Manuscript is delivered (mail or e-journal version) to author/user

via individual subscription or library subscription by publisher
9. Readers use library/online journal to get article
10. Reader copies desired information into local database/computer program/application

* = sometimes this step is omitted

The new process and new system is proposed to be:

1. Author submits a manuscript and data in html/xml/sgml form to a web site *

Manuscript has three components: text/description, data, and metadata (17a, 17b)
2. Editor has manuscript and data reviewed on web site
3. Accepted manuscript is returned to author for revision **
4. Manuscript and data are accepted
5. Manuscript text is edited online by outsourced person/contractor
6. Data are transferred to programmer for entry/inclusion into (the updated) database and adding of
hyperlinks to text and data to link data with author's manuscript and vice versa
7. Manuscript text is mounted on web server, with option for local library to print and shelve article
8. Manuscript and database update notification is made available (via automatic e-mail message) to
author/user via individual subscription or library subscription, paid for by e-cash or credit card
9. Readers access online journal to get data/manuscript text
10. Readers copy desired information into local database/computer program/application

* = It may be desirable at the start to accept data in plain computer-readable form (e.g., Excel spreadsheet)

owing to some authors not having the latest versions of software that support html/xml/sgml coding.
** = sometimes this step is omitted

While there is certainly a great deal of similarity and equivalent steps and activities in both the old and new systems, there are a number of fundamental differences, as noted below:

1. Authors submit materials.
2. Editor and reviewers review materials.
3. Author's individual contribution is recognized.
4. There is a cost for access to the resulting information.

1. Information flow is all electronic.
2. Information is delivered when available - no wait for a bound issue to be printed.
3. Information is easier to correct. Errata are not "lost" the way they are in print publications.
4. Reader and/or reviewer comments can be appended to the published information making the

result potentially more useful.
5. Newer data and references can also be added and appended to
the original article.
6. Delivery of data can be customized for each user, such as
giving results in temperature, energy, and length units specified by the reader (14b).
7. Reduced staffing for publisher (no mail room, fewer file cabinets, smaller building/office,
smaller accounting department, smaller sales/marketing staff).
8. No printing and mailing costs and staff.
9. No short or long-term storage and warehouse costs and staff.
10. Information is delivered to user more quickly.
11. Access to and usage of data and manuscripts can be more accurately tracked .
12. Information is made available to entire world-wide community at the same time.
(equal access - leveling effect). (18)
13. Publisher, library or "entity to be named at a later date" is responsible
for archiving manuscript text and data for archiving and authenticity.

To keep this manuscript and proposal as one that might in fact be practical, as opposed to a policy paper, the expected cost of this system needs to be stated. The cost for the system administrator assumes the person will be a full-time employee of either the U.S. government or a publisher and includes overhead. While a full time person will be needed at the start of such a project, after 1-2 years the work will probably not require a person to devote full time to the work. The following is a list of expected costs for the first year of operating the all-electronic JPCRD:

1. Computer System, including web connection $10,000
2. System Administrator/ System programmer/archivist/ $ 100,000
3. Journal manager (Part time contract) $12,000
4. Editor/Editorial Board (includes expenses) $10,000
5. HTML/XML coders/Copy editors $ 5,000
6. Contracted invoicing/ billing $ 5,000
7. Marketing/mailings $ 5,000
Total Cost $147,000

With an estimated expense of about $150,000 it should be possible to recover the basic "out-of-pocket" costs from 500 subscribers (a number considerably smaller than those who currently subscribe to the printed version of the journal) by charging about $300 per subscription. It should be realized that the costs are estimates, based on conversations with commercial publishers, and do not include a variety of other real and possible expenses such as sales, marketing, overhead, archiving, and so on.

In the past few years there have been some features of this new process tested and implemented in some areas of scientific publishing. Thus this proposal is just another step forward, not a completely new approach or a technically untested procedure. This author was the Internet Column editor for the Elsevier publication Trends in Analytical Chemistry (TrAC) from 1995-1997, which published 25 articles in the first three years. All 25 articles were mounted on the Elsevier server as soon as they were finished and were entered into the normal Elsevier publication system, which resulted in the printed article being published some 3-6 months later. Details of the process and how it worked can be found elsewhere (19a - page 211, 19b, and 19c).

