Re: The preprint is the postprint

From: Greg Kuperberg <greg_at_MATH.UCDAVIS.EDU>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 11:07:16 -0800

On Tue, Dec 05, 2000 at 05:43:24PM +0000, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> Now in what conceivable sense is this substantive (indeed qualitative)
> difference in content, owing to the dynamic, interactive effects of
> quality-control (peer review), in any way analogous to the difference
> between "Greg Kuperberg with tenure" and "Greg Kuperberg without
> tenure"? Greg stresses that both are the same person, by which he
> (rightly) sets aside the (irrelevant) difference in status and income.

At the pedantic level that you're entertaining the difference between
tenured and untenured researchers is entirely analogous to the difference
between preprints and postprints. There is the same "dynamic process" by
which your university tells you what is good or bad about your research.
While you are still "a preprint" you have time to change aspects of
your research in response to your department's constructive criticism.
Then later when you have tenure you are "a postprint", presumably with
more independence.

Even if you don't accept the analogy, I won't say that you dismiss tenure
as non-existent or irrelevant just because you do not think that people
change identity when they get tenure.

Admittedly my comparison is a bit toungue-in-cheek, but I see it as not
only apt but also germane, at least in my case. Getting promoted is one
of the main reasons that I do still send my work to journals. My whole
objection to the preprint/postprint dichotomy is the implication that
my work is made of straw until a journal cements it. I trust my own
mathematical judgement, and I trust my correspondents even more, and
therefore I don't need a journal to tell me whether or not I am right.
Of course I am only really speaking for my discipline, mathematics,
and in particular for myself. I am happy to assume that the situation
is different in other disciplines.
  /\  Greg Kuperberg (UC Davis)
 /  \
 \  / Visit the Math ArXiv Front at
  \/  * All the math that's fit to e-print *
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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