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Angelika Czipin (Vienna)
1. General Remarks
Greater interest in electronic journals has been detectable over the last two or three years. One of the reasons is the general improvement in technological infrastructure and the resultant use of networks in universities. Another is the rationalisation of scientific work as a result of computers. The following figures indicate clearly the rapid increase in availability: in April 1993 there were 240 journals and newsletters and 29 peer-reviewed journals, while just three years later there were almost 1700 journals and newsletters and over 500 peer-revieweed journals. (1) These are not exact figures as it is difficult to get an overall view of what is on offer and there are major fluctuations. However the figures indicate how quickly electronic journals are gaining acceptance as a medium for scientific publication.
"Online journals are rapidly on the increase though many have serious start-up problems. The circle of subscribers remains limited and there is still little prestige in having published online."(2) (translation)
Regardless of which medium a scientific journal appears in, its seriousness and continuity is an important factor. An established electronic journal is given its own ISSN, which makes it possible to quote from articles and quality control is assured through refereeing. The production process for conventional scientific journals is very complex and time consuming and costs have consequently risen enormously in recent years.
"The new technologies arose at a point in time when scientific communication was in crisis."(3) (translation)
Thus electronic journals have their greatest advantage over print journals when dealing with current themes. The best example of this is my lecture. Theres little to be found on my subject in books, and most references, when found, are already out of date. However I was able to find many current articles on the World Wide Web, and these were usefully linked with other relevant literature.
This is a new form of publication. It "provides the customer access only to that information he or she wants, only when its wanted and in the most convenient form."(4) In this sense, one no longer acquires an entire magazine, but instead reads or prints only those articles thought important. At the moment, publishing houses barely earn any money from electronic journals(5), even when online fees are charged. However publication is more important than financial rewards for scientists and the Internet offers an international stage such as no print journal could lay claim to. The more scientists become aware of this, the more electronic journals will gain in prestige. Everyone can publish online once they have a Website and the necessary know how. This style of publication, for example over a scientists own homepage, is in practice of limited value, as information is easily "lost" in the Network if its not adequately "linked" to other sites. These links ensure it can be accessed from as many other sites as possible in the WWW.(6) In this respect, electronic journals can also be seen as a kind of scientific self-help. (7) An electronic, or E-journal, also guarantees - when care is taken to be included in relevant collections of links and search engines - that the publication is available to the greater part of its particular interest group. It can also be accessible, beyond that, to interested members of the public, who may not necessarily be expert in the field.
To date, no systematic or comprehensive study on the uses of electronic journals has been done. However there are clear indications that they are particularly valued by those working in the natural sciences and engineering. "Precisely in cultural studies, the use of electronic information systems lags far behind that in the natural sciences." (8) One of the reasons for that is that information within cultural studies is processed differently, but its also the case that cultural studies as a discipline is less often well equipped with modern technology.
In many countries, university infrastructure is good, but not all scientists have uncomplicated and inexpensive access to electronic media. However it is significant that ever more libraries are archiving E-journals and providing access through paid subscription. This is especially important as the continued existence of a document is ensured, which must occur, for example, to guarantee quotations. For example, the journal TRANS is archived by the Austrian National Library.
2. Definitions of Internet journals
There are also Websites which refer one to printed periodicals, and at the most the periodicals title page and list of contents is given. They can be used interactively only to order the print version via e-mail. Full text articles cant be accessed. These Websites for journals are helpful when their table of contents includes exact details on the location of an article and a particular article is being sought. For example: Fabula: contained in volume 36. However they cant be classified as E-journals.
3. Uses and Opportunities
The hypertext methodology combines information with communication. Rainer Kuhlen has prophesied that
"journals will develop from their primary function of publishing and distributing scientific work into a general forum for specialist communication." (12) (translation)
4. Examples of E-journals
The "Internet journal for cultural studies" is used by the Research Institute for Austrian and International Literature and Cultural Studies (INST) and its partners as a discussion forum. The discussion should accompany and reflect on the setting-up of an international scientific communications structure, in which the Internet as a medium plays a not unimportant role. TRANS dedicates its issues to specific themes:
the 0-number is dedicated to discussing the institutes programme, and is continually enlarged, an advantage of electronic publication. The following editions of the electronic journal contained contribitions to the institutes conferences. Since these conferences seek to encourage communication between those involved in cultural studies and various disciplines such as informatics, libraries or other interest groups, the range of themes is broad. Numbers 1,2,3 und 4 are dedicated to European Literature and Linguistic Studies. A further area of activity for cultural studies was presented in number 5. This contained contributions dealing especially with the role of cultural studies in the de-escalation and peaceful resolution of conflics, but also with the cultural potential for conflict avoidance through improved communication structures and research into and acceptance of transcultural phenomena. The next number contains contributions to this conference.