The Internet Journal of Chemistry (IJC) (14), an all-electronic journal started in 1998, uses all of the features of this proposed system, with the exception of the database aspects, as the manuscripts submitted to IJC are complete and independent entities. Certainly one can envision that when the number of manuscripts in IJC are large enough, the collection will be a database that can easily be processed to be searched, both by text and chemical structure.

Other journals in chemistry that are both electronic in nature and that are structured along the lines of the proposal presented here include the Springer-Verlag journals The Chemical Educator, Molecular Modeling, and Molecules Online (20). A list of all electronic-only or online chemistry journals which CAS monitors and abstracts from is available (21). While there are also a number of electronic-only journals in other fields, only one will be mentioned here as an example of how the creators of this journal have carefully thought out the way this new technology of the internet can be used in an effective and intelligent manner to create a product that goes well beyond anything on paper. This is the RSNA EJ Radiological Society of America - Electronic Journal (22), the online journal of the Radiological Society. The journal was designed for many of the same reasons as IJC and the other chemistry journals mentioned above, but also it was designed to allow for interactivity use the java programming language and cgi-bin script programs for the purpose of CME credits (continuing medical education) via online testing and allowing reader manipulation of radiological images.

Database/Journal Pricing

For print journals the mechanism of charging a subscription fee for those issues of the journal produced during the year has been a well accepted procedure that has evolved over the years. With both pure electronic journals and electronic editions of print journals, the issue is not so clear. Certainly there is a cost for such a journal or database. In the case of JPCRD, even if the U.S. Government provided free access, the funding comes from a government agency budget, which ultimately comes from taxes collected. The same is true of the results submitted to the journal database. The results come from excellent science being done in universities, government labs, and private companies. Someone is paying the salaries of the staff, the equipment used for the experimental work, the buildings that house these people, and so on.

In trying to use the print pricing model in an electronic product there are a number of problems that arise. After deciding how much income NIST needs (or in the case of a commercial publisher how much it wants) to create, maintain, and distribute the electronic version of JPCRD, a decision needs to made on how to obtain these funds. Even assuming some percentage will come from the NIST/SRD (Standard Reference Data office) budget, SRD is allowed by law to some cost recovery. University publishing presses no doubt have the same sort of financial situation. The model of a yearly subscription fee allowing you to "buy" a copy of the information for that year has a number of problems in this electronic scenario. How does one separate the data submitted during one particular year? What happens if you don't renew every year, but do it every other year or have some similar sort of gap? What happens if you don't need the information now, but in the year 2005 decide to subscribe? Is it reasonable or fair to ongoing subscribers to pay only the subscription fee for the year 2005 and be able to get years of previous data and results? How can one allow access for only those "paid" years? Perhaps a new subscriber would be charged a higher fee than a renewing subscriber, just as those who update a database are often charged less than those who buy the database for the first time. Certainly a flexible pricing system can be devised, but it would make for a very complicated system. A more likely solution would be to pay an annual license to access fee, which gives users access to all the information whenever one subscribes to the electronic database and journal. If deemed administratively and politically appropriate, fees could be assessed based on various factors. Profit-making companies could pay one fee, while universities pay another. Institutions in countries with less developed economies would be charged less than those in developed countries. The logic here is that receiving a small amount of money from an organization in a less developed country is better than getting nothing from such an organization which cannot afford to pay a great deal of money for such information. In addition, promoting more and better science worldwide is a good overall strategic goal for mankind and a financially valuable goal for the organization receiving the payment for the database access and also allows scientists in these countries to have access to the same valuable, high quality data and information available to scientists in developed countries. This scenario should lead to better science and scientists in all countries. While not claiming that this proposal is either acceptable policy to NIST or any other profit and non-profit publishers, or economically workable, certainly a new and innovative pricing scheme needs to be considered.

What has not been addressed above is what to do with someone who wants access to just a particular piece of data or just one experimental procedure. Some charging policy needs to be established for such occasional users. No doubt other general and specific access and pricing issues will arise as such a project is implemented. Finally, advertising may be more plausible and likely to be a significant source of income in electronic databases and journals, as discussed below.

