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RE: Article on arXiv

I'd have thought that there are key characteristics of 
communities like that in HEP:

1)The communities are relatively small - people can recognize 
each other's name and institution, and know something of each 
other's work.  My hunch is that there's a critical size of 
somewhere between 500 and 1000 above which this can no longer be 

2)In the field of HEP there is the added factor that experiments 
are so huge, and the equipment used so unimaginably expensive, 
that in effect peer review has happened before the team is even 
able to begin the experiment.  This is, of course, also true of 
major medical trials - but those tend to be funded by drug 

3)The communities consist entirely of researchers - there is no 
practitioner 'penumbra', as there is for example in medicine, of 
people who read but do not themselves carry out or publish 
research (not to mention the interest, with or without 
understanding, from the general public)

It seems logical to me, therefore, that such communities would 
need less reliance on either peer review or journal 'brands'. 
That's what makes it so interesting to me that, rather than just 
sitting back and letting the traditional journals in the field 
die (if that's what happens), they are devoting considerable 
effort to trying to create a fully sponsored OA model for guess 
what - traditional-style journals.  There must be something there 
that the community does not want to lose - is it just the career 
brownie points, I wonder, or is there more to it than that?

Sally Morris
Email: sally@morris-assocs.demon.co.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Matt Hodgkinson
Sent: 03 July 2009 04:20
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: RE: Article on arXiv

Anne, that's a very interesting study. To me it appears that HEP 
is a very special case in scholarly communication - the 
researchers have no regard for peer review. If articles are 
already cited before publication of the peer reviewed article, 
this seems to indicate that in HEP peer review is entirely 
cosmetic. There is a blip upwards in citations of about 0.15 
citations per article per month immediately upon publication, 
which does indicate some remaining effect of journal publication, 
but this increase is gone within 12 months.

Is my impression correct: could the dissemination of research 
output in HEP be done entirely without peer review? What 
alternatives to peer review exist for assessing the accuracy and 
worth of individual articles in this community - email lists, 
blogs, conferences?

I would be horrified if the same culture were to dominate in 
biology or medicine. The potential damage caused by flawed and 
biased work being cited and disseminated with no checks is 
massive. There are some avenues for releasing work without peer 
review, such as Philica or Nature Precedings, but neither is 
well-known or respected and Nature Precedings deliberately does 
not allow the deposit of clinical studies.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Anne
Sent: 02 July 2009 05:31
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Article on arXiv

Dear Colleagues,

Following the recent interest on arXiv and its role in scholarly
communication in High Energy Physics, we would like to draw your
attention to a study we have just submitted to arXiv.

Best regards,

Anne Gentil-Beccot
CERN Library
CH-1211 Geneva 23


Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 16:45:04 GMT   (929kb)

Title: Citing and Reading Behaviours in High-Energy Physics. How a
Community Stopped Worrying about Journals and Learned to Love

Authors: Anne Gentil-Beccot, Salvatore Mele, Travis Brooks
Categories: cs.DL
Report-no: CERN-OPEN-2009-007, SLAC-PUB-13693

Contemporary scholarly discourse follows many alternative routes
in addition to the three-century old tradition of publication in
peer-reviewed journals. The field of High- Energy Physics (HEP)
has explored alternative communication strategies for decades,
initially via the mass mailing of paper copies of preliminary
manuscripts, then via the inception of the first online
repositories and digital libraries. This field is uniquely placed
to answer recurrent questions raised by the current trends in
scholarly communication: is there an advantage for scientists to
make their work available through repositories, often in
preliminary form? Is there an advantage to publishing in Open
Access journals? Do scientists still read journals or do they use
digital repositories?

The analysis of citation data demonstrates that free and
immediate online dissemination of preprints creates an immense
citation advantage in HEP, whereas publication in Open Access
journals presents no discernible advantage. In addition, the
analysis of clickstreams in the leading digital library of the
field shows that HEP scientists seldom read journals, preferring
preprints instead. \\ (http://arxiv.org/abs/0906.5418