Sunday, November 25, 2012

Open access

The benefits of open-access publishing are widely acknowledged. The arXiv is a splendid site for keeping up-to-date on physics, mathematics, computer science and a few other fields. Just pick your specialization!

arXiv: adaptation and self-organization. This is where they compute with slime and synchronize oscillators. The Kuramoto model shows up every now and then. It seems to be tackled from ever more complicated angles each time.

arXiv: math, history and overview. Unlike more specialized fields, some papers in this section may be partially comprehensible even to lay people with an interest in mathematics.

While the arXiv offers its readers free access, their endorsement system does not allow everyone to publish with them. That is presumably why there is a site like vixra, which has no peer review at all and where anyone can submit papers. And so they do! Crackpots solve all the mysteries of the universe, and no one believes them. (Well, perhaps the truth is far too many believe them.) There is even a name for this sort of behaviour, it is called the Dunning-Kruger effect: incompetent individuals are not even able to realize that they are incompetent.

Then there are all these new open access journals with absurdly broad scope that often cannot be taken seriously.

Ubuweb is a different matter. Being included in their collection should be viewed as the equivalent of winning a prestigious prise, although some copyright holders may disagree. If they do, they should think twice. But ubuweb may not be with us forever.

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