Re: A Note of Caution About "Reforming the System"

From: Greg Kuperberg <greg_at_MATH.UCDAVIS.EDU>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 08:32:20 -0800

On Fri, Feb 16, 2001 at 09:10:59AM +0000, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> But that is not the mandate of this Forum! This Forum is concerned with
> righting just one palpable wrong, one that is clearly in focus, and one
> whose righting is clearly within our reach, and is indeed overdue,
> namely, the freeing of the refereed research literature, which is and
> always has been an author give-away, from all access tolls (and hence
> impact barriers) online.

I am entitled to my own reasons for wanting an open archive of
research papers. I'll grant you that saving money is a worthy goal.
But the costs have never impeded me all that much, not even indirectly
through journal cancellations. The immediate drawbacks for me all along
have been delay to publication and disorganization of the literature.
My dissatisfaction started with my very first research paper, which was
written in my senior year in college but only finally distributed when
I was finishing graduate school. My point in harping on peer review is
that the devastating delay to publication in mathematics, half of which
is due to stalling by referees, is also largely pointless.

The math arXiv has brought real results in a second research discipline
(after physics). I am not by any means the only supporter of the math
arXiv, nor do I run it, but I have chipped in quite a bit over the past
three years. Many of the other supporters share my reasons, and some of
them have their own separate reasons. If, in addition to wanting open
archives as you do, we also had to confine ourselves to your reasons
for wanting them, you would be chasing away a lot of help.
  /\  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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