Re: Evaluation of preprint/postprint servers

From: Jim Till <till_at_UHNRES.UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 12:48:41 -0500

On Wed, Dec 13, 2000 Greg Kuperberg wrote:

GK> I would say that the quality of the papers in any particular e-print
GK> archive speaks for itself. If it happens to have no irrelevant or
GK> crackpot material, you can then ask why. In my opinion the smaller
GK> servers have a natural "security through obscurity" that does not
GK> scale up to the something the size of the arXiv. [remainder snipped]

Certainly, a crucial criterion for the quality of an eprint archive is the
quality of the eprints in it. However, when an archive is still rather
small, should one rely only on this criterion?

For example, consider "security through obscurity": I'll argue that
another criterion for the evaluation of the quality of an eprint archive
probably should be its accessibility. Even if an archive contains
high-quality material, it probably doesn't merit a high quality rating if
it's very difficult to access.

A sidebar re accessibility:

Earlier this year, an eprint archive on international health was available
via Lancet's website, at:
This url now yields "404 Not Found".

I hadn't been visiting this archive on a regular basis. Now, it seems to
have disappeared from Lancet's website. When I go to: and then to "Info for Authors" and then to
"Writing for The Lancet", I find a section entitled: "Electronic research
archive", which states:

"This service is intended to offer a place for electronic peer review and
publication of research in the field of international health. For a
detailed description visit our website ("

I've tried this url, and the response has been, again: "404 Not Found"
(which means that it's gone, not simply busy).

On Dec. 5, I sent an email message (via Lancet's feedback link), to ask
whether or not the eprint archive has been discontinued. As yet, I've
received no reply.

Does anyone know what's happened to this archive?

Jim Till
University of Toronto
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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