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E-texts versus printed materials

March 24, 2009
Different types of peer-reviewed research journals
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In response to the University of Michigan Press going completely electronic:

I will take these in order, as I am late to the discussion:

  • Digital texts, if peer-reviewed, will have the same weight as printed.  The medium is secondary to the work/group review
  • Student may have an easier time with “cutting/pasting” but this will only be a marginal effect easily caught by the simplest anti-plagiarism devices
  • Perhaps the demand for monograph for tenure should be, as with all things, reviewed for relevance
  • University Presses that are going e-way should also invest/encourage/explore electronic means of promoting/using/sharing these texts.  Kindle is one means, but don’t forget that the story indicated print-upon demand services.  You can still drop a hefty tome on the tenure-desk (which is what the comment above seemed to think would make a good, tenure-ready impression on the committee).  See services like LuLu for established models.
  • I am all for reducing the printed footprint (I did not say removing), but some thought (see bullet point about use) needs to accompany as to its use.  Could I forward an e-text?  Can I share?  Do I have to have institutional access to obtain?  These are the questions unanswered in this article.
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