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Electronic Ecology: A Case Study of Electronic Journals in Context

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by Karla L. Hahn
Association of Research Libraries
2001

In 1998, the ecology community was at the very earliest stages of developing a new communications system. Two new peer-reviewed journals were starting up in quite similar subject areas: one electronic only, and the other publishing both print and electronic versions simultaneously. Electronic Ecology compares and contrasts the views of the authors of content and the editors who solicit and select material to publish in these two journals.

Through interviews with authors, editors, publishing staff, and journal readers, this study answers three questions:

  1. What is the process that authors use to decide to publish in an electronic journal?

  2. How do social factors influence the author's decision to publish in an electronic journal?

  3. How do the authors and editors working closely with an electronic journal perceive electronic journals?

This study also looks to the future of emerging publishing systems and highlights the importance of some of the functions developing in electronic publishing systems. The findings contribute to an understanding of the structure of scientific communication and will be valuable to anyone tracking changing information dissemination mechanisms. The extensive bibliography also contributes to an understanding of scholarly communication practices in the scientific community.

Electronic Ecology: A Case Study of Electronic Journals in Context is available for $45 (plus shipping and handling). Order online or e-mail pubs@arl.org for more information.