printed monographs to an international body of reviewers. The director of one review site told us that his single greatest expense each year is the approximately $10,000 needed to mail books to reviewers around the world. Preprints and Working Papers (10 resources) Preprint and working-paper servers provide scholars with access to new research and permit them to share their own work without the delay a journal’s lengthy peer-review and publication process can cause. The study results suggest that today the landscape for these servers is dominated by the oldest, largest preprint servers like Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and arXiv, although the study surfaced smaller working-paper exchanges in some niche fields as well. The scholars who suggested preprint servers tend to use them very frequently, both to share their own work and discover the work of others. Disciplinary culture seems to play a role in influencing the extent to which preprint sites are adopted. In economics, where the National Bureau of Economic Research had distributed printed and bound working papers for decades before use of the Internet was widespread, this tradition of sharing early work seems to have easily translated to the Internet in the form of an abundance of preprint and working paper resources. While large preprint resources are expanding into new disciplines—SSRN recently branched into the humanities, for example—others deliver a service to a well-defined niche audience. PhilSci Archive, for example, focuses on the philosophy of science the discipline has many overlaps with theoretical physics, and was in fact inspired by arXiv. It has no plans to expand into other fields, but instead hopes to continue establishing its importance in a tightly knit community. Nearly all of the preprint resources examined in this study are open access. Even SSRN, a commercial site, makes any paper uploaded voluntarily by a researcher freely available, though it generates revenue through institutional subscriptions to curated networks of content and through its Partners in Publishing program. Most of the other preprint sites examined make their content available for free and had few apparent strategies to generate revenue outside of grants and support from host institutions. While some niche preprint servers like PhilSci Archive model themselves after existing sources, other sites experiment with newer models for exchanging work. The Online Feminist Philosophy Draft Exchange, for example, utilizes a Google Group to exchange working papers. RLI 263 14 Digital Scholarly Communication: A Snapshot of Current Trends ( C O N T I N U E D ) APRIL 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
Previous Page Next Page