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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

8.3.6 Future prospects

Vicky Reich hopes that over the next five years the technology will continue to evolve but will also trickle down. Highwire Press will still be doing the leading edge sophisticated online publishing, but making university published literature and technical reports available online will be seen as routine. Of course, as more and more material becomes available, the challenge is to provide enough overall searching tools to access a coherent information space. Another likely outcome is the transition of existing print journals to an electronic-only existence within the next five years, thus providing a significant saving on distribution costs for the societies that provide these journals to their members. The example of The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) (see 6.3.1: Journal of Biological Chemistry on page 95) which is published by Highwire Press is instructive. The print-only subscription price for this journal to institutions is $1600/year. The electronic-only price is $1100/year. In other words, the printing and distribution component of the journal cost is 32%, exactly where publishers say it should lie with respect to the 70/30 debate.

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