Some thoughts about putting research papers on the web
- Put your preprints on the web. I can understand not wanting to circulate
unfinished papers (I have several I'm not yet ready to make public). However,
if you're going to circulate a preprint widely, then there's no logical reason not
to put it on the web.
- Keep your published papers on the web. If you publish papers but don't make them easily
available, then it looks like you care more about racking up publication credits than
about actually disseminating information.
- Putting papers on your home page is a good start, but it's much better to
archive them somewhere where they will likely be maintained even after your home
page is gone. For mathematics, physics, or computer science
papers the arXiv is ideal.
- You can link your home page to servers such as the arXiv, to save you
the trouble of having to maintain your home page when a paper is updated.
You can even link to
all your papers
- Don't sign away your right to keep published papers in the arXiv.
Why on earth would you sign over that right to the publishers for free, so they
can turn around and sell your paper to libraries? That's anti-social.
- One of my pet peeves is notices on web pages that say the papers available
there may differ from the published versions, with no explanation of how they might
differ. In a couple of my papers I have fixed typos after publication (this is
always noted in the arXiv comments), but otherwise every published paper is
identical to the final draft I submitted for publication. (I suppose I can't guarantee
changes were made by the publishers at the last minute, but I certainly did not authorize
any such changes.) If you have out of date copies of papers on your web page, you should
replace them with the final versions. If you actually signed an agreement promising not
to do that, then it's an offensive agreement and you should never sign such a thing again.