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Personal-computer-based communications media-electronic mail, bulletin boards, and computer conferencing-have great potential for integrating scholarly and scientific research networks. Research networks, or information organizations of faculty who share an interest in a research area, are central to scholarly and scientific progress. They have been critized, however, for their exclusion of young researchers and of faculty at isolated or low prestige institutions. Studies show that computer networking opens network access by obliterating social barriers and status distinctions. It has often been argued that, if used as a medium for research network communication, computer networking could democratize research networks. Personal computer information services designed for personal computer uses, as well as personal-computer-based bulletin board systems, represent the most promising avenue for research network communication owing to their low cost, flexibility, and egalitarian ethos.
Date of Publication: March 1986