Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Print Journals: Do They Have a Future?

Richard K. Johnson and Judy Luther recently published an interesting article, “Are Journal Publishers Trapped in the Dual-Media Transition Zone?” in ARL: A Bimonthly Report, No. 257 (April 2008). It discusses why print journals are still available despite many predictions that they'd be "extinct" by now. The article largely focuses on how journal publishers visualize the future of print and electronic journals.

Excerpt from the article's introduction

Most observers have long predicted the eventual replacement of printed journals with electronic-only publications. Yet today — some 15 years after the Web first captured the popular imagination — most journals are published in dual print and electronic formats and many are still published in print only. A growing number of journals are born digital, but the digital metamorphosis of established journals seems stuck in the transition zone.

With the establishment of online editions of journals, the next step was presumed to be that print would be shed and journals would continue their development in strictly electronic form. In the abstract, this makes perfect sense. After all, online publication opens compelling new possibilities for use of journals. Moreover, most users have warmly embraced online access. As a society director of publications observed, electronic publishing increasingly offers authors a “more hospitable environment” in which to publish.

While evidence suggests research libraries are moving inexorably toward electronic access to most journals, that doesn’t necessarily mean users have abandoned print en masse or that printed journals will no longer be published. Publishers are reluctant to turn their backs on existing revenue streams from print subscriptions, even if they are declining. And library subscriptions are not the only piece of the puzzle for many journals, such as those that largely rely on print advertising revenue. For society publishers, membership-related factors further complicate the situation.

1 comment:

john said...

I think online publishing is better than the traditional publishing as most of the readers are using e-editions. If you observe the recent online readership survey report, you can find there is rapid increase in online readership rate. This indicates that online is the only tool to thrive the revenues. There are some companies like http://www.pressmart.net helping the print publishers to distribute their publications globally through new technology mediums. I think using these kind of services will be benefit to the publishers.