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RE: Authentication of versions

In a practical sense, it is difficult enough keeping up with literature at
King's average rate of 2/day. If one had to simultaneously keep track of
the 2 or 3 or 20 variant forms, neither reading nor progress will result.
Publication is organized for a purpose, and is not merely random

The authority of a paper comes not only from where it is published (i.e.,
the editor and referees), but also by whom the author is, under whose
direction was it, and at what University. I am told by physicists that
they use arXiv in such a fashion: they go to their subject section, and
look for the names they recognize as authors worth reading. This has an
obvious bias against new authors--but the bias is not absolute, because
the first papers of a new scientist are likely to be co-authored by his
director, and because readers know the institution. In any case, most
peer-review in science is not blind, and the referees know the person and
the institution, giving a similar bias.

Science is about people interacting with ideas. Ideas by themselves have
no creative power. The concept of "good" as discussed by Socrates and
reported by Plato, is what has influenced all later philosophy, not just
the concept itself

The ultimate authority comes from incorporation into the literature; the
early stages of this can be seen in citation studies.  And ultimately it
is incorporated into the science generally and no longer even cited.

But at the beginning, one needs a way to recognize likely work. It's being
in a particular journal has long been a good rough screen. If journals
survive in some form, this will be why.

-----Original Message-----
From:	owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu on behalf of Joseph J. Esposito
Sent:	Sun 6/20/2004 10:59 PM
To:	liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject:	Authentication of versions

>How different is this final version and is that the authentic version and,
>if the author has (as urged) deposited the postprint should he or she 
>then replace it?

JE:  I participated in a meeting this week in which this question came up
in different forms, along with the intriguing idea of developing an
authentication service for scientific papers.  (This was not a commercial
suggestion, by the way.)  What isn't clear to me is how important
authentication and versioning is outside the context of establishing
credentials for individual researchers.

To put this another way, if the whole endeavor of scholarly communications
were in some way to be decoupled from the world of tenure decisions,
professional advancement, etc. (not that this is possible or desirable,
but what if?), perhaps by establishing a policy that all publications be
anonymous, how important would it be to know what is the first, second, or
last version of something?  Presumably (and this may be wrong) the "right"
version would be the one whose ideas and information would be absorbed
into subsequent research and publication, and those subsequent
publications would obviate the need to go back to the "authentic"
publication.  If scientific research is about ideas and not the people who
create, discover, or publish them, what is the value of knowing what is
and is not the authorized version--assuming always that the *process* of
ongoing communications brings the truth to light.

Joe Esposito