Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles)
AusBiotech
ISSN: 1036-7128
1997
Australasian Biotechnology,
Volume 7 Number 4, July/August 1997, pp.241-244

Electronic Publishing of Scientific Journals - the Bioline model

Barbara Kirsop & Brian Kirsop,

Bioline Publications, Stainfield House, Stainfield, Bourne, Lincs UK, PE10 0RS E-mail: bio@biostrat.demon.co.uk


Code Number: AU97033
Size of Files:
    Text: 14.7K
    Graphics: No associated graphics files

Introduction

The distribution of scientific information using the Internet is a well established mechanism for most of the major public domain databases (GenBank, EMBL, Swissprot etc). By contrast, the electronic distribution of peer reviewed scientific papers is relatively new. However, the rising cost of scientific publications and the diminishing resources of many libraries has created a situation which is restricting the distribution of the results of scientific and technological research.

The advent of the World Wide Web has provided technology to overcome this restriction and to increase global accessibility. It makes it possible to change the static printed publication into a dynamic interactive information resource.

This scenario led to the creation of Bioline Publications at the end of 1993. Its aim was, and remains, to develop electronic publishing technology that would lead to reduced costs and improved distribution for the benefit of international science.

This article describes the potential of electronic publishing, using the Bioline system to illustrate the points. The system can be viewed online at http://bioline.bdt.org.br/ A list of Web Sites on the Internet providing references, information and examples of electronic publishing are provided in Table 1.

Bioline Publications - how it works

The system is a partnership between scientists in the UK (the editorial office) and in Brazil (the Tropical Database that provides the host computer and software development). Focusing on the biosciences, it is science-driven and operates on a not-for-profit basis. It has collaborated with a number of publishers over the last 4 years and now has some 30 peer reviewed journals online, together with a large number of reports, technical documents and newsletters (Table 1).

The majority of the publications are made available in parallel with the printed version, but additionally Bioline has begun the publication of online-only bioscience journals (see below). In accordance with the principle of using online publication to enhance access to research results, the abstracts of published papers are free to all; subscription and the issuing of an ID and Password are necessary to access the full text and graphics of papers. All material is available either through annual subscription or as single documents. Credit cards may be registered for payments and all prices and registration information is available online. A deposit account can be established to pay for single papers as required. Access is by the WWW and also by e-mail for those without full Internet connectivity.

A major benefit of electronic publications is that a wide range of electronic hyper-links to other references and to public domain databases on the Internet can be set up within a paper. From terms highlighted in documents, readers may use a mouse click to transfer immediately to associated information. For example, a reference to `uricase' in a document links the readers to the Swiss Enzyme Database and from there to sequence and other databases, as interest dictates. This changes the concept of the document from `read only' to `explore widely' and is an outstanding benefit deriving from the WWW linking capability.

Additionally, Bioline has provided a number of value-added facilities. These include:

    - a free Bulletin Board for alerting readers to papers of interest, reviews, new journals or services;

    - discussion Fora associated with the online-only journals; these can include text, images and videos and have particular interest for the discussion among scientists of debatable topics. An example is the interpretation of microscopical phenomena such as `streamers' in biofilms;

    - a supplier's database linking readers to companies supplying equipment and consumables mentioned in papers;

    - software centre for WWW-associated programs;

    - Bioline Mail, allowing readers to contact Bioline for further information, direct from the system.

The concept is to provide a Web Site for bioscientists, centred around quality journals, using all opportunities presented by the Internet technology to ensure that publication is rapid and that readers have access to information external to the paper itself by direct transfer to the sources of information.

Australasian Biotechnology

The 1996 and 1997 issues of Australasian Biotechnology are now online through the Bioline system. The major papers in the journals are available, presently, as single documents at a price of US$7/per article. Hyper-links are incorporated as appropriate. Interested readers should contact bio@biostrat.demon.co.uk for further information, or consult the online helpfiles from the Web Site. The URL of the journal is http://bioline.bdt.org.br/au . The electronic version of this paper will incorporate hyperlinks to the references given below, allowing readers to connect direct from the document to the resource.

Online-Only Journals

Bioline accepts that the Internet provides opportunities for alternative mechanisms for the exchange of scientific information. It has initiated the publication of three onlineonly journals (Biopolicy Journal, BioSafety Journal and Biofilms Journal). All are peer-reviewed to the same standards as traditional printed journals. They have international editorial boards. Refereeing is fast and takes place electronically. Text, images (colour and black and white) and video clips are acceptable. Copyright remains with the authors. All contributions are archived with the British Library, (as text files, html files and with a single printed version). Bioline believes, with a growing number of other scientists and policy makers, that this is the way of the future and that the experiences of Bioline's online-only journals, and those of other groups, such as the physics Los Alomos Pre-Print initiative, are paving the way for a change in working practices. A growing number of professional organisations have declared that they consider electronic publications as of equal merit to printed publications and the whole evaluation process for judging the value of scientific papers appears to be evolving to meet the electronic age.

New Developments

The aim of Bioline to make scientific information more globally available has led to the formation of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development (EPT). The trigger for this development was meetings with publishers of refereed journals from developing countries. Many of these journals suffer through a lack of funds for printing and adequate distribution. The consequence is that much science emanating from these regions is under-reported and poorly known. Science, especially in such biosciences as tropical diseases, emerging new diseases, epidemiology, environmental studies, conservation, pollution and agriculture, is unbalanced and deprived of much local information necessary to provide a global picture.

Electronic publishing immediately increases awareness greatly, allows contacts and partnerships to flourish and generally enhances the knowledge base, both in the north and the south. As the costs of online publication are a fraction of the costs of publishing in print, the viability and development of journals from developing countries is greatly benefitted.

