IOP is a learned society and a not for profit publisher.
Some facts and figures about IOP :
1874 : foundation of the Physical Society of London.
1918 : IOP founded.
1960 : the two institutes merge.
Today, IOP publishes 33 scientific journals, over 6,000 articles per
year and more than a periodical issue per day. 15,000 active referees
collaborate with IOP, located in every country, but predominantly in the
USA and Western Europe. The largest category of referees is the
one which deals with condensed matter physics.
The refereeing system is composed of a Director, 15 staff members (graduate or Ph.D.), who are charged with accepting manuscripts and choosing referees, and 12 support persons. The development of electronic products is done by 8 staff members.
The history of IOP electronic products can be summarized as follows :
1989 : articles in TeX accepted for publication.
1993 : project Elvyn carried out in collaboration with UK Universities, in order to ascertain whether they were ready for electronic distribution of journals.
1994 : CoDAS alerting service available through ftp. "Classical and Quantum Gravity" listserv, Gopher and WWW established
1995 : Physics Express Letters launched.
1996 : all IOP journals available in electronic form. 1,000 registered sites for access to electronic journals. CoDAS Web launched. E-mail directory of physicists available on the Web.
The version 1.2 of the IOP electronic journals does not require
individual registration and the choice of an individual password. The
access is regulated on a domain name basis.
CoDAS (Condensed Matter Direct Alerting Service) is owned jointly by IOP and Elsevier Science. It covers 65 condensed matter and materials science journals published by IOP, Elsevier, AIP, APS and Chapman and Hall.
IOP has never made any extra charge for access to the electronic journals and has no plans to change this policy. IOP will not bill an extra charge for access to the e-journals in 1998. This policy will not be changed in the foreseeable future.
Electronic submission of articles will be accepted from June 1997 for "Classical and Quantum Gravity" and "Journal of Physics G". The electronic submission of articles will obviously incur a cost to IoP publishing (not to authors).
In June 1997, the references included in the full text of the e-journals will contain links to INSPEC records, by means of the "Hypercite" software.
The archiving issue related to the e-journals is solved by IOP offering a combined subscription to both the printed and the electronic version of the journals. The paper copy has the archival function.
One of the reasons why an 'electronic only' subscription is not favoured by IOP is that a 17.5% VAT would apply to such a subscription, unlike the paper + electronic option.
IOP has multimedia features in a number of its journals now (e.g. Nanotechnology, Combustion Theory and Modelling), and is expanding their use all the time. We will also consider electronic only option for those that wish it, but it is unlikely to save them any subscription cost. IOP is not going to move to a multimedia or "only electronic" scenario for the moment.
In the next year, IOP will launch a 5 years electronic backfile for the journals, almost certainly available free of charge with the 1998 subscription - we will be announcing the final decision in July.