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Re: [tlug] Journals, Authors and 'Free Peer Review'

Raymond Wan writes:

 > Oh...  If you're alluding to plagiarism or some other 
 > suspicious behaviour, then yes, you're correct.

No, I wasn't.  I'm talking about "honest" research that is published
in non-refereed venues (including pay-to-publish venues that claim to
have referees).

 > I guess what I mean is if someone searched their digital 
 > libraries of choice for their discipline and didn't turn up 
 > anything.  i.e., ACM and IEEE's digital libraries.  Is that 
 > enough?

That depends on the purpose of the search.  If you're looking for
reason to believe your work is not duplicative of someone else's, no,
that's not good enough.  One of my sempai was a year into data
collection for his dissertation, when somebody independently published
something very similar to what he planned for his chapters 2 and 3 (in
the elsewhere-mentioned American Economic Review, no less).  One
suspects that preprints were available much earlier if he had only
known where to look (the AER had an acceptance to print lag of about 6
months, and a submission to acceptance lag of 6 to 24 months).  I'm
not sure why his advisor didn't know about it.

If you're doing a survey article on the current state of the art,
that's probably good enough.

If you're doing an original research paper where you've pretty much
completed the work, you should already have a sufficiently detailed
bibliography based on the purposes above, except it's worth doing a
lookup for new work citing the papers in your bibliography.

 > Mentioning them isn't the hard part.  Trusting it is.  Or, 
 > more precisely, trusting it enough to cite it is.

I don't see how you can have rules for that.  If my search turned up
more ArXiv articles than I had time to read, I'd see if there were any
titles that grabbed my eye and dig a little deeper (read abstracts or
so).  If it was only a couple in the last two years, I'd read them and
decide.  That's what it means to be a professional researcher to me
(although as I mentioned elsewhere stuff I work on has the half-life
of a proton :-รพ).

 > They do give weight to citations but the weight for something like
 > ArXiv will be a 0.  [Disclaimer: No, I haven't asked.]

Sure.  The effect I, and I'm pretty sure Benjamin, am thinking about
is more indirect.  People will see your ArXiv article, and more
important it may be an URL that's easier to remember or consider
"important".  Knowing your name from reading it, they may look for
your other, more reputable, publications, especially any in the
bibliography.  The argument is that an ArXiv listing is real cheap, a
few seconds to upload.  The potential upside is huge, although
probably not realized very often (I mentioned 1000000:1 before :-).

 > In fact, I probably would put it together with non-peer-reviewed
 > publications, including those manuscripts that we might put in a CV
 > or year-end report as "in preparation".

Right.  As long as ArXiv isn't below those, why not?  That's what I
(and again I think Benjamin too) are arguing.  Might even convince a
non-technical university-level committee your c.v. is longer than it
looks. :-)


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