Re: Elsevier's ChemWeb Preprint Archive

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_COGPRINTS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2000 12:25:44 +0100

On Sun, 3 Sep 2000, Rzepa, Henry wrote:

> > >
> One of the very first articles on the Chemweb forum was one
> which had previously been rejected by two referees
> after having been submitted to a "conventional" forum.
> Presumably the H/O Strategy could lead to a more or less
> permanent presence somewhere for such articles.
> Without implying anything about the specific article noted above,
> I wonder whether there is a risk that with precedents established,
> such chemistry preprint servers might simply become a refuge
> for "unpublishable science".

I worried about this too, until it became clear that:

(1) As a matter of empirical fact, the proportion of crackpot papers in,
for example, the Ginsparg Archive, is extremely low; the vast majority
are merely the preprints of papers submitted to a "conventional forum"
(= a refereed journal), and eventually they are superseded by the
refereed draft, or at least a citation to the refereed draft.

    Harnad, S. & Carr, L. (2000) Integrating, Navigating and Analyzing
    Eprint Archives Through Open Citation Linking (the OpCit Project).
    Current Science (special issue honour of Eugene Garfield) (in

(2) With the new interoperable self-archiving software
there is are explicit metadata fields for "refereed/unrefereed"
and for "journal-name". So the users can safely restrict their
reading and searching to the conventional journal literature if they

(3) It is not at all a bad idea that there should be a vanity-press
level in the Open Archives, one that can serve as a repository for
papers rejected at higher levels yet (given the imperfections of peer
review) possibly not without value, to be discovered eventually. (There
is plenty of room in cyberspace; and navigability by suitable
signposting via metadata tagging.)

But please note that the H/O Strategy pertains only to refereed,
accepted papers. It is irrelevant to papers that never get past the
embryological stage of preprints (nonprints).

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
             Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton

NOTE: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature is available at the American
Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):

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Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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