electronic publishing position paper

Subject: electronic publishing position paper
From: Eugene Cruz-Uribe (eugene.cruz-uribe@nau.edu )
Date: pe 09 elo    1996 - 18:14:54 EEST

>To: ecup.secr@dial.pipex.com
>From: eugene.cruz-uribe@nau.edu (Eugene Cruz-Uribe)
>Subject: electronic publishing position paper
>Emanuella Giavarra
>Project Director ECUP
>Ms. Giaverra,
>I read the position paper and as a basis for discussion it is a very useful
and reasonable initial foray into the world of digital dissemination. I see
one serious problem that needs to be addressed. One of the aspects of
publishing materials by commercial publishers is that the publisher will
profit from the venture. This is fine. The argument is often given that
violation of copyright interferes with this aspect of the business side of
information providing. This is true. A publisher invests in large numbers
of people to produce a work. They then charge an amount to recoup their
investments and make a profit. Some items make money. Some lose. Such is
the nature of free enterprise. When we talk of digital publishing and
reproduction, then we can no longer talk in the same manner as print items
in terms of charges (following the argument of the position paper). Costs
for the production of a digital publication are minimal since the author has
often done 95% or more of the production cost. Reproduction of the digital
item is nil. Thus when arranging for a "fee schedule" to charge for
distribution and copying of digital items, it is not unreasonable to think
in terms of pennies instead of dollars.
>"The new electronic environment is coming like a
>speeding train or a tidal wave - inevitable and unstoppable."
        We need to keep in mind that the way academics do business has
changed. In my field a number of small, non-profit "discussion" journals
have appeared which publish more frequently and contain articles of just as
importance as traditional journals. This shows that authors are well aware
of the "price" they pay to be published in the traditional manner. Digital
publishing simply means there are even more avenues for authors than
previously available.
Eugene Cruz-Uribe
Associate Dean
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Northern Arizona University
P.O. Box 15700
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

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