The end of print: digitization and its consequence--revolutionary changes in scholarly and social communication and in scientific research

Int J Toxicol. Jan-Feb 2005;24(1):25-34. doi: 10.1080/10915810590921351.


The transformation from print to digital media for scientific communication, driven in part by the growth of the Internet and the tremendous explosion in the amount of information now available to everybody, is creating fundamental changes in institutions such as publishers, libraries, and universities that primarily exist for the creation, management, and distribution of information and knowledge. Scientific, technological, and medical journals are the first publications to be completely transformed from print to digital format but monographs are beginning to appear in digital format as well and soon all communication and publishing of scientific information will be entirely electronic. In fact, this change is affecting all components of the scientific enterprise, from personal correspondence and laboratory methods to peer reviewing and the quality assessment of scientific research. Along with these radical and rapid changes in information presentation and distribution are coincident changes in the expectations of both the public and other scientists, with both groups demanding ever more rapid, open, and global access to scientific information than has been available in the past. The consequence of this revolution in the mechanics of communications technology is threatening the very existence of a number of highly regarded institutions such as intellectual property, commercial publishers, scientific societies, and academic libraries and might soon begin to threaten even the traditional university.

Publication types

  • Lecture

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Libraries, Medical
  • Library Services / trends
  • Medical Informatics* / methods
  • Medical Informatics* / trends
  • Periodicals as Topic / trends*
  • Publishing / trends*
  • Research*