Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PHOENIX.PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 23:53:21 -0400

About the use of electronic archives as compared to journals, I was not
thinking of any major discipline as a whole, but to only to high energy
physics, and particularly to some subfields thereof.

I am not a physicist, and therefore rely for some judgments upon
specialists, though the basic data are interpretable by anyone. Two such
specialists have replied to me in private letters [I am deliberately
paraphrasing, not quoting] that, compared to even the best journals,
 "the string theory parts of high energy physics are dominated by arXiv" and
 "string theory researchers use the arXiv almost exclusively."

I meant no more than that. It undoubtedly does not hold for physics as a
whole, and I apologize for giving that impression.

Measuring or even defining "use" is a tricky business, in several senses
of the word. However the figures for arXiv for late 2001 are,
>> per week from full network [including all mirrors]:
>> 650,000 full text article downloads (primarily postscript and pdf)
>> 260,000 abstract retrievals
>> 240,000 listings files ("table of contents")
>> 140,000 search
>> Hence about 34 million full text retrievals per year.
This means that the percent of accesses that are "real",
is about 50%. Based on such comparative data as exists for journals, that
may be about average for them too, though it varies considerably,
certainly by journal and probably by institution.

Stevan in his previous communication asked me to explain why I thought
administrative factors relevant to reforming the literature. I'll answer
that one tomorrow. I can't write as fast as he can.

Dr. David Goodman
Research Librarian and
Biological Sciences Bibliographer
Princeton University Library 609-258-7785

On Tue, 23 Apr 2002, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> On Tue, 23 Apr 2002, Barry Mahon wrote:
> > From: Sally Morris <sec-gen_at_ALPSP.ORG>
> >
> > >How does that translate to 'almost total nonuse'? I am getting increasingly
> > >baffled here
> >
> > Me too, I accept that "paper" literature is read less than it used to
> > be; but to use a pejorative phrase such this is to exaggerate the issue.
> Pejorative is rather an exaggeration too, but I agree that David Goodman
> was guilty of hyperbole when he said "almost total nonuse." As Arthur
> Smith has subsequently corrected him, and I believe David has agreed, the
> use of the for-free and for-fee versions is approximately at par, and the
> larger for-free figures were probably browsing figures rather than
> full-text download and reading.
> Now we have to interpret what this means: What it means is that in
> those areas of physics (still only a tiny minority among the
> disciplines) that have had the foresight to make their research openly
> accessible to all would-be users through self-archiving, those users
> who can afford toll-access, and hence continue to use it, are
> approximately equal in number right now to those users who cannot or do
> not, and use open-access instead. Moreover, the freely accessible
> literature is also more freely navigated and browsed.

Received on Wed Apr 24 2002 - 13:26:28 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:31 GMT