Re: Why growth may stay slow

Anders Sandberg (
21 Mar 1998 21:44:23 +0100

Michael Lorrey <> writes:

> The alternative to the academic publishing establishment is self
> publishing, via xerox, ditributed print on demand, HTML, etc. Easy
> to use desktop publishing software is the threat to the academic
> publishing houses, not a dearth of publishable material. They just
> can't compete as they are structured now. If they wished to get with
> the program, they'd evolve themselves into internet content
> providers of scientific papers online, in HTML, PDF, PS and other
> formats, providing a commons for peer review online, using
> backlinking. Those that don't will have steadily narrowing
> business.

Several publishers seems to be doing this right now, at least putting
up the full text part for paying subscribers. I know at least one
journal that uses on-line peer review (although not in a forum form),
Behavioral & Brain Sciences.

One group who is having great trouble with the cost of the journals is
the libraries; while we scientists continue to publish at a frantic
pace, the library budgets are fairly constant or even decrease. (see
"Reforming Scholarly Publishing in the Sciences: A Librarian
Perspective" by J.J. Branin and M. Case, Notices of the AMS April
1998, for those who can
access it)

> > Can you recommend other measures of technical progress? Mine are almost all apocriphal
> > or qualitative.
> a) average speed of various commercial transportation
> b) average energy consumption per capita, times the average energy efficiency per capita.

These seems to be useful.

> c) in combat: i) ratio of wounded to killed (higher tech will have
> greater killed, less wounded.

But from a military standpoint, a wounded enemy is worth two dead
enemies since he or she requires others to help and has a demoralizing
effect; "nonlethal" weapons are useful in this respect.

> d) average time to download a 10 file, 300k HTML page, or just average modem speed.

Maybe average amount of information available in a given time?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y