Re: Validation of posted archives

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2001 14:21:46 +0000

On Tue, 27 Mar 2001, Albert Henderson wrote:

> Time will tell. All papers can't be wonderful. In the classic
> article on the value of comprehensive reviews, Conyers Herring
> reported his study of published articles in solid state physics.
> Only half retained value after 5 years. Some were found to be
> in error or duplicating other work. Other studies of the
> literature report similar results. A task force at McGill
> rejected the majority of studies it reviewed as bad science.
> There is a distribution of quality in every field, of course --
> a social phenomenon.
> Take heart. Herring recognized...

Color this herring red.

Have we forgotten what's at issue here? Albert was claiming that the
Archive literature is not of the quality of the pubished literature.
Shall I count the many sources of piscine fragrance here? Two will do:

Red Herring #1 [Albert's]: Albert replies with data on the (low)
quality of the PUBLISHED literature. Irrelevant! We were talking about
alleged quality differences between the for-free Archives and the
for-fee journals. We will settle for the exact same (low)
quality literature in both, thank you very much!

Red Herring #2 [Greg's]: Greg was touting the quality of Archive
contents, forgetting (again) that those papers are the very same
ones that eventually appear in journals. It's not unrefereed
self-publishing, it is the self-archiving of both pre-refereeing
preprints and postrefereeing (published) postprints.

Can we get back to something more important, namely, the self-serving
editorial in Science (to which I am currently busy penning a reply):

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 the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01):

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Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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