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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

3.1 Introduction

The previous chapter considered the most appropriate theoretical perspectives to use when discussing hypermedia on-line journals and rejected a number of possible candidates. Two of the three perspectives chosen make either an explicit or implicit reference to print. Kaufer and Carley are primarily concerned with print publishing. Agre, by dealing with new media, implicitly contrasts them with their print predecessors.

The title for this thesis is 'Hypermedia On-line Publishing: Transformation of the Scholarly Journal'. This implies a transformation from something as well as towards something. It is necessary, therefore, to look at the origins and development of the system of scholarly communication that is represented by the scholarly print journal, place this system in context, and provide an assessment of its advantages and disadvantages. This ensures a solid base for comparison in later discussion of possible successor technologies.

This chapter first considers the development of print scholarly journals. The role of scholarly societies in formalising communication is particularly important for the development of journals and also needs to be acknowledged. Print scholarly journals are now a mature communications technology, and the characteristics of this technology will be covered next. The various stakeholders in the print journal ecology are outlined and the chapter concludes by looking at pressures for transformation of the print journal system. This chapter does not attempt to deal with the development of print (which is an entire topic in its own right) nor with non-scholarly (or trade) print journals.

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