Monday 19 August 2019

Publishing - Web or paper?

Speak to science academics and librarians and you find out that the paper/electric choice is a big issue more generally, particularly for periodicals. Why publish anyway?

  • Announcing - To announce that you've written (or discovered) something - the web's good for this.
  • Distributing - So people can read your work. Online publications are read far more than paper ones, especially amongst the young. But will prospective readers be able to find your work? Web magazines tend to disappear.
  • Archiving - So your work can be preserved. Books may be kept by libraries but do copyright libraries take many paper magazines nowadays? Are e-book repositories reliable?
  • Ambition - To gain status. The gain depends on the status of the publication, which in turn depends on longevity and the quality of the contents. Paper publications from a university used to be reliable, but they're disappearing fast. Academic journals often have an "impact factor" indicating how worthwhile publication in them is. Some online academics journals are gaining fast on the established ones. The same could be said for literary magazines. "Best British Short Story" pieces come from online and paper sources. Some paper sources (Stand?) seem rather neglected. Clifford Garstang's list is a literary start at building an impact league table of US magazine.

All in all it's not clear to me that paper publication is much more reliable than web publication either in terms of impact or archiving. One option for archiving is to store your work in the cloud. It's free, and you can use it as a backup. You can keep it private, putting alongside your will some instructions on how to make it visible to all. If that's what you want.

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