Of course the real question is not whether this is a reasonable technical and economic approach and a well designed system, but rather, to paraphrase the line in the movie "Field of Dreams" (23), if you build it will they publish? With the current system getting very close to collapsing under its own weight (physically with there being no space to store things and economically with the rapidly rising subscription prices), time is running out and new ways and mechanisms to perform these well established and needed tasks need to be developed very soon.

Unresolved Issues

While the technical proposal presented here is a critical part of the journal of the future, there are other parts of this total system that need to be mentioned, and in some cases, discussed. Since these areas are both non-technical and involve much broader issues and areas than scientific publishing, the comments will be brief. The topics covered will be copyright, pricing, archiving, authenticity, and the publishers of future.

Copyright is a great concern of publishers. Much has been written on this subject and the reader is referred to a number of these references (24). Authors, and their respective organizations have, for the most part, not considered this area a matter of concern until just recently. As stated above, while patents have always been considered a valuable property (and part of the same section 8 of the U.S. Constitution that allows for authors to copyright their works) and in most employment agreements patents are owned by the employer, copyright has been treated differently and allowed to be given away at no expense to the publisher. One of the reasons for this is that authors are more concerned about acceptance and recognition than direct financial compensation. In fact I would state without hesitation that a lecture on copyright will put a chemist to sleep faster than a sleeping pill. Even today, most authors do not consider the journals they read as having a cost associated with them. In most cases their libraries pay for the journals, so they are "free". Employers, especially educational institutions, have not thought of copyright as a valuable property and have allowed the copyright to be given away without compensation. With the rising costs of journals, total and free copyright transfer may no longer be the case. In fact, a number of world-class institutions have started to re-think this issue (23a, 24b). The Internet Journal of Chemistry (IJC), rather than demanding copyright assignment, asks only for a license to publish a manuscript (25), which gives the journal the exclusive commercial rights for journal publication. While copyright ownership has been defended very strongly by publishers of scientific and technical journals, particularly the American Chemical Society (ACS), they have never argued or even tried to show any negative financial aspects associated with their lack of copyright on manuscripts produced by employees of the U.S. Government, as required under the U.S. Copyright law of 1976. With the proliferation of easier ways to distribute manuscripts, both before and after official publication, such as by e-mail, personal, and organizational web sites, it is likely that the proposed copyright situation (i.e., a license to publish) will be a useful and economically viable one for publishers. There is cause to argue that the real reason authors go to, and libraries pay for, a journal is that the product being sold is authentic and is a complete collection of what has been peer-reviewed and accepted for inclusion. In other words, it is more convenient to pay the publisher and be sure you have the real scientific work than to re-create the total effort. This being the case, an exclusive license to publish in a scientific journal, which would keep another publisher from doing the same thing, is all that is needed for financial viability.

Pricing, discussed very briefly above, is the second principal concern of all three parties. Libraries are concerned that prices are high and growing such that they will not be able to afford to provide the same access to scholarly information that they once did just a few years ago. Publishers are concerned about pricing because they have developed and implemented an excellent economic model (from their perspective), which is now threatened by this new technology - electronic information on the Internet/World Wide Web. Pricing is certainly a very contentious, controversial, and baffling issue in this area. Whether it is a commercial business, professional society, or governmental agency providing a resource, it costs money to create, maintain, and distribute it in any form. Pricing, economic viability, and success in publishing have been able to evolve over a few hundred years. The rapid changes and general upheaval facing the scholarly publishing field in the past few decades has made it difficult, if not impossible, to develop, test, and evolve reasonable economic models. While some have proposed going back to the author page charge model, this does have its drawbacks. One reason commercial publishers have flourished and expanded their journal choices since the end of World War II has been their lack of page charges while many professional societies retained such charges.

In addition to the possible pricing proposals suggested above, there is reason to believe that advertising might be a much more realistic, important, and viable way to pay for some of the electronic publishing activities. While there is some advertising now in print journals, which is at this time very significant for a relatively few such publications as Science and Analytical Chemistry, one could envision both general ads, as well as specific ads in the electronic journal and databases. Books on a specific topic (like the subject of the article you are reading), software to perform a type of calculation in the article you have requested, or databases related to the subject matter of the article or information you are looking at could be easily and effectively promoted in an electronic environment such as proposed here. Such targeted advertising holds great promise for electronic journals. With clever advertising and marketing people thinking of how to use electronic media more effectively than print, it is not difficult to imagine that new, exciting, and innovative advertising will be a solid part of the electronic publishing age. Advertising, coupled with the return to an author publication charge, could both provide a low and reasonable price for a journal or database that would please librarians, and have the added incentive for the publisher that a better journal would attract more advertising revenue and hence be more profitable.

