Locally Controlled Scholarly Publishing via the Internet: The Guild Mode

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"Many librarians and scholars believe that the Internet can be use to dramatically improve scholarly communication via research articles. During the last decade there has been substantial discussion of four major publishing models where readers could access articles without a fee: electronic journals, hybrid paper-electronic journals, authors' self-posting on web sites, and disciplinary repositories where authors post their own unrefereed articles. There have been numerous practical projects within each of these models, as well as extensive discussions about their strengths and limitations. While some of these projects have become important scholarly resources in specific disciplines; none of them has become commonplace across numerous disciplines. There is a sixth model that has been quietly adopted and developed in a number of disciplines -- the research publication series called working papers or technical reports that are sponsored by academic departments or research institutes. Many of these manuscript series are available to readers, online, and free of charge. This model -- which we call Guild Publishing -- has a distinct set of advantages and limitations when compared with the other five publishing models. This article explains the Guild Publishing Model, provides some examples, and discusses its strengths and limitations."