Re: Prospects for institutional e-print repositories study

From: J.W.T.Smith <J.W.T.Smith_at_KENT.AC.UK>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 20:21:15 +0100


On Tue, 15 Jul 2003, Philip Hunter wrote:

> John,
> [reply interleaved below]
> > > Where does long term citation come into this?
> >
> > Long term citation is irrelevant to current communication.
> This implies an extraordinarily narrow and uninformed model of
> communication (let's leave it at that).

With degrees covering such disparate areas as philosophy, artificial
intelligence and information studies plus 25 years working in the
information and library field (in academic libraries and a national
research centre) I think I have a broad and well informed model of

> .....................................
> > > Preservation is a legitimate concern
> > > of researchers considering the self-archiving route.
> >
> > Again you have missed the point - the purpose of self-archiving is
> > communication not preservation. You are thinking with the paper
> > publication model where the refereed article played all the roles required
> > by researchers, it communicated, it quality controlled, it was archived,
> > etc. Today these roles are falling apart, the eprint communicates, the
> > refereed version quality controls, the online search services (including
> > the RDN gateways/portals) enable finding, etc.
> I might have missed the point, but it is jumping to conclusions to
> assume this. I'm challenging the idea that the 'purpose' of eprints is
> communication sans preservation, rather than failing to understand that
> they are separate. I didn't bring up the question of refereeing at all,
> unless I'm mistaken.

You wrote:

 It could be that it scarcely exists because the real issues for the
 research community are being ignored, which is that eprints need to have
 as much of the value and properties associated with paper documents as

>From which I assumed, maybe wrongly, that you were referring to the other
roles played by journals including refereeing (quality control).

> I'm also not interested in preserving paper-based communication where it
> makes no sense to do so. This aspect of the Harnad model, where paper
> journals are seen as the primary form of dissemination, is yoked to the
> past.

Here I begin to agree with you although I'm not sure Stevan sees the paper
journal as the "primary form of dissemination" but I think he does see it
as the primary form of quality control. He appears to want a hybrid system
where the current form of quality control continues but the primary
dissemination role is carried out by the archives or repositories. He is
certainly scathing about any idea like my DJ model that attempts to get
rid of the 'traditional' journal altogether.

> My concern is with the fact of poor take up of the eprints idea.

I think the eprints idea is growing very well. For the hard sciences it is
now an accepted part of the research activity. It is becoming important in
mathematics. It also seems to be growing well in areas that already had a
Technical Reports or Working Papers publishing tradition like computer
science and economics. With the support from JISC BioMed Central looks
like it is going to make a real impact in bioscience and medicine thus
promoting the idea of open access in these areas too.

> There
> is the possibility (not often considered) that other people in the
> community want something from the technology and the process that the
> Harnad solution (and yours) does not supply.

What is this thing that neither the 'Harnad solution' nor the DJ model
does not supply?

Also - what is "the community" that wants this thing?


John Smith.
Received on Tue Jul 15 2003 - 20:21:15 BST

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