[OPE-L:7438] [OPE-L:971] Re: Re: online journal

Paul Cockshott (clyder@gn.apc.org)
Wed, 12 May 1999 10:08:38 +0100

>Does this reference to "web server" mean a server which would *distribute*
>copies of the journal to others with e-mail addresses? Whether that is or
>is not what you intended, I think it would be a good idea to post the
>journal on one or more WWW sites. I also think that we should be clear
>from the outset that this would be a *public* journal that anyone can
>read and cite.
No it would not distribute things to mail addresses. It would instead
just be a web server.
>I have a suggestion and a question.
>Have issues of the journal based around thematic concerns. Thus, each
>journal number would address a separate question (e.g. the 6-book-plan).
>This was a system used to great advantage by the now defunct journal
>_Mehrwert_ published in Germany. Not only would this encourage list
>members to write about similar topics, but it would also have the
>advantage of being easier to use for classroom instruction. Of course, we
>would have to exercise some flexibility here and everyone should be
>encouraged to come up with ideas for themes of future issues.

I suspect that this is going against the grain of online research journals
where the advantage is that people can publish new research results faster
than by orthodox means. Such research is an open and un-organised activity
and to set given topics in advance would be too constraining.

>Why go the traditional pattern of peer review and referees? Can't we rely
>on listmembers to exercise good judgment and scholarly practice in the
>preparation of contributions?

There is a distinction between a pre-print server, and an online journal.
A pre-print server like the one run at Los Alamos for physics takes papers
without refereeing them. It runs the risk of having papers with technical
errors in them that peer review would pick up. I know this from my own
experience of putting in a paper to the Los Alamos server, and then
submiting to Physical Review Letters ( you can submit to them by
just giving a reference to the paper number on the server ) and
having a serious mathematical error spoted by one of the two

Whilst people may exercise good judgement and scholarly practice
by their own lights, unless third parties look at the paper you can
not be sure that your own oversight or ignorance may not have led
to errors.