Re: For Whom the Gate Tolls?

From: Greg Kuperberg <greg_at_MATH.UCDAVIS.EDU>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 15:17:54 -0800

On Sun, Dec 31, 2000 at 09:57:50PM +0000, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> The following paper is available at:
> Comments welcome.

I suppose that it may be late to discuss this document. But now that
I am reviewing it, I have a comment about this passage from section 7.1:

    Physicists have already shown the way, but at their current
    self-archiving rate, even they will take another decade to free the
    entire Physics literature -- with the Cognitive Sciences 39 times
    slower still, and most of the remaining disciplines not even started:

    This is why it is hoped that (with the help of the
    institutional archive-creating software) distributed,
    institution-based self-archiving, as a powerful and natural complement
    to central, discipline-based self-archiving, will now broaden and
    accelerate the self-archiving initiative, putting us all over the
    top at last, with the entire distributed corpus integrated by the
    glue of interoperability.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion that institution-based open
archiving (sorry, I won't call it "self-archiving") is the bugle call
of the revolution. But you should at least say "I hope that" instead of
"it is hoped that". Better yet, since you say in the previous paragraph
that the arXiv has "shown the way", you could mention some of the
other opinions of its supporters. In my opinion, institution-based
archives are,

o in physics, all but superceded by the arXiv,
o in mathematics, a politically appealing distraction, and
o in computer science and economics, the inadequate status quo.

As I said before, I know that NCSTRL and RePEc, which are the efforts
in computer science and economics to make institutional archives
interoperable, are important major projects. I don't mean to slight
them. But they are not a panacea and they do not match the arXiv.
Computer science has a second important project, ResearchIndex/CiteSeer,
which has some good features that the arXiv does not. But (a) it doesn't
match the arXiv either, (b) it relies on search engine intelligence and
not bureaucratic standards, and (c) an arXiv search facility could be
made as intelligent as CiteSeer.

Also, in my opinion the main use for OAI is not interoperability between
institutions, but rather between entire disciplines.
  /\  Greg Kuperberg (UC Davis)
 /  \
 \  / Visit the Math ArXiv Front at
  \/  * All the math that's fit to e-print *
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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