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Re: Role of arXiv

I can understand the motivational argument, and it appears to have
worked very successfully for arXiv. But that now has a long tradition
of practice behind it. The same cannot be said for many other areas
of scholarship, not least outside the hard sciences, and one wonders
what "subject" means exactly in this context. How subject-specific
does a repository need to be to be useful?  The American Sociology
Association, for instance, has over 40 official subgroups. Should
each of these subgroups have its own repository? Would one general
repository for sociology as a major field be at all useful?  It might
seem that the more subject-specific a repository is, the more useful
it would be. But doesn't the proliferation of niche repositories then
begin to duplicate the proliferation of journals themselves, so that
we would end up with one repository for each journal, which would
make no sense? And the more narrow repositories get, the greater the
problem arising for authors of having to make deposits in multiple
repositories. I suspect the strength of the motivation to deposit
would be in inverse proportion to the number of relevant
repositories, i.e., the greater the number of relevant repositories,
the less motivation there would be for submission.

Sandy Thatcher

At 10:33 PM -0400 10/18/10, agentilb Gentil-Beccot wrote:
>On Oct 15, 2010, at 3:10 AM, Sandy Thatcher wrote:
>>  Anticipating Stevan's response, I'd ask how these disciplinary
>>  repositories are to be filled since they lack the power that
>>  universities have to mandate submissions?
>Without the power of mandates, successful subject repositories
>instead wield the immense power of incentives to attract
>scholars.  Subject repositories do something crucial for
>scholars: they enable them to communicate faster, they make their
>work more visible to their peers, and they give their work more
>impact.  This is epecially the case when large-scale digital
>libraries integrate the repository content with the scholarly
>record. We have done a case study of arXiv.org for High- Energy
>Physics, in symbiosis with the SPIRES/INSPIRE service (which
>incidentally we launched earlier this week: see
>inspirebeta.net and projecthepinspire.net)
>Our results could be of interest in this conversation,
>spotlighting motivations for scientists (whose behavior in this
>respect is known to be relatively insensitive to mandates)
>http://arxiv.org/abs/0906.5418 (apologies for those who already
>spotted it on this list in the past). We proved that clear
>advantages exist in the speed of communication and impact of work
>in subject repositories, to the point that subject repositories
>become the (sole) location for scholarly discourse.  Eventually,
>scientists with these field-specific tools rarely read journals
>but acquire most information directly from these resources.
>Kind regards,
>Anne Gentil-Beccot (CERN - Serials Librarian)
>Travis Brooks (SLAC/Stanford - INSPIRE Director of Operations)
>Salvatore Mele (CERN - Head of Open Access & INSPIRE Strategic