Nature’s Web Debate – “Future E-Access To The Primary Literature”

Some readers may be interested to know that Nature has an ongoing Web debate concerning the impact of the web on the publishing of the results of original research. Since the emergence of the Internet, this topic has been discussed at length in reports of conference proceedings and in individual articles. In Nature’s own words: “The main aim of this forum is to bring some of the substance of this Brownian motion of Internet issues to a broader grassroots audience and debate the implications for the future dissemination of scientific information. We have invited leading representatives of the main groups of stakeholders and observers from the mainstream Internet industries to express their views in 1,000-word articles. We hope to help identify some of the best opportunities offered by the Internet, and explore what the best public and private strategies might be, in economic and other terms, to ensure that science reaps the most benefits.”

Declan Butler, European correspondent & Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Nature (5 April 2001). View full text of introduction.

The following list summarises the latest contributions to this Web debate:

· Innovation and service in scientific publishing requires more, not less, competition
Michael Keller, Publisher, HighWire Press.

· Information wants to be valuable
Tim O’Reilly, founder and president of O’Reilly & Associates

· Evolution and scientific literature: towards a decentralised adaptive web
Richard Luce, Director, Research Library of Los Alamos National Laboratory

· Blurring the boundaries between scientific ‘papers’ and biological databases
Mark Gerstein and Jochen Junker, Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry Department, Yale University

· Should the scientific literature be privately owned and controlled?
Michael Eisen and Pat Brown, Public Library of Science

· Tailoring access to the source: preprints, grey literature and journal articles
Walter Warnick, Director, The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), US Department of Energy

· The self-archiving initiative
Stevan Harnad, Intelligence/Agents/Multimedia Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton

· Information access: what is to be done?
Robert Campbell, President, Blackwell Science

· Scientific publishing on the ‘semantic web
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and James Hendler, Computer Science Department, University of Maryland

· Electronic access to journals: the views of the American Physical Society
Martin Blume, Editor-in-Chief