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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal


This thesis looks at the impact of the technologies of networking and hypermedia on the scholarly journal. It does so in five main sections. The first section, Overview and Theory, begins by outlining the aims of the study and examining prior related work. Next it defines the three main theoretical perspectives that inform the research (a constructuralist ecology of communication, punctuated equilibrium, and a genre-based framework for new media) as well as considering and rejecting a number of alternatives. The second section, Publishing and Technology, first places the scholarly journal in its historical context and then identifies the stakeholders in the scholarly journal ecology. It then looks at the range of technology developments over the last twenty years that have the potential to be applied to scholarly communication. The third section, Potentials and Responses, looks at the ways in which both publishing functions and stakeholder roles could be transformed and at some of the pressures for such a transformation. It then considers some of the responses that have developed because of these pressures and the potentials of the available technologies. The fourth section, Surveys and Case Studies, presents evidence gathered in this thesis project about users and libraries as key stakeholders. The survey is designed to gather evidence from users about their access to technology, use of electronic publishing, and attitudes to electronic journals. The library case studies look at leading edge examples of libraries who are actively facilitating electronic publishing. The final section, Interpretations and Conclusions, takes the results of all the research activities and discusses them in the context of possible transformations of the roles and practices of stakeholders and the form and function of journals. Evidence from each of the theoretical perspectives, research literature, survey and case studies is brought to bear on each transformation. The concluding chapter discusses the future of the journal as artefact, the possibility of a new technology stasis, whether changes in journals can best be characterised as evolution or revolution, the interlocking systems and interdependencies of the various stakeholders, the archiving dilemma, and the role of technology as enhancer

Statement of originality

I hereby certify that this thesis contains no material that has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma in any university or other institution. I further certify that to the best of my knowledge, this thesis contains no material previously published or written by another person, except where due reference is made in the text of the thesis.


I wish to first of all acknowledge the ongoing support and encouragement of my supervisor, Professor Don Schauder. Endlessly enthusiastic and visionary, he pushed me to do things that he knew at the time (and I realised later) would significantly improve this thesis. I hope that it can stand as a worthy successor to his ground-breaking work [Schauder, 1994a].

My thanks are also due to my Head of School, Professor Andrzej Goscinski, for the way in which he spurred me on to completion and provided me with the study leave to achieve so much. I must also acknowledge my long-suffering colleagues (who covered my teaching and administration while I was away), my students (who have had to deal with my over-enthusiasm for my subject), and Deakin University.

The data collection for the Library Case Studies section was funded by the Victorian Association for Library Automation under their travel grant scheme. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.

No man is an island, and I am no exception. In a very real sense, this is not just my thesis but the work of my extended self, my family. My deep thanks are due to my sons, Mark and Iain, who have put up with extended absences during school holidays, missed birthdays, and a somewhat distracted father when I was working particularly intensely. Hopefully, the return to some semblance of normal family life after four years will not come as too much of a shock.

Lastly, but of course most importantly, my thanks to the other half of me, my wife Dawn. Words alone cannot express the way in which she has enabled me to accomplish this work - in a very real sense her name should also be on the title page.


Last modified: Monday, 18-Sep-2017 03:27:18 AEST

© Andrew Treloar, 2001. * *