The EPT Web Site may be viewed on http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/b ioline/. Publications from India, Brazil, Cuba, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Indonesia are listed and are hyper-linked to the journals.

The Future

Research publishing in the future is likely to be dominated by electronic publishing. The present situation of large publishing houses managing the dissemination of scientific results in "static" publications will be replaced by interactive system similar to the Bioline developments. Many publishers are adapting to the changes already through the development of parallel publishing services, publication of associated data and changes in abstract availability.

It is clearly possible that scientists and scientist-led organisations and societies will have a more substantial role in the future publishing process. A number of peer reviewed online-only journals are already online and increasingly recognised for their quality. The current situation of copyright belonging to the publisher, with all its inherent problems, may well be replaced by its retention by the scientist who generated the information. Scientists are primarily interested in recognition and professional association with a publication and are generally very pleased for their research results to be available without restriction. They are concerned with paternity rather than ownership. It seems inevitable that the potential for change brought about by the development of the World Wide Web will transform the world of science publishing.

Bioline anticipates that the journals published by large publishing houses and currently distributed through Bioline will in future be linked direct to the publisher's own sites. Publications from smaller publishers, and those interested in the added-value of Bioline, will continue to collaborate. The number of online-only journals will increase as funds and scientific interest are identified. The number of journals from developing countries will increase as funding agencies support these activities. Overall, and importantly, Bioline will continue to develop technically as new options become available and the value of the Internet for scientific exchange will be fully exploited.

References

Electronic Publishing in Science. 1996. Proceedings of a joint ICSU Press/UNESCO Expert Conference. Published by UNESCO and ICSU Press.

Okerson, A S and O'Donnell, J J (eds) 1995.Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads: A Subversive proposal for electronic publishing. Association of Research Libraries.

Table 1: List of Material August 1997

Journals

[All journals are international peer-reviewed publications; * indicates an online-only publication, rather than an electronic journal paralleling the printed version. All journals have a growing number of hypertext links to relevant international scientific databases from terms in papers.]

- ACTINOMYCETES [CETA, Internatl. Centre for Theoretical & Applied Ecology]
- AFRICAN CROP SCIENCE JOURNALS [African Crop Science Society]
- AGBIOTECH NEWS AND REVIEWS [CAB International]
- AUSTRALASIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY [Australian Biotechnology Association]
- AVIAN PATHOLOGY [Carfax Ltd.]
- BINARY [BioLine, Cardiff University]#
- BIOCONTROL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY [Carfax Ltd.]
- BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION [Chapman & Hall]+
- BIOFILM * [Bioline Publications]
- BIOMETALS [Rapid Communications of Oxford]++
- BIOPOLICY * [Bioline Publications]
- BIOPOLICY INTERNATIONAL [African Centre for Technology Studies]
- BIOSAFETY * [Bioline Publications & S.& T. Letters]
- BIOTECHNOLOGIA APLICADA [Soc.Iberolatinoamer. Biotecnologia Aplicada]
- BIOTECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT MONITOR [Univ. Amsterdam]
- BIOTECHNOLOGY LETTERS [Chapman & Hall]++
- BIOTECHNOLOGY TECHNIQUES [Chapman & Hall]++
- BRITISH POULTRY SCIENCE [Carfax Ltd.]
- ECOTOXICOLOGY [Chapman & Hall]+
- ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES [White Horse Press]
- FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL IMMUNOLOGY [Carfax Ltd.]
- INDIAN JOURNAL OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS [CSIR]
- INDIAN JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY [CSIR]
- INDIAN JOURNAL OF MATINE SCIENCES [CSIR]
- MEMORIAS DO OSWALDO CRUZ [Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]
- NANOBIOLOGY [Carfax Ltd.]+
- NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE [Carfax Ltd.]
- THE GENETIC ENGINEER AND BIOTECHNOLOGIST [Carfax Ltd.]
- TOXICOLOGY MODELING [Carfax Ltd.]
- TOXICOLOGY AND ECOTOXICOLOGY NEWS [Taylor & Francis]
- TRANSACTIONS OF THE ZIMBABWE SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION [Zimbabwe Scientific Association]
- TRANSGENIC RESEARCH [Chapman & Hall]+
- TROPICAL BIODIVERSITY [Indonesian Foundatn. for Adv. Biol. Sciences]
- WORLD JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY ++ [Rapid Science Publishers]
- ZIMBABWE SCIENCE NEWS [Zimbabwe Scientific Association]

Other Journals Coming soon

* Online-only journals
# Journals to cease publication after December 31st 1995
+ Journals to cease distribution by Bioline after December 31st 1995.
++ Journals available from 1993 - March 1997 only.

Reports and Newsletters

Numerous reports, technical documents, conference proceedings and newsletters dating from 1993 to the present are also available, together with two books, available chapter by chapter.

World Wide Web Sites relating to Electronic Publishing (E-pub)

Centre for Instructional Technology Development, Canada, has a large and very comprehensive number of links to material relating to e-pub: http://citd.scar.utoront o.ca/Epub/1997.html

Discussions on E-pub by Steven Harnad and others: http://www.princeton.ed u/~harnad/intpub.html

Physics Today article by Peter Boyce: http://www.aas.org/~pboy ce/epubs/pt-art.htm

Tropical Database, Brazil; Bioline host, and has a useful publications section on its own system http://www.bdt.org.br/

Copyright 1997 Australian Biotechnology Association Ltd.

© Bioline International, 1989 - 2004, Site last up-dated on 03-Ago-2006.