Re: NIH's Public Archive for the Refereed Literature: PUBMED CENTRAL

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 11:19:11 -0400

> From: Lee Miller <lnm2_at_CORNELL.EDU>
> Date: 1999-09-22 22:51:09 -0400

> In your comments you noted that Phy. Rev. journals vary in the percentage
of their > articles that appear in the LANL archive. Why is that so?

This is due to the fact that even within physics, there is a wide variation
in the culture of how research is disseminated in the subfields. High energy
physics lead the way in e-prints because it was a natural (evolutionary, not
revolutionary) step to automate the dissemination of preprints which had been
widely used for at least two decades as the main mode of communication of
cutting-edge research. It turned into a revolution because within a few weeks
it was clear that it was desirable to actually archive the e-prints
(Ginsparg's original intention was to delete them after 3 months) and the
practice quickly spread to other fields. Usage in HEP has largely saturated,
but much larger fields like condensed matter physics astrophysics are still
growing at an appreciable rate. There are other subfields where researchers
haven't made a great deal of use. But I think the use of e-prints will spread
to these fields as well, especially as younger physicists discover what can
be done with them. It is a rather common misconception to look at physics as
a single entity or to go to other extreme and just paint e-prints as a HEP
phenomena. The success of the physics e-print archives have been precisely
because it started at the grass roots level. Extending it to other fields
where there is a different culture may or may not work. It is an experimental
question. However, it is clear that having an agency like the NIH give its
imprimatur to a new archive like PubMedCentral may be enough to transform the

> We have developed software that automates all parts of the peer review process
> that do not require a human decision. Authors submit their manuscripts via
the web > interface, and editors and reviewers view the manuscripts on the
web. This avoids > the cost of distributing manuscripts by mail. We also
eliminate almost all of the > costs of clerical help. Authors and reviewers
like this system, which we have been > using for about three years.

Sounds terrific. We are developing similar systems for Physical Review. Our
main problem is one of size. It is hard to transform a process that is
handling 24000+ maunscripts a year and it running at full capacity. But
re-egineer we must, and re-engineer we will.


Mark Doyle
Research and Development
The American Physical Society
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:37 GMT