Monday, April 21, 2008

This and That in Publishing

The spread of the community-based applications on the internet is a challenge for the traditional publishing industry. Here are just three links I came across these last days related to these changes:

  • Wikipedia is, of course, a serious contender for the classical encyclopedias. The Encyclopedia Britannica offers as new, special program for web publishers, including bloggers, webmasters, and anyone who writes for the Internet. It's called Britannica WebShare, and upon registration, it allows links to fulltext entries of the encyclopedia. So far, I have often been relying on Wikipedia when I thought that some background information on concepts or people or events I am talking about in a post may be useful - mainly because access to wikipedia is free, and the quality often excellent. In the future, I think I'll give a try also to the Britannica.

  • Oxford University Press wants to learn more about the research habits of today’s researchers and scholars. Using a Research Habits Survey, they want to figure out if their customers prefer printed journals over the electronic version, traditional books over e-books, read papers on the screen or on print-outs, use google or specialised data bases to locate relevant literature, rely on bogs or news feeds to stay tuned with the latest developments, and so on. Doing the survey, one realises once more how drastic hanges the last ten years or so have brought for traditional publishers.

  • Finally, the May issue of the Scientific American runs an article on Science 2.0 - Is Open Access Science the Future? It deals with issues and examples coming mostly from the life sciences, and is interesting to read - and it's online here.


  1. If website advertising generates larger income than goods offered, offer said goods for free to maximize traffic.

    Like commuter lanes and other social grotequeries the previous paragraph works if almost nobody engages it. When manners fail the tragedy of the commons erupts. Press on a Hoberman sphere and it doesn't crack, it implodes.

  2. What do you folks think of The National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS)? (Link) I wonder if they make it easier for "Independent Scholars" (qualified thinkers who aren't "institutionally affiliated") to get published, Internet or otherwise? Any experiences with them or similar? I am sure some commenters here fall into the IS category, and some are borderline like me.


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