In an attempt to "start a debate in our profession," William L. Goffe and Robert P. Parks have recently uploaded "The Future Information Structure in Economics" to the Economics Working Paper Archive at Washington University at St. Louis. Although the paper uses the Economics profession as an example, the points it raises can be applied to almost any academic subject. The paper discusses the possible effects of networking on future scholarly publishing, imagining how scholars will share not only their research, but also data sets that served as the raw material for the research, enabling other researchers to verify theories "on the fly." Several possibilities for future research publishing are discussed, from electronic journals that charge for access to completely free electronic publishing. The paper is divided into sections discussing: academic principles that are independent of technology; the impact of networks on working papers, journals and libraries; the implications of increased access to data; new opportunities for scholarly publishing in a networked environment; and a "roadmap" to a possible future of scholarly publishing. "Future Information" is available in .pdf, postscript, and TeX formats, is twenty pages long, contains little economics jargon, and has over 40 references to other electronic and non-electronic sources of interest. Goffe is a Professor in the Department of Economics and International Business at the University of Southern Mississippi, and is the author of "Resources for Economists on the Internet," one of the best Internet subject guides available. Parks is the maintainer of the Economics Working Paper Archive, a large and well organized electronic working paper archive.
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