Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives

From: Greg Kuperberg <greg_at_MATH.UCDAVIS.EDU>
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 09:52:21 -0800

On Sat, Feb 03, 2001 at 10:28:19AM +0000, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> Terminology is terminology, but calling one's own archiving of one's own
> papers "self-archiving" sure sounds like calling a spade a spade...

In my opinion, if I submit a paper to the arXiv or to a hypothetical UC
Davis archive, that is them archiving my papers, not me archiving my own.
The arXiv has a technical staff, admittedly small, and you could fairly
call the staff members archivists. The authors are not archivists.

> Besides, the Open Archives Initiative (OAI http://www.
> has informed me in no uncertain terms that I should
> NOT characterize self-archiving as open-archiving or vice versa.

I suspect that that's because you don't take into account considerations
that they consider important. In any case in your paper you do
still imply that the arXiv is an example of "self-archiving".

Anyway, my *main* comment last time is that you don't even mention these
points of disagreement in your article. Your article has the bias that
if people agree with you on the ends, it doesn't matter if they agree
with you on the means.

> On-Line archives (apart from the Physics arXiv) are all but non-existent.

That's not true at all. In mathematics alone the AMS has a list of 60+
department-based and research-institute-based archives,

and 16 subdiscipline-based archives,

Maybe a dozen of these independent archives are bigger, as measured by
new submissions per month, than your CogPrints archive. The biggest one,
mp_arc, gets 30 new papers a month. If you put them all together they
are comparable in size to the math arXiv.

But they're not growing as quickly as the math arXiv, not even those
in Germany that enjoy an interoperable metadata standard and a common
search engine called MPRESS, . MPRESS even
includes everything in the math arXiv. MPRESS can be useful, but it is
not the panacea that you seem to expect it to be.

> > o in mathematics, a politically appealing distraction, and
> I have no idea why you mention politics.

Because deciding who gets to maintain the archives is political.
People get service credit for it and they don't want to give that up.
Some of the Europeans don't trust projects that they perceive as American.
In mathematics, the numerous institution-based archives tend to satisfy
administrators more and readers less. They are useful, but they grow
less quickly than the arXiv because they are less useful. They aren't
by any means the arXiv's savior.

> Besides, the whole point of OAI-compliance and interoperability is that
> it should no longer MATTER which way you self-archive: centrally or
> institutionally. It's all harvestable into the same global virtual
> archive anyway, thanks to the OAI protocol.

There lies MPRESS, the global virtual archive in mathematics,
and it still does matter.
  /\  Greg Kuperberg (UC Davis)
 /  \
 \  / Visit the Math ArXiv Front at
  \/  * All the math that's fit to e-print *
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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