Archiving is another paramount issue that needs to be addressed and solved in the near future. Libraries have acted as the archives for journals and books for a very long time. Today the electronic editions of journals are being archived by the publishers. The publishers have one thing in common when it comes to archiving scientific information. They have no experience or mandate to do so, and they all do it differently. While print journals from different publishers have some minor differences in the style for references and citations, they have evolved with total inconsistency in their electronic editions. They are all different. The computer-based search tools used by publishers - they are all different. It is not difficult to understand why an author would express concern as to the future access and readability of his or her work given this Tower of Babel approach. Libraries, which are bogged down with trying to preserve their current print holdings, have not been given the necessary financial support to develop the systems to support such journal archiving. It may also be possible that libraries, like publishers, are not the best qualified and experienced organizations to undertake this important and critical task. To those who have used computers over the past 30 years, the inability to read LINC tapes, DEC tapes, paper tapes, 8 inch floppy disks, and so on, is a real issue and problem. Not being able to read this journal article, and the others published in this journal in 1998, 30 years from now, would certainly turn away a number of potential authors. Related to the archive issue is the matter of the stability and longevity of "url's". While the "url's" used and referenced in this paper were correct and accurate at the time of the final acceptance of this paper, regrettably they may not be accurate in one day, one month, six months or a year. Should each electronic journal spend the time and money to retrieve and keep copies of all hyperlinks and url's to assure the value and integrity of the articles they are publishing? (Of course, there is the issue of copyright associated with this procedure.) These are very serious matters that will delay the acceptance of both electronic journals and electronic databases by many, if not most, potential authors.

Authenticity is another major issue that must be resolved. Authors and readers (and patent lawyers) have to be assured that after a scholarly presentation is received, reviewed, revised, and finalized and published, the version does not change over time. Certainly errata by the author and additions from reader comments can be added, but the basic original material must remain constant. There is also the potential problem today when there is a print and an electronic version, which are different (such as having supplemental information or different graphics) as to which version is the authentic one. As for a "final" electronic version, no doubt with the need for electronic signatures for financial matters, this problem will be solved and the scientific community will use such a procedure and method. Electronic signatures could also help reduce the time needed and manpower expended, which now is associated with copyright or license to publish transfers.

Recently the Association of American Publishers along with other organizations have started to develop the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system. The DOI is designed to be an Internet-based technology that will help to create a mechanism for authentication as well as protection of copyright and intellectual property. The idea is to have a reliable standardized mechanism for identifying, locating, and accessing digital information. A number of major publishers have adopted the DOI system, but it is still in a test period and has been since 1997. The DOI system claims not only to provide a unique identification for content, but also a way of linking users of the materials to the intellectual property owners in order to facilitate automated digital commerce. The DOI web site maintains a list of articles about the DOI and related information. Not all people are convinced that the DOI will work or that it is a good solution for anyone but the publisher. According to Ginsparg (27) the DOI "will allow (publishers) to lock people into using (their) database to map a simple citation like 'Nucl. Phys. B432, 3 (1994)' to a cryptic string of letters and numbers that no researcher will ever put in a bibliography."

