Publication on paper of research results following peer-review and editing has been the accepted means of scientific communication for several centuries. Today, the continued growth in the volume of scientific literature, the increased unit costs of archiving paper publications, and the rapidly increasing power and availability of electronic technology are creating tremendous pressures on traditional scientific communication. The earth sciences are not immune from these pressures, and the role of the traditional publication as the primary means of communication is rapidly changing. Electronic publications and network technology are radically altering the relationship between interpretative result and the underlying data. Earth science research institutions, including the Kansas Geological Survey, are experimenting with new forms of on-line publication that assure broad access to research and data and improve application of research results to societal problems. ?? 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.