UNESCO, Paris, 19-23 February 1996

Editorial Preface

The objective of this international conference was:

After hearing state of theart presentations by speakers chosen to review the major topics and issues detailed below, delegates were invited to participate in workshops for the discussion of key questions identified in the main sessions. Responses to these questions enabled the drafting of recommendations which were discussed and then approved by the Conference. They are to be presented to the 25th General Assembly of ICSU and have been reported to the DirectorGeneral of UNESCO.

These recommendations focus attention on the actions which can and need to be taken during the remaining years leading up to the beginning of the 21st century to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived for all concerned with the progress of scientific research by the application of information technology to the distribution of scientific information. Action following the adoption of these recommendations will be decided by members of the ICSU family in consultation with UNESCO where appropriate.

Conference Planning

The detailed planning for the conference was the responsibility of ICSU Press which, in collaboration with UNESCO, established a joint Programme Committee to work out the detailed programme. Corresponding members were invited to join this committee to form the Editorial Board which was responsible for the Proceedings. Rather than issuing a call for papers the members of the Programme Committee selected experts with established views on each of these topics to prepare and present summaries. These formed the basis for the drafting of questions to guide the Working Groups in their discussion of the important issues. In some sessions there was provision for short contributions by delegates from countries experiencing economic and social development. Comments on the outline plan were sought from members of an International Advisory Committee.

The subjects selected for the plenary sessions were the following:
(1) Introductionwhere are we now?
(2) Electronic data storage, access and archiving
(3) Tools and standards for protection control and presentation of data
(4) Legal and ethical issues in electronic publishing
(5) Scientists' view of electronic publishing and issues raised & Views of Learned and Professional Scientific Society Publishers
(6) Economics and organisation of primary electronic publishing
(7) Options for the Future Conference time-table

Simultaneous translation into English and French was provided for delegates in the Main Conference Hall. Working Groups were conducted in English.

The Conference Chairman was Professor Sir Roger Elliott and the Proceedings Editor was Dr Dennis Shaw.Enrolment of Delegates

Delegates were nominated by ICSU Scientific Unions, Commissions and Committees, National Members and Scientific Associates, and others were invited to apply through UNESCO. Invitations to those selected to participate were issued by ICSU Press and UNESCO in September 1995. Others, particularly publishers, with an interest in the conference topic were invited to apply for a restricted number of places which were allocated when the main enrolment has been completed during the autumn 1995.

The distribution of participants by subject, country and affiliation (see below) demonstrates that the method of selection produced a valid world-wide conference of experts. There was a bias in favour of physics and related disciplines which was evidence of the progress in electronic publishing achieved by IUPAP and its member societies together with other ICSU Unions such as IAU and IUCr.

The membership of the International Advisory Committee was chosen in order to complement the expertise of members of the Editorial Board.

Planning for the working groups

The modus operandi for the working groups, was determined by the Programme Committee at its December 1995 meeting. At that time the composition of the conference body in terms of discipline, interests, and experience was clear and decisions could be made on such matters as the probable size of the five groups, and how many questions should be addressed to each of them. Also, since speakers were asked to provide long abstracts (circa 500 words) on their topics, followed by a first draft text of their papers including an indication of the vital issues they foresaw, it was then possible to identify several of the matters to be explored in discussion. Participants were notified of the broad subject areas selected for the five groups and were invited to express a preference.

Publication of Proceedings

Conference Proceedings will be published during the summer 1996 and will be presented, together with the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Working Groups, to the delegates to the 25th ICSU General Assembly in Washington DC in September 1996.

A report on the Conference and its conclusions will also be presented to the DirectorGeneral of UNESCO.


The Conference organisers wish to express their gratitude to the following who made grants towards the cost of the conference:
- International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU)UNESCO-ICSU Press
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Elsevier Science BV, Amsterdam
The French Ministry for Research
International Development Research Centre (Canada)
The Nuffield Foundation, London
Oxford University Press
The Wenner-Gren Foundation, Stockholm
John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York
The H.W.Wilson Foundation, New York

Steering Committee KaiInge Hillerud (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Chairman of ICSU Press)
Chairman André Authier (France, Former President of IUCr) Joint Chairman of Local Committee
Roger Elliott (UK, Former Chief Executive of Oxford University Press) Conference Chairman
Julian MartonLefèvre (Executive Director of ICSU)
Howard Moore (UNESCO, Chief of Scientific and Documentation Unit, Publications Division) Joint Chairman of Local Committee
John Rose (UNESCO, Technology Division)
Dennis Shaw (UK, Former President of IATUL) Secretary
Robert Wedgeworth (USA, President of IFLA)Programme Committee & Proceedings Editorial Board(a)

Full Members
Dennis Shaw (ex officio) Chairman
Bryan Coles (UK, Director of Taylor & Francis)
Roger Elliott (Conference Chairman ex officio )
Ekkehaard Fluck (Germany Director of Gmelin (CODATA))
L J Haravu (India, Information Manager of ICRISAT)
Tarja KoskinenOlsson (Finland, Chairman of IFFRO)
Christian Lupovici (France, Assistant Director of INIST)
Vitaly Nechitailenko (Russia, IUG)
Marthe Orfus (ICSTI) , Secretary
John Rose (UNESCO)
Anthony Watkinson (UK, Director of Chapman & Hall)

(b) Corresponding members
Graham Cornish (UK, British Library Copyright Officer)
Thomas Dreier (Germany, Max Planck Institute for Patent Law and Intellectual Property)
Howard L Funk (USA, VicePresident of IFIP)
Arnoud de Kemp (Germany, Director of Springer, Chairman of STM Innovations Committee)
Ivan Klimes (UK, Director of Rapid Communications of Oxford)
Lisbeth Levey (USA, Director of AAAS SubSaharan Programme)
Brian McMahon (UK, Project leader IUCr)
Geert Noorman (Netherlands, Director of Elsevier Science BV)International Advisory Committee
Adnan Badran (UNESCO Assistant Director for Science)
Georges Cosmides (USA, NIH Toxicology Programme, NLM)
Mike Dacombe (UK, Executive Secretary of IUCr)
Mihály Ficsor (Assistant Director General of WIPO)
Eugene Garfield (USA, Honorary President of ISI)
Lex Lefebvre (Netherlands, Secretary of STM)
Edward N Maslen (University of Western Australia)
Franco Mastroddi (DG XIII EEC)
Simon Mitton (UK, Science Director, Cambridge University Press)
Kurt Pawlik (Germany, President of IUPsyS)
Walter G Peter III (USA, Deputy Executive Director of ASM)
David Russon (UK, President of ICSTI)Kent A Smith (USA, Past President of ICSTI)
Juan Voutssas (Mexico, Director of UNAM Information Center for Science and Humanities)
Mark Wahlqvist (Australia, Monash University (IUNS)).

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