The last issue is who will be the publishers of the future. For the most part universities, even those with their own publishing entities, have turned over the journal effort to commercial and society publishers. While there are some university presses, these have not been significant players in the journal area of publishing and have not been pushed to be journal publishing entities by his or her university management. However, universities, a $250 billion industry, have also been undergoing an extensive set of changes, reordering and restructuring over the past few years. In a recent issue of Business Week (28) entitled The New U, the authors cite examples of universities acting like companies. Noble (29) has also recently written about this change and "the commercialization of higer education". Universities have become more business-like, with lucrative contracts for their sports teams, and exclusive contracts for food, beverages, and other commodities (1a) . With distant (or off-campus) learning a feature that is happening now and appears to be a sizable role in university activities in the future, all university assets are being reviewed for their financial value to the organization. While it has been pointed out above and in reference (7b) universities need to and are starting to act more businesslike, their history in publishing is not encouraging. While many universities here in the USA and Europe are starting to join together into consortia for improved buying and negotiating power (for example, there is the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC) in the midwest USA and similar groups in Europe), it may take an outside player to make it work. One such outside player, not mentioned before in this manuscript, is the journal broker who provides a range of subscription management services. Companies like FAXON, SWETS, Blackwell's Information Services, and others, play a very useful role in journal and book publishing for libraries. One reason to think companies such as these would be interested in such a business is that there is a very serious question as to their future in this changing world of electronic publishing. While it was once quite satisfactory for publishers to not know who their customers were, so long as the orders came in from subscription services, this is not longer the case. Publishers seem to want to reduce or eliminate the role of these intermediaries (as well as reduce the role of libraries if they can find an acceptable way to get directly to the end user). Publishers are contracting directly with their customers, either as one-on-one or on a consortia basis, and are allowing only the customers they "know"( i.e., have direct, carefully worded, and more restrictive contracts for the electronic journal information than the corresponding print journal information) to have access to their Internet web sites. Under these circumstances the subscription service companies may either have to re-engineer and re-formulate themselves or perhaps go out of business. Certainly telling the libraries, consortia, and university presses that "they can do it right", save the end user customer money, and eliminate the need for many publishers could prove very attractive financially for all parties, save the current publishers. Besides the intermediaries working with university and company consortia to become the new journal publishers, these intermediaries could also work with the search engine companies to devise quick, efficient, and accurate techniques to search all these electronic publications, possibly becoming serious competition to current abstracting and indexing services. This would be one way to carry out a proposal this author offered a few years ago (1a, page 210). Certainly it is very hard to conceive a scenario in the near future that includes both intermediaries - the publishers and the subscriptions services - as large and powerful as they have been in the past.

It may be that completely new entrants into the field of electronic publishing will have the greatest likelihood of pricing success because they do not have the enormous baggage of the existing publishers, which includes a large revenue base, copyright control of the information submitted, and a large organizational structure that may be difficult to restructure. However, as seen in the business world in recent years, successful innovators tend to get bought out by the large existing companies, in this case the existing large publishers. It is very interesting in today's world of change and restructuring that the publishers have so far behaved as if they are immune to the economic realities of other businesses and industries. That is, the publishers have come to a turning point and have chosen to go straight ahead. To some extent the publishers have chosen this path and continue their old ways of doing things because they have a customer base and constituency which is demanding they support both paper and some sort of electronic product for some indefinite period of time. While there are those authors, publishers, librarians, and readers who are willing to take the easy way out and do nothing but allow the current system to make small incremental changes, I suspect the number of these people is shrinking daily.

Certainly a solution will have to be found and it will probably not be an extension of the current print model. As Harnad has pointed out (30), there is not likely to be the sort of hybrid print/electronic journal environment that the publishing establishment would like, which would minimize change and any disruption to its existing economic, social, and power structure developed over many years. The main reason is the radical difference in the operation of an electronic environment. While scholars in the past have had to go to publishers for dissemination and distribution, the good and bad news of the Internet is that anyone can be a publisher. The current profit and non-profit publishers can't change that fact. How they will adapt to this new environment is a question that won't be answered here. I can assure the reader that if I had a solution I certainly wouldn't share it here.


Restructuring the scientific manuscript into a database linked to supporting and explanatory textual information has the potential to be a more useful and valuable product for the scholarly community than the classical scientific journal, be it in print or electronic form. The proposed model for converting an existing journal, JPCRD, into an all electronic database and supplementary journal article is likely to produce a more valuable product and one that is more usable and accessible than the current print journal.


I would to thank a number of my colleagues who have commented on this manuscript and contributed to its contents through discussions and correspondence (e-mail and paper) over the past years. They are:

Steve Bachrach, Bob Badger, Steve Berry, Dotty Blakeslee, Pieter Bolman, Bob Campbell, Mal Chase, Harry Collier, Gerry Dalton, Arnoud deKemp, Ray Dessy, Tom von Foerster, Alex Fowler, Paul Ginsparg, Pat Kelly, Neil Kestner, Gary Mallard, Bob Massie, Bill Milne, Andrew Odlyzko, Ann Okerson, Rudy Potenzone, John Rumble, Keith Russell, Henry Rzepa, Peter Shepherd, Charles Sturrock, Steve Stein, Bill Trefzger, Wendy Warr, and Ron Wigington.

