Re: Reasons for freeing the primary research literature

From: Steve Hitchcock <sh94r_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 13:23:29 +0100

At 16:46 20/08/01 -0400, Albert Henderson wrote:
> >
> >
> Now that this source is clearly involved in a
> propaganda campaign where conclusions are so often
> unrelated to the facts, who would take it seriously?

In fact the opposite is the case. Anyone who looks at these pages will see
that they are getting the unembellished raw data.

I'd like to take the chance to fill in a little background to this
particular work, which we called 'mining the social life of an eprint
archive', an original exploration of the arXiv phenomenon. It was produced
by two students - one of whom, Tim Brody, has contributed here; the other
was Ian Hickman - who worked with the Open Citation project last summer. As
someone who worked with them during this time, I found it both startling
and liberating. Yes, as a project we discussed the agenda for the work,
producing the questions that guided it and commenting on results. But what
you see is what two self-motivated students produced themselves and
presented in the way they chose to present it, which was to make the
results visible to all as they were produced.

As a project we could have hidden these data, presenting it more formally
for our own purposes. Is that the way research works? Perhaps it's not the
way the next generations of researchers will see it. Some of our papers and
presentations have offered preliminary interpretations
( But so rich are these data,
and difficult to analyse, that we wanted to leave the work as Tim and Ian
created it. What we hope is that others will use it and build on it, in
turn informing our continuing work.

It is a long way from propaganda. Please don't be misled by comments to the

Steve Hitchcock
Open Citation (OpCit) Project <>
IAM Research Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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