TRANS combines the appearance of a printed journal with the essential opportunities hypertexts offer, primarily the possibility of feedback by e-mail direct to the author, footnote references and references to other online articles. Attention has explicitly been paid to keeping layout as simple as possible. We have avoided Frames or Java-Applets, in preference to being accessible on old or low capacity equipment, and so that a printout of an article resembles as closely as possible an article in a print journal or a book. Reading on-screen texts whose emphasis is on words is especially taxing. Thus the printout should have the convenience of a book.
In direct contrast to that is the presentation in
This new cultural studies journal deals with interdisciplinary subjects and very deliberately uses the new possibilities of the medium. The project distinguishes itself from similar products by thorough-going use of the technology.
The Zeitschrift für Computerphilologie or Journal for Computer Philologie aims
to offer a forum for the varied opportunities to apply computers to the field of cultural
studies: for example, for computer based analysis of contents and examination of styles,
for computer based and electronic editions. The journal offers articles as well as
conference and project reports as well as reviews. Readers comments are expressly
requested. One special
section presents new publications in German literary studies and comparative literary
The majority of the articles and reviews are printed in a Computer Philology yearbook. The journal advises when quoting to quote the yearbook as the printed texts are revised and deviate to varying degrees from the version published on the Internet.
The subscription services enable free subscription to Computer Philology, by sending an e-mail address. When a new text comes out, the subscriber will be informed.(14)
In Norbert Gabriels opinion, cultural studies could "like scientific publishers be drawn into a crisis through the development of new media."(15)
The new medium still enjoys little prestige and has some teething problems; for example, the question of copyright remains unclear, as does the ability to quote and layouts are often of poor quality. However it is a mistake to dismiss the medium as lacking in seriousness or inefficient. In the technical and natural sciences, the opportunities and chances Internet offers have already been recognised. Rainer Kuhlen dares the prognosis that electronic journals in spite of all the problems still faced, will increasingly replace, and eventually fully replace the conventional product at least in the area of science.(16) And cultural studies specialists can make a very important contribution to the entire Internet culture.
"One can hope that the development of a culture of writing will stride ahead with increasing experience of the medium. But it can also be expected that the culture of writing in the Internet will gain relevance through the greater interest of language proficiant users. Up until now, most authors on the Internet have an academic background in the technical or natural sciences and consequently, given the nature of their activities and education, little experience in writing. Here lies the challenge to the humanities and to Literature, to participate more strongly in shaping the WWW than they have in the past."(17) (translation)
© Angelika Czipin
translated by Joanna King
Inhalt: Nr. 6
(1) Norbert Gabriel: Kulturwissenschaften und neue Medien. Wissensvermittlung im digitalen Zeitalter. Darmstadt 1997. S. 131.
(2) Roland Kamzelak: Hypermedia und Philologie. Erstveröffentlichung am 24.11.1997, überarbeitet am 27.11.1997. Zeitschrift für Computerphilologie, gesehen am 28.08.1998. Url: http://computerphilologie.uni-muenchen.de/jg97/hypermedia.html
(3) Norbert Gabriel: Kulturwissenschaften und neue Medien. Wissensvermittlung im digitalen Zeitalter. Darmstadt 1997, S. 135.
(4) Ebd. S. 134.
(5) Rainer Kuhlen: Elektronische Zeitschriften als Foren der Wissenschaftskommunikation. In: Modell Internet? Entwicklungsperspektiven neuer Kommunikationsnetze. Hg. Raymund Werle/Christa Lang. Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag 1997, S. 269.
(6) Andrea Rosenauer: The changing way of life of scientists in a networked world. A contribution to the 1998 SAVAL Conference, held at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
(7) Rainer Kuhlen: Elektronische Zeitschriften als Foren der Wissenschaftskommunikation. In: Modell Internet? Entwicklungsperspektiven neuer Kommunikationsnetze. Hg. Raymund Werle/Christa Lang. Frankfurt/Main, Campus Verlag. 1997, S. 268.
(8) Norbert Gabriel: Kulturwissenschaften und neue Medien. Wissensvermittlung im digitalen Zeitalter. Darmstadt 1997, S. 136.
(9) Ebd. S. 130.
(10) Rainer Kuhlen: Elektronische Zeitschriften als Foren der Wissenschaftskommunikation. In: Modell Internet? Entwicklungsperspektiven neuer Kommunikationsnetze. Hg. Raymund Werle/Christa Lang. Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag 1997, S. 265.
(11) Norbert Gabriel: Kulturwissenschaften und neue Medien. Wissensvermittlung im digitalen Zeitalter. Darmstadt 1997, S. 131.
(12) Rainer Kuhlen: Elektronische Zeitschriften als Foren der Wissenschaftskommunikation. In: Modell Internet? Entwicklungsperspektiven neuer Kommunikationsnetze. Hg. Raymund Werle/Christa Lang. Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag 1997, S. 263.
(13) Verstärker: Von Strömungen, Spannungen und Über-schreibenden Bewegungen. Zum Konzept: Url: http://www.culture.hu-berlin.de/verstaerker/vs003/index.html, gesehen am: 16.09.1998.
(14) Computerphilologie: Ein elektronisches Forum für Literaturwissenschaftler und Literaturwissenschaftlerinnen. Herausgegeben von Karl Eibl, Volker Deubel und Fotis Jannidis. Url: http://computerphilologie.uni-muenchen.de/ejournal.html gesehen am: 28.8.1998.
(15) Norbert Gabriel: Kulturwissenschaften und neue Medien. Wissensvermittlung im digitalen Zeitalter. Darmstadt 1997, S. 136.
(16) Rainer Kuhlen: Zur Virtualisierung von Bibliotheken und Büchern. In: Literatur im Informationszeitalter. Dirk Matejovski/Friedrich Kittler (Hg.). Frankfurt am Main; New York: Campus Verlag 1996, S. 112-142.
(17) Markus Nickl: "Web Sites die Entstehung neuer Textstrukturen". In: Kursbuch Internet. Anschlüsse an Wirtschaft und Politik, Wissenschaft und Kultur. Hg. Stefan Bollmann/Christiane Heibach, Mannheim 1996, S. 399.
Kulturwissenschaften und neue Medien. Wissensvermittlung im digitalen Zeitalter. Norbert Gabriel. Darmstadt 1997.
Kursbuch Internet. Anschlüsse an Wirtschaft und Politik, Wissenschaft und Kultur. Hgg. von Stefan Bollmann/Christiane Heibach. Mannheim 1996.
Literatur im Informationszeitalter. Hg:. Dirk Matejovski/Friedrich Kittler. Frankfurt am Main; New York 1996.
Modell Internet? Entwicklungsperspektiven neuer Kommunikationsnetze. Hg. Raymund Werle/Christa Lang. Frankfurt/Main, 1997.
A survey of STM online
journals 1990-95: the calm before the storm: Steve Hitchcock, Leslie Carr and Wendy Hall (Multimedia Research Group)
Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton; Url des Artikels: http://journals.ecs.soton.ac.uk/survey/survey.html
On the road to electronic publishing: Andrew Odlyzko AT&T Research (firstname.lastname@example.org). Url des Artikels: http://www.research.att.com/~amo/doc/tragic.loss.update
ELECTRONIC JOURNALS: Frank Norman, 1992, National Institute for Medical Research;Url des Artikels: http://www.nimr.mrc.ac.uk/Library/dtop/ejnl.htm
SCHOLARLY JOURNALSAT THE
CROSSROADS: Ann Okerson and James O'Donnell (eds) A Subversive Proposal for Electronic
Publishing, An Internet Discussion about Scientific and Scholarly Journals and Their
Future, Washington DC: Office of Scientific &Academic Publishing Association of
Research Libraries, June 1995,
Url des Artikels: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/isg/hyperjournal/johnson.htm
and Scholarly Communication: A Citation and Reference Study: Stephen P. Harter and Hak
Joon Kim, School of Library and Information
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405. A paper delivered at the Midyear Meeting of the American Society for Information Science, San Diego, CA, May 20-22, 1996.
Url des Artikels: http://php.indiana.edu/~harter/harter-asis96midyear.html
Webmeisterin: Angelika Czipin
last change 12.07.2000