The Future of Scientific Journals

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Science  01 Dec 1967:
Vol. 158, Issue 3805, pp. 1153-1159
DOI: 10.1126/science.158.3805.1153


Since many of the problems that beset readers, authors, and publishers of scientific journals are caused by the growth of science or by the frailties of human nature, we cannot hope for complete solutions. In an effort to make progress, within the framework of the possible, we propose that journals stop binding papers into issues and, instead, distribute to each subscriber a personalized stream of papers, abstracts, and titles. This type of distribution, which has been made possible by the advent of high-speed computers, would not affect the traditional roles of editors, referees, and libraries. We also propose that journals recognize the need for very rapid communication in certain fields, and meet the threat of public preprint-exchange systems in these fields by themselves publishing preprints in an appropriately limited manner.