In addition I would like like to thank the referees for their helpful and constructive comments.


(1) (a) S. R. Heller, Chemistry on the Internet - The Road to Everywhere and Nowhere,

J. Chem. Inf. Comput. Sci.,36, 205-213(1996).

(b) S. R. Heller, Publishing on the Internet - A Proposal for the Future,
Trends in Anal. Chem., 15, 111-114 (1996).

(c) S. R. Heller, Electronic Journals for Chemistry , 1997 Chemical Information Conference
Proceedings, Infonortics, (Tetbury, UK), pages 17-25, (1997).

(d) S. R. Heller, Electronic Publishing of Scientific Manuscripts,
Chapter XX in Encyclopedia of Computational Chemistry, John Wiley (Chichester) 1998, in press.

(e) S. R. Heller, Management of the New Infrastructure for Electronic Publications,
Paper for the Transition from Paper Study Panel (1998) - in press.

Other related papers can be found at:

(2a) For example, see the papers of Mike Lesk, such as The Seven Ages of Information Retrieval

and The Organization of Digital Libraries which are available at:


(2b) the papers of Andrew Odlyzko, such as A. M. Odlyzko The Slow Evolution of Electronic Publishing, in Electronic Publishing - New Models and Opportunities, A. J. Meadows and F. Rowland, eds., ICCC Press, 1997 and A. M. Odlyzko The Economics of Electronic Journals, First Monday 2(8) (August 1997) and A. M. Odlyzko On the Road to Electronic Publishing, Euromath Bulletin, 2 (no. 1) (1996), pp. 49-60, which are available at:


(2c) the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography compiled by Charles W. Bailey, Jr. This selective bibliography presents over 600 articles, books, electronic documents, and other sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the Internet and other networks (

Last, also see

(2d) Sophie L. Wilkinson, Electronic Publishing Takes Journals into a New Realm, C&E News, May 18,1998. This manuscript is also available as an ACS hot article at the url:

(3) Two sources of electronic journals are (a), New Jour (, an Internet based archive for new journals and newsletters available on the Internet and (b) the ChemConnect ( list of journals.

(4) The following three (partial and edited) e-mail messages from the Chemical Information Sources Discussion List ( shows the problem with electronic publishing when the publisher is more concerned about control of scientific information than in the dissemination of scientific information.

a. On 5/25/98 Louis Houle of McGill University ( wrote "Last week we ran into an interesting and frustrating problem with an ILL request for the electronic journal of "MOLECULES ONLINE" from SPRINGER-VERLAG. Our patron got the information from Current Contents (his request was for a 1998 February article). This journal exists only in an electronic format for the current year... Nobody seems to have a current online subscription. We have tried ISI Document Solution (which used to be known as TGA) and they cannot supply any articles from this journal. We also got in touch with SPRINGER-VERLAG and were told that the only way that we could get a copy was by subscribing to that journal. We also wanted to know if by subscribing to Molecules Online we would be (or anyone subscribing to it) able to fill any ILL lending request from it! And guess what was their (Springer-Verlag) answer? NO WAY! It seems that for the patron the only alternative is to get in touch with the author and get a reprint (the old way of getting articles for faculty)."

b. On 5/25/98 Kitty Porter from Duke University ( replied: "We subscribe to the online version of this journal as well as Journal of Molecular Modeling, another Springer web title. Our Interlibrary loan department will not fill requests for either title because of the Springer policy. It seems to me that a title that no one can get will not become widely known or read (whatever the format) so will attract few authors."

c. On 5/25/98 Dan Roth from CalTech ( commented on the above two e-mail messages "If no one can read the articles, no one can legitimately cite the articles, and finally no one will want to publish in Molecules Online. I am a little surprised at Springer's myopic approach."

