You can't read it on the train, or make notes in the margin. You can't tear out an article to put in your files. You have to buy an expensive machine, learn a confusing interface, and master a cranky connection even to open it up.
So why does anyone publish a scholarly peer-reviewed journal electronically?
Editors of eight electronic-only peer-reviewed scholarly journals answer that question in the latest edition of The Journal of Electronic Publishing, published by the University of Michigan Press.
JEP has a new design, a new format, and a host of new articles (including reviews of JEP itself. There is a brave commentary by a librarian who wants to invest in article futures and one by a university-press leader who prefers paper. JEP's reincarnation has come with the editorship of Judith Axler Turner, who sharpened her e-publishing teeth creating the online version of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The most recent issue of this online quarterly is entitled "Electronic Journals: Why?A look at how eight e-journals came about, and what they offer that you can't get in print."
The invited feature articles are:
ACM's Journal of Experimental AlgorithmicsIn addition, the issue includes invited articles by Mike Cuenca, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas; Paul M. Gherman, Vanderbilt University; Peter Grenquist, New York University; and Thom Lieb, Towson University.
"Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice"
by Bernard M. E. Moret
"Transcending the Limitations of the Printed Page"
by Judy C. Holoviak
American Geophysical Union
and Keith L. Seitter
American Meteorological Association
The Electronic Journal of Cognitive and Brain Science
"Democracy Replaces Peer Review in an All-Electronic Journal"
by Zoltan Nadasdy
"Waiting for Thomas Kuhn"
by Edward J. Valauskas
Living Reviews in Relativity
"Making an Electronic Journal Live"
by Jennifer Wheary and Bernard Schutz
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
Public-Access Computer Systems Review
"Testing the Promise"
by Pat Ensor and Thomas C. Wilson
University of Houston Libraries
"Beyond Paper Images: Radiology on the Web"
by Laurens V. Ackerman
Rush PresbyterianSt. Luke's Medical Center
and Alphonse Simonaitis
TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism
"A Modern Experiment in Studying the Ancients"
by James R. Adair, Jr.
JEP is continuing its effort to find and reprint articles important to electronic publishing that have appeared elsewhere. The September issue includes an excerpt from conference proceedings in textual scholarship, an article on the economics of online publishing, and an article on how electronic publishing supports the Muslim diaspora community.
JEP welcomes submissions of original articles for peer review, and submissions of articles that have appeared elsewhere that are of interest to JEP's unique audience: publishers, authors, and scholars interested in the online-publishing environment.