Home > Scholarly Communication > Paul Ginsparg and the added value of preprint repositories

Paul Ginsparg and the added value of preprint repositories

Motivation: A little update on the man behind arXiv, one of the earliest, biggest and most popular preprint repository in the world: Paul Ginsparg.
Problem Statement: Considering their potential, more focus should be given to the great platform that is the preprint repository when it comes to advancing scientific progress!

As the man that made arXiv possible, one of the earliest , biggest and most “popular” (Physics) preprint repositories in the world , I have been somewhat following Paul Ginsparg’s activities [arXiv page; another arXiv page; CTWatch Quarterly article] to see what his ideas are on extending the value of such preprint repositories to advance science (and scholarly communication in general).

So happy to forward (from Peter Suber’s Open Access News) the following announcement from Radcliffe Institute on Paul Ginsparg and his plans:

Paul Ginsparg is a professor in the physics and information science departments at Cornell University. He is well-known as the creator of the on-line system arXiv.org that distributes scientific research results. At Radcliffe, he will embark on a theoretical and experimental investigation into how researchers’ interactions change as a result of ever-growing open access. Ginsparg plans to create tools and resources for researchers to communicate more efficiently with one another.

“Huh? The article doesn’t even say anything about cool new toys!”

Yet, I cannot wait to hear what his next big thing is to boost preprint repositories. But efficiently communicating with each other, huh? While there are plenty of ways to communicate with other researchers, I wonder if he means something explicitly for preprint repositories? Since they already share their preprints, it would make sense to create a real community, a central “all in one” communication point.

“But they already got mailing lists.”

I do not think mailing lists are the best way to discuss stuff. Sure, they are “old school” and as easy to use as emails, but I never found emailing to be very handy when I am communicating with more than one other person at the same time. It will quickly turn into a disorganized frenzy, with a noticeable lack of search/browse functionalities. Although I guess gmail is doing a decent job at tackling those issues for web mail. Anyway, when it comes to efficient communication/discussion functionalities, I generally find forums to be far more superior to mailing lists.

“Forums are kinda old school, too.”

True, well I guess we will just have to wait and see. arXiv has got a lot of registrants, so even something as “simple” as discussion forums could easily be very significant, if those scholars find it appealing. And once you get a community like that going, you will potentially have a very significant platform to kick off other cool stuff, like quality control for the preprints also stored there. Ah well, let us not get ahead of ourselves.

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