Accepted paper:

Inclusion into the communication system of science - self-archiving and the use of pre-prints in astronomy and mathematics


Niels Taubert (Bielefeld University)

Paper short abstract:

The contribution focuses on the role of green OA for the inclusion of authors and readers in the communication system of science. The analysis show that the routines of both roles are complementary allowing a specific but restricted use of pre-published research.

Paper long abstract:

In astronomy and mathematics a large share of publications is freely accessible online via disciplinary or subject-specific repositories. Referring to an empirical study of including bibliometrical analysis and in-depth interviews, the contribution examines the role of self-archived manuscripts in the communication system of the two disciplines. The analysis shows that repositories act as a second channel of disseminating research in addition to journals. Moreover, it reconstructs how repositories are being used by authors and readers. In both fields authors even-handedly self-archive their manuscripts in part not only before the publication appears in a journal but even before peer review is completed. This happens for different reasons, including the improvement of accessibility, the protection of priority, and to increase the chances of getting the research published in a journal. Early self-archiving before completion of peer review de facto bypasses the evaluation procedure which is a precondition for trust in published research. Therefore, it is asked whether readers deal with such pre-prints in a specific way, taking their potential non-peer-reviewed nature into account. The reconstruction shows that the usability of self-archived manuscripts results from specific routines among the readers: They interpret contextual information of pre-prints, undertake tests of plausibility, use the author name as a proxy for trust, limit the citation of pre-prints, and distinguish between trustworthy and non-trustworthy components of a pre-print. Thus, the routines of the readers are complementary to the routines of authors and are - to some extent - shaped by epistemic characteristics of the particular field.

panel D03
Contested gates -- epistemic and social implications of opening knowledge production and science communication