Survey of Users and Non-Users of Eprint Archives (fwd)

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Tue Dec 3 12:45:29 EST 2002



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 15:59:42 +0000
From: Steve Hitchcock <sh94r at ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Reply-To: September 1998 American Scientist Forum
    <SEPTEMBER98-FORUM at LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG>
To: SEPTEMBER98-FORUM at LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG
Subject: Re: Survey of Users and Non-Users of Eprint Archives

At 14:08 03/12/02 +0000, you wrote:
>Here is an other survey of current archive usage. (It would
>be especially interesting to track changes in time these days,
>to estimate the rate at which progress is occurring.)
>
>Ibironke Lawal, Scholarly Communication: The Use and Non-Use of
>E-Print Archives for the Dissemination of Scientific Information
>
>http://www.istl.org/02-fall/article3.html
>
>Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (Fall 2002)

Here are some questions about this paper:

- If these are the answers, what were the questions?
- Is the serials crisis the problem addressed by eprint archives?
- "Eighteen percent of the respondents use e-prints and 82% do not". What
does it mean to 'use' an archive?
- According to Table 3, 100 per cent of "respondents post articles to the
web before or after publication". Is this correct? Is this not a startling
contrast with above? Might OAI be relevant in this context?
- "Seventy-two percent of respondents who use e-print archives said they do
so for rapid and wider dissemination of information and fourteen percent
said they do so for visibility and exposure." Were they asked if they 'use'
e-print archives for impact?
- The discussion includes some sweeping generalisations, of which this is
the most glaring: "Engineering as a discipline, is not optimally compatible
with e-print archives". Based on what?
- What is 'further reading' for? Is it relevant or not? A lot of it is in
this case, and it would have informed the discussion to cite it more
specifically.

Like the author, I believe that speed of publication and peer review, as
well as impact, are critical factors in attitudes to self-archiving of
author eprints, but you may sense that I find the paper disappointing. I
know from experience how hard it is to get respondents to surveys, and this
one had 473 respondents, so we should be able to learn more from the data
than we are allowed to here. At very least, I would urge the author to make
the raw data available online so it can be interpreted a little more
rigourously.


Steve Hitchcock
Open Citation (OpCit) Project <http://opcit.eprints.org/>
IAM Research Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ,  UK
Email: sh94r at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Tel:  +44 (0)23 8059 3256     Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865




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