More about publication methods...



F. T. Manheim (E0S, 59(9), 834,1978) has presented some pleasantly glib arguments as to why my proposed scheme for reducing publication costs would not work. He has also raised some interesting points about the psychology of scientists and administrators. However, before discussing these I would like to clear up some apparent misunderstanding about my system that may have arisen through my letter's not being originally intended for publication.

I believe that all worthwhile scientific publications should be reviewed, set in type, and proofread. I am continually distressed by the ugliness of the reduced typewriter script that appears in Geophysical Research Letters and even defaces the Journal of Geophysical Research from time to time. Everyone should want to see their work elegantly printed and archived safely in libraries all over the world. All I am advocating is the use of modern technology to reduce the costs of publication and dissemination and reduce the useless clutter in my, and everyone else's, office. I get only a few journals and rarely consult them once they are on the shelf: the papers I am likely to refer to are stored in microfiche reprint form, accessibly on my desk. Present technology of photo-offset printing makes it easy to turn microfiche into high-quality hard copy at any time and more easily into electrostatic-style hard copy than material bound into a book. The author's desire for heavyweight reprint stacks, to be weighted by promotion committees, can be readily fulfilled, either at publication time by the printer or subsequently at his own institution. Libraries would obviously receive the whole journal in either microfiche or microfilm form and could readily produce hard copy to place on their shelves at any time, such as when volumes are lost. The principal difference is simply that the waste of wood pulp and transportation energy involved in the present methods of publishing and distribution would cease, and the savings could be passed on to the authors in the form of lower advertising fees (page charges).