KMDI Pioneer Award in Electronic Publishing
While Leslie Chan and the gang bus their way down to Niagara Falls this morning as part of a post-conference tour (they'll be going on the Maid of the Mist and taking in a few winery tours, I understand) I am hanging around here to catch up on posting some of the events of the past few days (plus I have to do some roofing, my former/current trade while I transition to librarianship). . .
As part of the ELPUb extracurricular events there was a Boat Cruise and Dinner arranged by the organizers ~ I blogged about it earlier in terms of drink tickets and "vanilla access," which the following morning Leslie Chan greeted me with that knowledge, "You didn't like the beer,eh?!" . . . I replied, "So someone IS reading this stuff . . . " [;-)
I should mention too, conveying the light wit that has been undergirding the conference here, Lynn Copeland's comment prefacing her presentation on the context behind the development of OJS at SFU, "I hope our boat trip last night, going around and around in circles behind a bigger boat while it got darker and darker, is not a metaphor of what we are trying to do here."
One highlight of the Dinner & Cruise was the presentation of the KMDI Pioneer Award for outstanding contribution to the field of electronic publishing. Gale Moore, just days before stepping down as Director of KMDI and starting a super-sabbatical, introduced the context behind the award. She also suggested this could pose a model for subsequent ElPub host organizers to find someone in their host country who has contributed significantly to the field of electronic publishing. This year's recipient was John W Senders, Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto. This brief description in the evening's Program situates Mr. Sender's accomplishment,
John Sender's 1975 Report to the U.S. National Science Foundation-Scientific Publication Systems: An Analysis of Past, Present and Future Methods of Scientific Communication (with UT colleagues Anderson, C & Hecht, C) provided a systematic account of the concern at that time that "the current methods of scientific publication are becoming inadequate to meet the needs of the scientific community" (p.ii). The future he saw was electronic. In 1976 he started what may be the first electronic publication.
John, in accepting the award, recounted some of the career history that led his recommendations and explained the reason he was not a billionaire like Bill Gates today was that when he introduced his e-journal idea to a funder and named the substantial dollar figure for launching the project, the funder readily agreed with the potential of the new venture and replied by substantially increasing the amount of seed money that should be allocated (exponentially increasing!), It was at that point that Mr. Sender's saw "the money would own him and that he would not be in control of it" . . . so he quietly stepped away after the initial journal. Still full of energy, wit and charm at the age of 80, John Sender's seems to have made the right decision. And the profound foresight of his article is evidence that he was indeed, a significant pioneer in this now full-blown field of electronic publishing. An article, "The Scientific Journal of the Future" (The American Sociologist, 1976 vl 11 (August): 160-164), is proof that Mr. Sender's saw quite accurately into that future.
Read it here (please make allowances, I haven't taken a Digital Scanning course yet!)