Intended for healthcare professionals


Moving beyond journals

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 11 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:712

Print journals perform important functions

  1. Alex Bienkowski, reference librarian (
  1. Moody Medical Library, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-1035, USA
  2. Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

    EDITOR—Too much attention has been given to the dissemination function of journals and its improvement through the application of electronic publishing methods. I see little, actually nothing, that refers to the other important functions performed by the current scheme of journal publication. Preservation of the scholarly record is one such function, and it is not addressed at all in the BMJ's proposal.1 Librarians are not forgetting it, though—and we must remind the academic community not to forget it either. No amount of handwaving or references to “advanced technology” which will solve this problem “somehow” alters the fact that there is no electronic equivalent to print on acid free paper. Electronic signatures decay; equipment becomes obsolete and disappears; companies merge or dissolve, and their promises of access “in perpetuity” may …

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