Thursday, July 24, 2008

AGU: the demise of print

AGU will cease print subscriptions to its journals in 2010, the first of what be I expect to be a rush of geoscience societies turning to electronic publication only.

AGU attributes the decision to the problem of printed versions increasingly differing from electronic versions, and to the increased costs of producing and mailing the printed versions.

The announcement is in the July 8 issue of EOS that I just read tonight. It's a modest story in the "About AGU" section. Maybe that's why we haven't heard much about the decision. Or perhaps more likely, it's not that big a deal for most of us.

Even a few years ago, such a move could have generated shock waves and outcries across the community. Today, we expect it and most will welcome it. It will be interesting to see how the other professional societies respond to this decision.

And how long before our daily newspaper is no longer delivered to our porches and driveways? I suspect that once a big paper makes the move, it will be like dominoes across the country. We live in a time of changing paradigms.


  1. It sounds like it's time for me to re-join AGU, then. I dropped my membership several years ago when I decided that I was happy with my current job, and that I was tired of being buried by unread issues of EOS (weekly!) and Physics Today.

  2. Ah, I failed to mention Catch-22. AGU says that the no-print decision applies only to journals, and specifically not to EOS.

    I suspect it does not apply to Physics Today either, since that is published by AIP, not AGU.


  3. hmmm, as a mere interested reader and voter, I pay the AGU their twenty dollars to have the little bit more access to information, and I have the same problem with their paper piling up. But there's usually one article, maybe two, I can follow and the hints and footnotes lead to better Google searches as I try to keep learning.

    I suppose it would be too much to hope that with electrons as cheap as they are, they'll be making all their journals available for the same basic fee after 2010, since they won't be paying any extra cost for electronic copies.