Reply to Lister



C. Lister (EOS, 59(2), 66, 1978) has suggested that we solve literature dissemination problems by abstract publication keyed to microfiche documents. This idea sounds logical but rests upon a questionable assumption, namely, that the exclusive or main function of scientific literature is to inform. In fact, D. Price (Ciba Foundation Symposium on Communication in Science: Documentation and Automation, 1966) has suggested that information dissemination makes up only 20% of the function of publication. The other 80% may include services such as justifying the work of individuals and organizations, providing scientific credentials, serving as criteria for pay increases and advancement, boosting egos, and perhaps even fulfilling artistic aspirations (who is fulfilled by microfiche?).