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    Much has been written about the transformation of publishing.[9] Many authors focus on the new opportunities for dissemination introduced by the capability for self-publishing on the Web, but most of the authors in this book focus on formal publication systems. Formal publication involves a distinction between content creator and publisher, and the use of independent reviewers. Thus the institution embodies norms and routines for interactions between these separate stakeholders.

    The early 1990's saw a number of significant experiments among publishers (e.g., Elsevier Science's TULIP project, the predecessor of the PEAK project discussed in several chapters in this book). These experiments typically focused on methods for creating and distributing electronic versions of print journals. Gradually capabilities for linking, more complex search functions, and customization options emerged. These tools were increasingly important to users as the volume of electronic content grew through conversion of older literature and the aggregation of current titles.

    While this extrapolation from print to digital production and distribution represented a significant development evident among commercial and non-profit publishers alike, several concurrent and alternative development paths took shape. Inflation in publication prices and concerns about constraints on rights for use and re-use prompted encouragement of alternative models, often within a non-profit context. Similarly, the open access movement to free up access to publications spurred new models for managing rights and supporting costs.[10]

    As one recent market analysis of the journal publishing industry reported, initiatives to launch alternative publication vehicles face significant obstacles:

    Libraries and academics have been trying for over a decade to develop new ways of disseminating academic knowledge and research, but the barriers to entry enjoyed by the incumbent journals are just too high (loyal readership, brand recognition, 'boards' of academics who peer review research), as are the value proposition [sic] (they bring order to an anarchic process—the development of knowledge) (Morgan Stanley, 2002).