publication of EGC-1 papers?

Jerry Thomas jerry at boc.chem.ruu.nl
Wed Mar 22 07:09:15 EST 1995


In article <3kl0s8$stt at mserv1.dl.ac.uk>, Barry Hardy <bhardy at convex.ox.ac.uk> writes:
|> Many good conferences include the publication of the papers
|> either with extended abstracts, preprints, books of conference
|> papers, special journal issues etc.  This can actually protect that 
|> credit is made to a conference author by ensuring that a permanent 
|> record is made of their presentation. 

Indeed.  A more detailed publication of results presented at a meeting
might have prevented the recent van Halbeek-vs-Vliegenthart debacle,
for example.

|> Also refereeing becomes less 
|> hostile and more transparent between scientists who are interacting
|> on a social as well as a professional level.  The discussions at the 
|> EGC-1 are planned to be open evaluation and debate of papers.
|> 

But refereeing prior to publicaton (peer review) and the discussions of 
a presentation at a meeting (even when published) are not the same thing.
To repeat muself, the presentation of full-length, refereed papers gets 
us into the realm of publishing and peer review.  Is this the objective?

And what of Laura Morris's original question?  Can participants expect
a traditional journal (Carbohydrate Research for example) to consider for
publication a paper that has already been peer reviewed and published
elsewhere?

|> I think we do have to legitimize ourselves.  People may be 
|> reluctant to present their work if we are too experimental.
|> We are creating a balance by allowing a maximum of choices:
|> presentation on the Web AND paper format AND CD.  We are ensuring 
|> that presented research will count as a significant publication.

This is not the usual expectation one has of results presented at
a conference, electronic or otherwise.  Meetings proceedings are not
cited in the same way as are journal publications. 

|> We are mixing the old and the new for now as we get our feet wet.  
|> (We can also allow people the choice of keeping their presentation 
|> on the Web only or presenting a poster.  But why limit
|> the other choices also?)

Point taken.  The goal of circumventing the paper publishing game can
wait in the interest of getting people accustomed to the concept of 
electronic publishing.
 
|> This is what has been planned so no debate is needed here.
|> I think we should have public discussion as well as direct
|> assigned refereeing.  The question is whether people prefer
|> open transparent refereeing to anonymous refereeing.
|> Either way the refereeing comments could be made part of the
|> record and allowed an rebuttal by the author.

I disagree.  The _form_ of refereeing (transparent vs anonymous) is
distinct from _whether_ we should have refereeing.    

|> I think its hard to argue that if we allow all formats (Web,
|> paper, CD) that we are not maximizing accessibility.  The more subtle 
|> question is how to practically go about achieving as close to optimal
|> a solution as possible.  Its going to be some time for Web access
|> alone to be equivalent to universal access.  If we solely have Web
|> publication, who is going to fund and maintain the sites
|> that present the material?  Bionet?  Our own funded sites?
|> Also, the Web is not yet ideal for publication: links are often
|> broken, mathematical symbols not yet standardized, transfer
|> rates (especially intercontinental) can be very slow during peak
|> use periods, etc.

But what do we have to give up for this, in my view marginal, increase
in accessibility?  Back again to Laura's original posting; how is the
print medium going to react to the competition and conflict?  Funding
will be a problem when the amount of archived material grows, but this
should not be allowed to inhibit the initial development of the concept.

As far as the possibilities of presenting scientific material on the Web, 
I point again as a model to the Chemical Physics Preprint Database <http://www.chem.brown.edu/chem-ph.html>, which has moved from being a 
one-man operation at Los Alamos to a funded system at Brown University.
   
|> On the other hand if we involve regular publishers we probably have 
|> to be willing to negotiate electronic distribution rights.
|> Maybe another criticism of publishers is the hard financial
|> deal they give authors while they do quite well, :)!

In my opinion they are a necessary evil, able to parasitize the process 
of disseminating scientific information.

|> Certainly we are organizing revolutionary methods of conferencing
|> and publishing that will rapidly become ubiquitous.  However we 
|> have a lot to gain by also including the better established methods,
|> by gaining allies to the project, by making EGC-1 attractive
|> to all levels of scientists.  We are trying to emphasize flexibility
|> and inclusiveness.

How rapidly it happens depends mainly on us.  Maybe in this first step
we should concentrate more on the conference aspect and less on the 
publishing.
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