Linköping University has recently created a separate entity, called Linköping University Electronic Press, for the unrefereed electronic publication of research articles and other university-related materials over the Internet. The present article presents the background for why the E-Press was created and the strategies which have been chosen for its operation at least during its initial period. The article identifies three key problems in the context of this strategy:
- The purely formal problems concerning what counts as a publication;
- The persistence problem of making sure that an electronically published article does not change over time;
- The reception problems concerning how fellow researchersand the academic community regard electronically published articles.
We describe how the formal problems and the persistence problems have been addressed in the E-Press initiative. With respect to the reception problems, we argue that scientific journals and journal-like conferences presently perform four distinct functions, and that these functions can be performed better if they are “unbundled” and addressed by other means. The four functions are:
- Publication in the narrow sense - making the article publicly available;
- Scientific quality control through reviewing;
- Selection of relevant articles for the benefit of the researcher-reader;
- Promotion of the scientific results of the author.
The Electronic Press focusses on the first one of these four functions. We discuss how the other three functions can be separated and performed by other means than through a conventional journal or quality conference proceedings.