There is usually a delay of several months after an article is written before it is published in a paper journal and this makes journals not an ideal format for disseminating the latest research. In some fields such as astronomy and some parts of physics, the role of the journal at disseminating the latest research has largely been replaced by preprint databases such as arXiv.org. However, scientific journals still provide an important role in quality control, archiving papers, and establishing scientific credit. In general, the electronic material uploaded to preprint database are still intended for eventual publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
There is an article titled "Online or Invisible?" (see link at end of article) which provides statistical evidence that electronic publishing provides wider dissemination. A number of journals have, while retaining their peer review process, established electronic versions or even moved entirely to electronic publication.
Electronic publishing is increasingly popular in works of fiction as well as with scientific articles. Electronic publishers are able to provide quick gratification for late-night readers, books that customers might not be able to find in standard book retailers (erotica is especially popular in eBook format), and books by new authors that would be unlikely to be profitable for traditional publishers.
While the term "Electronic Publishing" is primarily used today to refer to the current offerings of online and web-based publishers, the term has a history of being used to describe the development of new forms of production, distribution, and user intereaction in regard to computer-based production of text and other interactive media. A good example of this use of the term can be found in the work of Walter Bender and his Electronic Publishing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab.