Re: The archival status of archived papers

From: J Adrian Pickering <>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 02:38:31 +0000

At 22:54 03/12/2002, you wrote:

>I think deletion should be a (discouraged but available) option, but
>with a persistent tag for the deleted (null) text, as a place-holder for
>would-be citers who did read that draft and do want to refer to it (even
>against the author's request, and even backed up only by hearsay). The
>best corrective for this is to self-archive the updated, corrected draft
>too, and have the archive pointers always point to that too, even the
>null (deleted) ones. (But I really do think that if someone's draft is
>so raw that they would rather it could vanish without a trace, then
>perhaps it was too early a draft to post publicly in the first place,
>and should only have been emailed to a few trausted colleagues!)

I'm glad this is getting an airing. Can I make a proposition, then
(essentially what came up earlier):

1. All archived copies are citable and users MUST be aware of that

2. (to reinforce this) Only upon a properly reasoned and authenticated
application will archived copies be withdrawn from access (and only on the
requested server). There will be a risk that references will fail if such
copies are withdrawn.

Users will then adapt their behaviour to the rules. I suggest that this
will encourage the desired behaviour and disuade 'half baked' material
being archived. There was some merit in the old paper-based process - time
to think and revise before 'publication' i.e. uncontrolled dispersal to the
total community, rather than controlled dispersal.

This assumes that any archived copy is published. To allow the 'email to
trusted colleagues' model you could have an archived copy that is password
protected - much as the review process in e-journals. However, this does
compromise the principle of an archive, which I think is that everything
should be publicly accessible. It could be that the early drafts may become
public after a gracetime. They may well be of interest to the history of
science one day.

Received on Wed Dec 04 2002 - 02:38:31 GMT

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