Forces and functions in scientific communication
an analysis of their interplay

Hans E. Roosendaal   Phone: 0031-204853911   Fax: 0031-204852860
Peter A. Th. M. Geurts


Date: 19971207

Article: tobepublished

publishing, documents, management,

PACS96: 01.30-y


This article analyses the transformation of the familiar, linear scientific
information chain into an interactive scientific communication network in
response to concomitant changes in scientific research and education.
Societal conditions are seen to lead to the concept of strategic research
world-wide: research dominated by ''economy of scope''. Strategic research
leads to transnational research enterprises - universities and other research
institutions-with a focus on return of research capital investment, and thus
on intellectual capital. This development calls for new ways of knowledge
management that in turn has consequences for scientific communication.
The scientific communication market is described in terms of four main
forces and their interplay. These forces are the actor pair (author/reader),
accessibility, content, and applicability. Scientific communication is
described in terms of its four functions: registration, awareness, certification
and archive. 
These forces and functions allow a strategic analysis of the scientific
communication market and allow to discuss aspects of strategic
correspondence to be applicable in e.g. describing the transformation from
a paper-based system to communication in an electronic environment. The
developments in research are seen to emphasize the already existing
autonomous development of a ''unified archive'', lead us to review
certification policies to include elements external to research and lead us to
consider new structures for communication, and publications. The new
structures are a result of the interactions in the market as described through
the forces and the functions. The distinction between formal and informal
communication is seen to become less useful. The need to review the
structure and organization of the market becomes evident, in particular if we
consider communication during research as well. This leads us to speculate
if elements of the virtual organization are of relevance. Finally, the need for a
coherent research programme on scientific communication is discussed. 

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