Public Library of Science / License

Daniel Zimmel zimmel at
Thu Dec 19 15:40:29 UTC 2002

> I'd like to know your opinion on which since 1991
> has become a very important scientific reference in some fields of
> Physics and Mathematics.  Cheers, Jaime

In these disciplines the acceptance of electronic distribution has
ever been very high. ArXiv has sprung into existence because
physicists gladly accepted this way of getting their papers spread
around. It serves as an preprint server since 1991 (!). The Open
Archives Initiative with its Protocol have undoubtedly shaped the way
scientists communicate with each other. So I am think this is a very
successful effort. 

But there are things to remember: Lots of this literature is preprints
published in a commercial journal afterwards. This is essential, but
as we have Microsoft on operating systems, we see publisher monopolies
in academics, think about recent mergers happening around the giant
Reed-Elsevier.  Unless there are ways of evaluating scientific
research (the peer-review process) effectively *without* being forced
to pay horrendous journals prices--peer reviewing is done by the
publishers--the use of the net will be limited to a small portion of
high energy physicists. Some faculties in the humanities dont even
think about electronic publishing, though.

ArXiv is a good thing, but I think there need to be more efforts in
setting up more publishing platforms that are not focused on
maximising their shareholder value.  PLOS is going to do exactly
that. The fact that more academic institutions are setting up their
institutional archives is good news. 

For those of you interested in these things:

The most important forum about these issues is the 
September 1998 American Scientist Forum

There have been some SW-related discussions too, as well as very
interesting discussions on peer-review, copyright and open-access.


Where will your freedom be tomorrow?


More information about the Discussion mailing list