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Central vs. Distributed Archives

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon Sep 8 21:33:07 EST 2003


On Mon, 8 Sep 2003, Eberhard R. Hilf wrote:

> the physics ArXiv has a linear increase of the number of papers put in per
> month, this gives a quadratic acceleration of the total content (growth
> rate of Data base), not linear.

Maybe so. But slide 25 of
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/self-archiving.htm (slide 25)
still looks pretty linear to me. And it looks as if 100% was not only
*not* reached at this rate 10 years after self-archiving started in
physics in 1991, but it won't be reached for another 10 years or so...

> Total amount by now may be at 10-15 % of all papers in physics.

I count that as appallingly low, considering what is so easily
feasible (though stunningly higher than any other field!)...

> Linear growth of input rate means the number of physicists and fields
> using it rises, while in each field (and physicist) a saturation is
> reached after a first exponential individual rise.

Interesting, but the relevant target is 100% of physics (and all other
disciplines) -- yesterday!

> Never there will be a saturation such that all papers will go this way,
> since in different fields culture and habits and requirements are
> different. --

I couldn't follow that: Never 100%? Even at this rate? I can't imagine
why not.

But the point is that it's far too slow -- relative to what is not only
possible, but easily done, and immensely beneficial to research,
researchers, etc.

> [That is why it is e.g. best, to keep letter distribution by
> horses at a remote island (Juist) alive since the medieval times].

That I really couldn't follow! If you mean paper is still a useful back-up,
sure. But we're not talking about back-up. We are talking about open
online access, which has been reachable for at least a decade and a half
now, and OAI-interoperably since 1999. What more is the research cavalry
waiting for, before it will stoop to drink?

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):

    http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/september98-forum.html
                            or
    http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/index.html

Discussion can be posted to: september98-forum at amsci-forum.amsci.org 







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