Extra to Pub News Vol. 2, Issue 1
When technical material appeared in print form in a journal no one expected the information to be delivered for free. At a minimum someone would have to subscribe to the journal and pay for the privilege. This changed when electronic communication over the Internet became ubiquitous. Now, the cost of making another copy of a paper appearing in a journal and transmitting it to any recipient became close to zero.
This has led to the Open Access movement where all information would be freely available to anyone. The cost of storing, maintaining and organizing the information was ignored by the proponent of Open Access.PSPB and IEEE have responded with five points for how to respond to Open Access.
When papers appear in print in a periodical it is impractical to change erroneous information in tens of thousands of copies scattered all over the world. As a result they persisted forever and corrections would appear in subsequent issues of the periodical. When publishing electronically, however, there are new possibilities for adding commentaries and links
The quality of information is important both for print publications and for electronic publications. IEEE has created a repository of papers called Xplore consisting of 2 million articles. These papers are all available to subscribers of for example IEL. Ensuring that high quality information entered into the Xplore database is therefore vital. An Ad Hoc committee is concerned with this aspect with respect to conference papers.
When publications appeared in print its delivery was fixed to a specific journal or book once the information had been typeset and placed on paper. No so when information is presented in electronic form. It is now possible to deliver articles and combinations thereof in any form suitable for electronic delivery. Also, a given article might be delivered differently to different audiences. I would encourage experimentation with a variety or delivery modes across a variety of data repositories and to find modes of delivery that would both enhance the material sorted and also provide revenue for the other activities of IEEE.
I believe we are living in interesting times. In the past few years there was some sort of stability and one could with a reasonable margin of error predict what the economy and world would look like in the near future. Presently the margin of error has become much larger and one cannot even guess the state of IEEE, economy and the world in 2010. PSPB and its volunteers therefore have to be vigilant and ready to make changes if needed.