(5) The physics preprint server was developed by Paul Ginsparg, and is available at:

(6) Philip Sirlin, The Economist, 9/30/95

(7) (a) To Publish and Perish, Policy Perspectives, 7, #4, March 1998. This manuscript is also

available on the WWW (after a free registration process) at:

(b) Reforming Scholarly Publishing in the Sciences: A Librarian Perspective, J. J. Branin and M. Case,

Notices of the AMS, 45, #4, 475-486 (1998).

(c) Scholarly Communication and the Need for Collective Action: A Statement by the Chief Academic Officers of the Big 12".

(8) (a) The members of the study, "The Transition from Paper," sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, funded by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation are: Steven Bachrach (Northern Illinois University), R. Stephen Berry (Chairman, University of Chicago), Martin Blume (Brookhaven National Laboratory), Thomas von Foerster (Springer-Verlag), Alexander Fowler (American Association for the Advancement of Science), Paul Ginsparg (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Stephen Heller (United States Department of Agriculture), Neil Kestner (Louisiana State University), Andrew Odlyzko (AT & T), Ann Okerson (Yale University Libraries), Ron Wigington (Chemical Abstracts, retired); Staff: Anne Moffat (American Academy of Arts and Sciences).

(b)S. Bachrach, R. S. Berry, M. Blume , T. von Foerster, A. Fowler, P. Ginsparg, S. Heller, N. Kestner, A. Odlyzko, A. Okerson, R. Wigington, A. Moffat, Who Should "own" Scientific Papers?, Science, submitted, 1998.

(9) The url for the Beilstein Information System is:

(10) The url for CAS is:

(11) The url for ISI is:

(12a) The latest version is the 78th Edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics available from

CRC Press (

(12b) The latest version is the 73rd Edition of the Kirk Othmer Concise Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

available from John Wiley & Sons (

(13) Information on the mass spectrometry database can be found at:

(14) Internet Journal of Chemistry ( Also see S. Bachrach, D. C. Burleigh, and A. Krassavine, Designing the Next-Generation Chemistry Journal: The Internet Journal of Chemistry which has been published in the Winter 1998 issue of ISTL, the quarterly publication of the Science and Technology Section, Association of College and Research Libraries (

(b) S. Bachrach, A. Krassavine, and D. C. Burleigh, End-User Customized Chemistry Journals,

J. Chem. Inf. Comput. Sci.,38, in press, (1998)

The proposed plan discussed here is solely that of the author and not an approved NIST plan and does not represent NIST policy in any way.

(16) The url for the JANAF Tables is:

(17a) Submitting files in html/xml/sgml should not pose any burden to the author. Today there are web sites which validate html code, spell check a manuscript, and even validate hyperlinks. A 1997 article Validating HTML Code by L. Lemay about such software (mostly freely available on the WWW) is available at A list of html validators is also available through the Yahoo! search engine at:

(17b) As taken from the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) home page, metadata traditionally meant "data about data" or "information about information" but more importantly now it should be taken to mean "machine understandable information on the web". Examples of metadata needs vary, and the W3C gives as examples: (1) Catalog information such as date, author, document status, as typically held in library catalogs such as MARC records; (2) Intellectual Property information allowing the description of rights and license terms, in a way that proxy caches as well as people can understand; (3) Endorsement information for academic endorsement; (4) Information about sets of documents ("manifests") in the digital signature work; (5) Information on sets of document in document management (See WebDAV). For more examples information see the W3C information on metadata activities (

(18) Besides making information as quickly and readily available to scientists throughout the world, electronic journals allow for more easy submission of science from Third World countries. Many scientists in third world countries now feel very much outside the mainstream scientific publishing system. For example see Lost Science in the Third World, Scientific American, 273, 92-99, August 1995.

(19) (a) D. C. Coleman, "A Chemistry Home Page on the World Wide Web", Fresenius J. Anal. Chem., 357, 209-213 (1997);

(b) S. R. Heller, Publishing on the Internet - A Proposal for the Future, Trends in Anal. Chem., 15, 111-114 (1996);

and (c) S. R. Heller, The TrAC Internet Column - A Status Report , Trends in Anal. Chem., 15, 251-256 (1996).

