The future of scientific publishing on the web: Insights from focus groups of chemists

Susan E. Searing, Leigh S. Estabrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Focus groups of academic and industrial chemists were asked to describe their use of the Internet in the process of writing and disseminating scientific research. They were also asked how they envision these processes changing in the future. The focus group participants currently use the Internet extensively for literature searching, communication with colleagues, and collaborative research and writing. Use of personal or departmental web pages to disseminate completed research, however, is still rare. Conferences, collegial networks, and the traditional system of scientific journal publishing remain central to their work. Factors inhibiting greater use of the Web include fear that the peer review system will be weakened, lack of time, and worries about plagiarism or alteration of their work in the electronic environment. They foresee increased electronic publishing in the future and expressed ambivalence about it. The chemists' views serve as a lens for examining the recently promulgated Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing. By understanding where the principles align with scientists' current priorities and where they may diverge, those leading the transition to electronic publishing may be better prepared to build support, deal with resistance, and shape systems that will meet with wide acceptance by authors and readers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-96
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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