Re: Self-archiving downstream

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_Princeton.EDU>
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2001 20:00:05 +0100

I am addressing only the original issue:

The non-academic public will benefit from these archives in several ways
besides the accelerated development of scientific research that they
will help bring about:

1. In those cases where they want to read the original articles that
form the basis of rational public policy, health care, and the like,
they will easily be able to access them, without having to negotiate
entrance to a major library.

2. In many fields, many articles are accessible to any intelligent
person willing to use a dictionary. In some others, a basic
understanding of elementary mathematics of chemistry may be
pre-requisite. Some may take more advanced preparation. A user can
perfectly well not read what he cannot understand, just as in a paper

3. The structure of the archive will encourage the growth of a layer of
commentaries, summaries, layman's explanations, and so on. This will
lead non-specialists to develop the ability to understand and read the
primary literature.

4. The structure of the archive can also easily include appropriate
metadata indicating intellectual level. Standardizing criteria such as
these is not a trivial problem.

5. The amount of potential data available in an archive, as on the even
larger web, does require more sophisticated searching mechanisms than
presently exist. A large number of people in different fields are
working on this problem. I am not very optimistic about its rapid

6. The best guide at present is a human librarian. The web make it much
more feasible to put user guides online, but at this time direct
interaction is the most effective approach.

7. The refusal of academic scientists to interact with the interested
public makes rational developments in society harder to achieve. It also
encourages the growth of pseudo-science, and discourages the public
support of science.

David Goodman, Ph.D.
Biology Librarian
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-3235
fax: 609-258-2627
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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