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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

6.2.10 Specialisation

According to [Agre, 1995a], all information commodities have to deal with economic pressures that push in opposite directions. On the one hand

their high fixed costs of production and low marginal costs of production create powerful competitive incentives for distributing them to the largest possible audience. On the other hand, there often exists a pressure for specialization to particular communities ... Content producers are developing a range of strategies to deal with these contending forces.

To date, the specialisation strategy has won out for print journals. In the area of e-journals, the dynamics may be quite different. One possible strategy for dealing with both pressures is to develop a large database of material [Hunter, 1994, p. 129], [ODonnell, 1995'] that can be repurposed for delivery to a range of communities, in a range of genres and via a range of media. Another is to produce a 'virtual' journal drawing on a wide range of authors containing articles tailored to the stated interests of a particular subscriber. Another again is to have articles written at several increasing layers of detail, allowing a reader to 'drill-down' on topics they find particularly interesting.

Hal Varian [Varian, 1996] has suggested that publishers might distinguish between site-licensed and individual subscription e-journals by providing a 'utility gap' between the two, thus encouraging the scholar to maintain a personal subscription.

Last modified: Monday, 18-Sep-2017 03:27:05 AEST

© Andrew Treloar, 2001. * *