(20) The main url for Springer-Verlag is:
For the Chemical Educator see:
and for the Journal of Molecular Modeling see: and for Molecules Online see:

(21) Online-Only Journals Monitored by Chemical Abstracts is available at the url:

(22)L. Ackerman and A. Simonaitis Beyond Paper Images: Radiology on the Web which is available at:

(23) Field of Dreams, Universal Studios, 1989. Also see:

(24) (a)Copyrights Highway - From Gutenberg to the Celestial Jukebox, Paul Goldstein, Hill and Wang, New York, 1994

(b) The Electronic Publishing Maze, pages 99+, Harry Collier, Infonortics, Tetbury, UK, 1998. (See

(c) Report of the APS Task Force on Electronic Information Systems, Bulletin of the American Physical Society Vol. 36, No. 4, p. 1119 (1991)

and also available at:

(d) ACM Interim Copyright Policies, Communications of the ACM, 38, #4, 104-109 (1995).

(e) S. Saltrick, The Pearl of the Great Price: Copyright and Authorship from the Middle Ages

to the Digital Age, Educom Review, May/June 1995, 44-46.

(f) D. J. Loundry, Revising the Copyright Law for Electronic Publishing is available at:

(g) Academic Writers, Academic Rights: A Draft Declaration January 1998, is available at:

(h) D. L. Burk, Ownership of Electronic Course Materials in Higher Education,

CAUSE/EFFECT, 20, #3, 13-18, Fall 1997.

(i) A. Okerson, Who Owns Digital Works?, Scientific American, 274, pages 80-83, July 1996 and is available at:

(j) S. Harnad, Learned Inquiry and the Net: The Role of Peer Review, Peer Commentary, and Copyright,

Proceedings from the Symposium on Scholarly Publishing in the Electronic Environment,
September 1997, University of Toronto at Scarborough and is available at:

(25) The following two items are from a private communication from Ann Okerson, Yale University:

(a) Harvard University's copyright policy (adopted November 3, 1975; amended on March 17, 1986 and February 9, 1998), affirms, "First, the policy should encourage the notion that ideas or creative works produced at the University should be used for the greatest possible benefit. This would normally mean the widest possible dissemination and use of such ideas or materials. Thus, every reasonable incentive should be provided for the dissemination into use of ideas, and the production and introduction into use of creative works or educational materials generated within the Harvard community. Such a policy should be favorable to the concept that public benefit should take precedence over financial gain, either by the University or the individual scholar." (From the Introduction to the Statement of Policy in Regard to Inventions, Patents, and Copyrights).

(b) A draft document currently before Yale University's Committee on Cooperative Research offers the option of taking the public benefit notion one step further, by advocating that "Even though the University advances no ownership claim to copyrights in most copyrights created at Yale, it is nonetheless in the interest of the University and members of the University community that copyrights be used to advance educational goals." (Introduction) This draft copyright policy addendum then proceeds to address authoring and publishing situations in which "small markets fail to define economic interests effectively" (e.g., specialized scholarly and scientific articles) and recommends -- though does not mandate -- that faculty and researchers retain ownership of copyrights and license to publishers all the rights they need to conduct their business. The benefit of keeping copyright ownership close to the creators allows for alternative, non-monopolistic forms of distribution (the researchers' web sites, disciplinary sites, preprint servers, as well as the formal publishers' value-added outlets) and therefore of reaching many more readers who might not otherwise license a publisher's costly (though perhaps highly-value-added) ejournal databases. At the same time, licensing to publishers the broad-based rights that meet their needs (i.e., including the materials on their electronic sites, making links, giving non-exclusive rights to third-party vendors, and so on), assures that the publishers do not need repeatedly to hold up their production tasks to seek permissions whenever circumstances may require additional rights.

(26) For general information see:

and for the specific copyright license agreement see:
(27)Paul Ginsparg, e-mail communication of February 20, 1998.

(28) K. H. Hammonds, S. Jackson. G. DeGeorge, and K. Morris, Business Week, December 22, 1997, pages 96-102.

(29) D. F. Noble, Digital Dipolma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education, First Monday, 3, Issue #1, January 1998.

(30) S. Harnad and M. Hemus All or None: There Are No Stable Hybrid or Half-Way Solutions

for Launching the Learned Periodical Literature in the PostGutenberg Galaxy,
Butterworth, I. (Ed.) The Impact of Electronic Publishing on the Academic Community. London:
Portland Press (1977) and is available at: