E-journal publishing in academic environments : a study of e-journal publishing projects and operations in academic departments and research libraries
The primary objective of this thesis is to study the viability of e-journal publishing in academic environments, which includes academic departments and university libraries. These journals, which are sometimes still in the project stage, but in others are already well-established publications, are now beginning to challenge the hegemony of the commercial publishing houses. The advent of information technology, and in particular the Internet, has enabled members of the academic community to bypass the main players in the publishing game, and to disseminate research findings themselves. This thesis is a snapshot of a publishing sector that is in a pronounced state of flux. Correspondingly, there are a number of questions addressed therein that hardly permit of definitive answers. The mode of research is in the main qualitative. The research investigates the motivation and sentiment of editorial teams, in addition to their administrative structures, and these are not subject to statistical-cum-mathematical analysis and manipulation. Nonetheless, some degree of statistical evidence is provided in respect of e-journal use and usage. These academe-based e-journal publishers will not completely undermine large publishing houses, but in the fullness of time they will play a part in lessening their influence. The thesis emphasises how important open access is to the success of these small academe-based publishers, though a number of very different business models are to be found. There are marked differences between these small-scale publishing operations and university presses, and not just of scale. These differences are discussed in light of ongoing developments. The findings of this research describe the development of academe's response to the financial crisis related to journal provision. There is evidence provided that academe has led the way in developing the e-journal, and that in many ways academe-based publishers provide a better service than their commercial counterparts.