In a trend that could permanently alter the nature of scholarly publishing, several top research universities are setting up electronic superarchives to store and share their researchers' data. Some universities see these "institutional repositories" simply as a way to capture their intellectual output, but others aim to use their repositories as a means of launching open-access alternatives to conventional academic journals.

This fall, the University of California (UC) plans to unveil just such an option for its researchers: the ability to create and run an open-access, peer-reviewed journal within the framework of its eScholarship Repository.

The repository, which is open to all users, will provide software tools to automate the process of sending out papers for peer review; the journal editors will determine the editorial policies and the publication schedule. "We are trying to provide the continuum of publishing alternatives," said Suzanne Samuel, eScholarship Program coordinator for the California...

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