Serials Management in Academic Libraries: A Guide to Issues and Practices

By Jean Walter Farrington | Go to book overview

3

Management of Serials Information in a Changing Environment

INTRODUCTION

The Journal as a Medium of Communication

Nearly all disciplines of study make use of serials, particularly the scholarly journal, as a primary means of communicating new research results, new theories, and new critical approaches. This is especially true in scientific and technical fields where journals (rather than monographs) dominate the printed literature. In many of these scientific fields, speed is of the utmost importance, and consequently, preprints of journal articles shared with colleagues represented the first time the results were put into print and shared with colleagues prior to formal publication. Physics is an example of a field where preprint activity was common in the print world, and since 1991 has been the norm for some specialties through electronic archives. ‘‘These archives serve over 35,000 users worldwide from over 70 countries, and process more than 70,000 electronic transactions per day. In some fields of physics, they have already supplanted traditional research journals as conveyers of both topical and archival research information’’ (Ginsparg 1996). With all of this activity on the Internet, there is the added advantage that the readers are able to have virtually instantaneous email dialogue with the authors. Most of these prepublication documents do eventually find their way into print in a journal, in part because the academic review and tenure process in the United States has not yet come to terms with electronic

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