MANHATTAN — As Kansas State University and other research institutions scramble to offset inflation problems complicated by the rising cost of scholarly journal subscriptions — a plight that has forced research libraries such as Hale Library to cut journal subscriptions and reduce budgets for such subscriptions — researchers at K-State may have developed an approach designed to lessen the sticker shock of journal subscriptions.
Researchers at the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Hazardous Substance Center — a 14-institution consortium headquartered at Kansas State University and established to conduct research pertaining to hazardous substances produced through agriculture, mining, mineral processing and other activities — have begun a web-based, peer-reviewed scientific journal for professionals to publish research findings. Larry Erickson, director of the center, estimates this form of dissemination of scholarly reseach and information may reduce the cost of publishing and distribution of scientific journals by 50 percent, thus reducing the cost of subscriptions and making the information more available worldwide. The Journal of Hazardous Substance Research is one of a few such independent sites in the country that makes peer-reviewed articles available on the Internet.
"I would say that the concept of doing the on-line peer review journal basically came about because we felt that there would be great value in doing that," Erickson said. "One, from the standpoint of saving money; two, from the standpoint of making information available to a large audience at a modest cost; and three, because of the interaction with what we were already doing in terms of putting out our conference proceedings. Some of the people wanted their work peer-reviewed and so we said sure we can do that and so we started the journal to make that available."
According to Erickson, this concept of publishing on-line is relatively new. While a number of journals make their material available in print and on-line form, he said one of the aspects of the center's online publication is that the Internet allows the use of video clips, computer programs and other technology media.
"I think there's a potential to publish in a way that goes a lot further with the use of different media," Erickson said. "We can take advantage of this in an on-line publication. The fact that our principal publication is on-line as opposed to being secondary to the print allows us this flexibility."
Journal subscribers may print copies of papers posted on the site without a copying charge. Institutional subscribers may make archival and multiple copies of the same article with no fee. Subscribers also receive a monthly listing of new papers via e-mail. Subscription rates for the journal are $250 for Institutional subscribers; and $25 for a personal subscription. Erickson said Hale serves as the depository library and library faculty are providing supporting services.
In addition to the reduced costs, the availability of the site via the Internet is also a bonus, Erickson said.
"One of the significant things about the Internet is its availability," Erickson said. "You may work or go to school here at the university and Hale Library is not too far away. But if you work for a company in Kansas City, it's a little harder to get in your car, drive to the library and find a parking place. Likewise, if you lived in Garden City or Dodge City or somewhere similar where there's even less available in terms of local library materials."
Erickson said whenever a new manuscript is received it is added to the existing material posted on the site. This turnaround time is much faster than articles in print jounals where you must wait until the periodical is published. Future plans include making available for purchase a CD-ROM that would include all the year's materials incorporated into one volume and any video clips available that would further illustrate a research method.
Prepared by Keener Tippin II. For more information contact Erickson at (785) 532-6519. The website for The Journal of Hazardous Substance Research is: http://www.engg.ksu.edu/HSRC/JHSR
The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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