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I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world. — Margaret Mead


 
Scholarly publishers have responsibilities to their authors and readers to ensure that the information they provide is worth reading — that it is accurate, new, and faithful. To ensure that worth, publishers do a lot of work. At JEP, for instance, we offer authors both peer-review and editor-review (although peer-reviewed articles get editor reviews anyway). Good reviews are welcomed by our authors, who recognize the value of an extra pair of eyes to ensure that the logic flows and the details are correct. Every scholarly publisher has some form of review, and the stringency of the review ensures the quality of the material.

Scholarly publishers are not just associated with university presses or commercial publishing companies, they can be discipline-based organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and even academic departments or research centers. Each has a responsibility to publish only worthwhile material, and each does it slightly differently.

But review is not the only way publishers ensure the value of their products. Publishers add to that value by understanding the medium in which they are publishing (electronic, in our case), its potential to offer more and different materials, the difficulties that have to be overcome, and the tools that can help.

This issue of The Journal of Electronic Publishing features authors who recognize the responsibility of publishers to leave the world a little better, and each has a different approach to adding to the sum of accurate information in the world. All of them have done so here.

Locally Controlled Scholarly Publishing via the Internet: The Guild Model

Rob Kling, professor of information science and information systems at Indiana University - Bloomington; Lisa Spector, research associate in the Center for Social Informatics at Indiana University; and Geoff McKim, a doctoral student at the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science, examine what they call "career review" and show how its strengths undergird many of the sites that people go to for accurate information.

Intensive Disciplinarity in Electronic Services for Research and Education: Building Systems Responsive to Intellectual Tradition and Scholarly Culture

Timothy Stephen, a professor of communication at the University at Albany, SUNY, and president of the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship (CIOS), and Teresa M. Harrison, professor of communication and chair of the department of communication at the University at Albany, SUNY, argue that interdisciplinary scholarly resources miss so much that their value should be questioned. They instead propose a discipline-based approach to collecting information of value.

What Are the Alternatives to Peer Review? Quality Control in Scholarly Publishing On The Web

William Y. Arms, a professor of computer science at Cornell University, says that the Web offers several alternatives to peer review for ensuring the proliferation of accurate information in the world, and he focuses on "volunteer review" as a new and successful approach.

Writing Electronically: The Effects of Computers on Traditional Writing

Sharmila Pixy Ferris, associate professor and graduate program director in the department of communication at William Paterson University, explores how electronic writing is different from traditional writing. Her reflections may cause you to reflect, too, about the effect of the medium on the fidelity of the information.

Typesetting Native American Languages

Apostolos Syropoulos, president and founding member of the Greek TeX Friends Group, explains how having the right typesetting software can make what we produce more accurate.

Fourteen Lessons: Initiating and Editing an Online Professional Refereed Journal

Genevieve Brown, professor and chair of the department of educational leadership and counseling at Sam Houston State University, and Beverly J. Irby, professor and director of the Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in the department of educational leadership and counseling at Sam Houston State University, started the Advancing Women in Leadership Journal, and they share some advice about adding to the sum of accurate information in the world.

The Publishing Business: Desktop Publishing Software

Bevi Chagnon, a publishing consultant, says that the right tools can help e-publishers deliver accurate information. She compares five desktop-publishing packages and suggests what types of publications they're best suited for.

Adding to the sum of accurate information in the world means choosing right, presenting well, and delivering effectively. I hope this issue of JEP will help you do that.

Enjoy.



Judith Axler Turner may be reached by e-mail at judith@turner.net.