Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Fall 1996

Report of the ACRL Task Force on Electronic Publishing: Introduction

Norma Kobzina
Bioscience and Natural Resources Library
University of California, Berkeley

In the Fall 1995, the ACRL Publications Committee established a task force to look at the status of electronic publications within ACRL. The charge to the ACRL Task Force on Electronic Publishing read as follows: To investigate current electronic publishing activity in ACRL; to identify for the Publications Committee the pertinent issues of policy and practice in this area; and make whatever recommendations the Task Force deems fitting.

The Task Force was chaired by Ann Schaffner of Brandeis University; Hugh Thompson from ACRL and Norma Kobzina from U.C. Berkeley assisted in the preparation of the report. After several drafts, which were looked at by the Publications Committee and the various ACRL Editorial Boards as well as Section and Committee Chairs, the final report was approved at the Annual Meeting in July 1996.

Since STS is actively involved in electronic publishing (and ISTL is our first electronic effort), it seemed appropriate to publish the report in its entirety. The following is a brief summary of the major issues and recommendations:


  1. Quality and imprint: Definition of ACRL imprint, maintaining quality, new problems inherent in electronic publishing, new organizational structures and roles.

  2. Copyright: Modification of current copyright policies; authors posting works on pre-print servers of Web sites.

  3. Production/Management/Financial: Will electronic publishing change our financial base; what new costs will be created; how do we maintain an archival record; what sorts of materials are appropriate for electronic publishing?


General Recommendations:

  1. The goal of ACRL publications is unchanged--it must support ACRL's services to its members and the academic community.
  2. Electronic publication should be encouraged, and existing print publications should be converted to electronic format on a phased-in basis.
  3. Development of new electronic-only publications should be explored.


  1. Formal peer-review is still essential.
  2. Editorial boards and the Publications Committee will retain oversight.
  3. ACRL should provide support services such as training, a location for these publications, and standards and procedures.


  1. ACRL should work with ALA to develop new copyright policies.


  1. Conversion of print publications must be preceded by a finanacial analysis.
  2. ACRL should provide a stable, secure archive of all electronic publications.
We invite your comments about this article. Please send e-mail to the editor for possible inclusion in a future issue.

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