Open Scientific Papers

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Open Scientific Papers

" Scientific papers, generally published in professional or academic journals, are the keystone for research. In the 1980s, many papers started to be made available in electronic form, generally formatted as text (ASCII), PostScript, or later PDF (Portable Document Format) and Word (doc). Although some of these formats were initially proprietary, all have since become standard and available from multiple vendors. This may be the single most important component of open source research-the easy and free availability of research papers in standard formats.

Initially these papers were exchanged among colleagues via email and FTP. Later, as the Web emerged, individuals and then institutions began creating sites, collecting their papers in standard formats. Generally these are made freely available to the public, although a few do still persist in requiring either subscriptions or institutional affiliation. However, even these are beginning to become available via public library interlibrary loan, or at worst, making individual papers available for a fee.

Perhaps the most impressive collection today is the CiteSeer Scientific Literature Digital Library index. This is a very large collection of scientific literature with complete citation linkage among the papers. This linkage is managed by Autonomous Citation Indexing (ACI), which also automatically generates the paper in several formats: PostScript and PDF being the most used. Well over 100,000 documents are included in the index. Steve Lawrence also provides convincing evidence of the increasing access to well-indexed, freely available research papers in his book Online or Invisible.

A similarly ambitious index is the arXiv archive, which evolved from the former site. It is a fully automated electronic archive for research papers within physics, mathematics, nonlinear sciences, computational linguistics, and neuroscience.

The Directory of Open Access Journals is more directly focused on freely available journals. There are now 1,149 journals in the Directory, with 314 journals searchable at the article level. Currently 55,343 articles are included in the service. This is a broader index than CiteSeer, covering many nonscientific disciplines.

An interesting related phenomenon is the emergence of online journals. An example in the complexity science field is the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. This is a quarterly, Web-only, peer-reviewed journal in its seventh year focused on articles discussing Agent Based Modeling." ( )


CiteSeer Scientific Literature Digital Library index.

Cornell University arXiv e-Print archive. See also

Directory of Open Access Journals.