Open web archive is "transforming" scientific research

from the working-examples dept.
A pair of articles in the New York Times profile the Los Alamos electronic archive, an electronic, Web-based archive centered at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The archive provides a venerable example of the sort of free, open source library of scientific papers that has recently been covered here on nanodot (see posts from 13 April and 25 April). As the main NYT article ("Web Archive Opens a New Realm of Research", by James Glanz, 1 May 2001) notes, the archive was founded 10 years ago by Los Alamos particle theorist Dr. Paul Ginsparg. According to the report, The archive is transforming the quality of scientific research at institutions around the world that are geographically isolated and, in many cases, small and financially precarious. Besides spreading new ideas and concepts, the archive has encouraged multinational collaboration.
The archive is somewhat limited in scope, focusing primarily on disciplines in the physical sciences, including astronomy, astrophysics, condensed matter physics and particle physics. But in the areas covered, virtually all important developments find their way to the archive. One researcher described the archive as so influential that he is sure most citations of papers written in his institute refer to the archive number rather than to the published version in the journal.

An accompanying sidebar ('The Archives Are More Democratic') presents the views of 21 scientists outside the United States responded to a reporter's questions about the archive.

Note: access to the NYT site is free, but requires registration.

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