Re: The preprint is the postprint

From: Les Carr <>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 18:53:18 +0000

> Let me try one last pass at it: The DIFF between postprint and
> preprint (which Greg is suggesting is ZERO), consists of the changes
> dictated by peer review: POSTPRINT - PREPRINT = DIFF. According to
> Greg, DIFF = 0 (PREPRINT = POSTPRINT). (I am not a mathematician, but

OK, Stevan. Let's bite a bullet.

Hypothesis: in some research cultures, for some journals, the practical
DIFF is (to all intents and purposes) zero.

Let us make some measurements. Go to the library and eyeball some
physics papers and maths papers to measure the DIFF against the
original LANL submission. Conduct some (anonymous) interviews.

We know that different research cultures have different archiving,
preprint and publication habits. They also have different community
understanding of the publication process.

Perhaps they "shouldn't". Perhaps we should all agree on what
constitutes acceptable publication practise.

Take Computer Science. It is easy to see why it has grown up with a
conference culture: and that is essentially a printing competition.
Your offering is either accepted, or not. Reviewers' changes are
minimal. Maybe even cosmetic (and aimed at style, language and

Perhaps the hypothesis is true: DIFF is ZERO for a significant part of
the research community. In which case skywriting, self-archiving and
the internet provide the means for increasing collaboration and
improving the effect of peer-review.

Perhaps the hypothesis is false: DIFF is NON-ZERO for most of the
research community.

But I think we ought to know what we've got.

Leslie Carr
Tel: +44 23 80594479
Dept of Electronics and Computer Science,
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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