Abstract - The Information Society 11(4)

The post Gutenberg galaxy: How to get there from here.

Stevan Harnad

It is predicted that, in electronic publishing, the "trade" literature will go one way, whereas the "esoteric" literature (of specialized scholarly and scientific research) will go another. For the esoteric author, there was always a conflict of interest built into the act of publishing: one wants to get the words out there to everyone who might be interested, but one agrees to erect a price tag as a barrier, to cover the costs and a fair return. With the advent of electronic publish ing, the Faustian era for esoteric authors is over. The reason is that the per-page costs - if one reckons it properly - is so much lower for purely electronic publication that it no longer makes sense to recover it on the subscriber model of trade publi cation. It makes much more sense to recover those costs from those who actually gain from the much broader scope of electronic scholarly publication. If the world's esoteric scholarly/scientific literature were available to everyone for free in electron ic form, the first benefit to the author would be the great increase in the visibility, accessibility, and thepotential impact of the work

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