Considers why, after nearly twenty years of development, the electronic publishing model has not replaced the paper based model for academic journals. Gives three insights that attempt to explain this: the first is the 'means-end' confusion of commercial publishers, the second is the failure to realise it is the purpose not the form that is important about the current journal model, and third is the failure to recognise that a net-based replacement for the journal does not necessarily need a publisher. Finally some 'ground rules' to be used when thinking about, or designing, any future electronic publishing model are proposed.