Re: The archival status of archived papers

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2002 15:05:13 -0500


On Monday, December 2, 2002, at 02:08 PM, J Adrian Pickering wrote:

> If you follow Mark's solution you end up with the risk of people citing
> papers that don't contain the information they cite anymore.

Um, no. Please look at the URL that was given and download each
of the versions. They are clearly stamped with a date and with a version
number. It is possible to cite by version. But the important point is
all versions are accessible to a reader - the changes may or may not
be significant, but the reader can decide that for themselves. In
any case, this system has been in place at for about 6 years
and it works very well (before that earlier versions were overwritten
and that was undesirable - but even then, it wasn't a big problem in
practice though there were some notable exceptions).

> This is
> particularly likely when the matter being discussed is controversial. A
> citation strictly refers to a manifestation/version not the generic
> paper.
> If the person making the citation wishes to change the citation to a
> later
> version then that is *their* right. The link is *their* link, not the
> target's. If you have 'published' something then it is in the public
> domain
> and you must expect people to cite it (and that version).

You may cite a particular version of an e-print if you like
hep-th/0210311v2). It should be clear to a reader if some controversial
tidbit was removed or changed in subsequent versions. Furthermore,
one can see precisely when such change were made.

> Regards the 'user' query, they need to be told not to submit so many
> versions i.e. *think* carefully before submission! This is a matter of
> policy and governs the degree of 'resistance' there is to making
> submissions. There needs to be some otherwise the quality level drop.

You miss a major benefit of posting to then - namely that
are often updated shortly after posting to reflect the comments of
who have looked at the paper - whether it is correcting typos or adding
new references or clarifying a point. It is precisely this ability and
that makes putting e-prints on before formal peer-review
So, in fact, contrary to what you claim, quality is improved by
allowing for
easy updates. Overzealous updating should indeed be discouraged however.
Most papers don't get updated more than 2 or 3 times - they follow a
of an early replacement with changes reflecting direct reader comments
and then a later replacement reflecting changes from a more formal
peer-review process. Papers that are replaced more often than this are
obviously suspect and readers know this.


Mark Doyle
Manager, Product Development
The American Physical Society
Received on Mon Dec 02 2002 - 20:05:13 GMT

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