Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 A Framework for Electronic Publishing Issues, by John December

Academic Legitimacy Issues of Electronic Publishing

Since the focus of this book is on scholarly electronic publishing, it is no surprise that academic legitimacy assumes such a large share of the attention of its contributors. In fact, the societal implications discussed in the book largely reflect a concern over the possible changes (or preservation of) academic power structures.

While clearly the use of strict peer review protocols need not be dependent on the medium in which a work is disseminated, the authors in this volume seem to spend a great deal of effort in convincing the reader what would seem to be a moot point: that the socially-constructed, status-conferring protocols of peer review is crucial in developing scholarly publications in the online medium. No arguments in this volume are presented against this assertion. Indeed, the chapters trace how the social practices scholars engage in online, while perhaps altered somewhat in shape and form, still maintain ties to the guideposts of what concerns the academic community--namely, the pecking order among institutions and publications that determine academic rank and reward. While it would be surprising to expect scholarly communication online to develop anything other than a mirror of this pecking order as a guidepost, this volume is not lax in putting this assertion forth repeatedly. *

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