This was another debate conducted under the Hyde Park Rules. It was moderated by Rick Anderson, Associate Dean for Collections and Scholarly Communication, University of Utah. Oya Y. Rieger, Senior Advisor, Ithaka S+R spoke in favor of the proposal, and Kent Anderson, Founder, Caldera Publishing Solutions took the opposing view. Under the debate rules, the audience first voted for or against the proposition, and then after the debates, voted again. The winner of the debate was the person who caused the largest number of voters to change their opinion.
Oya Rieger noted that while preprint servers have some challenges, they also provide significant advantages to users. Even though updating preprint servers can be slow and not all content distributed through servers is a preprint, their dvantages include:
- 1. Preprints give researchers access to papers that are bogged down in the publication process.
- 2. Preprints help level the playing field.
- 3. Servers enhance diversity. They can cover areas not covered by traditional journals.
- 4. Servers provide platforms for editors to scout upcoming work and solicit it for their journal.
Challenges are how to link preprints to the existing publication system. Not all disciplines are appropriate for them. How do we share knowledge for those?
Kent Anderson began by asking how we improve scholarly communication. We are in a fragmented distribution system that is not a certainty. Preprint servers have lots of abandoned or flawed works. 30-50% of preprints never get published . Does this help the scholarly communication system? The public is being misinformed by relying on preprints, which does not reflect well on self-management. Preprints do not make a contribution to the economy and do not generate profits. They are a scandal in the making. By granting authors wide distribution on preprint servers, they are not motivated to seek peer review, so the playing field is tilted with unreviewed information and no accountability. Some authors now submit their articles to a preprint server after they have been accepted for publication. Editorial review is more important than peer review, but it is not widely discussed.
Kent Anderson was declared the winner of the debate.
Don Hawkins blogs about conferences for Information Today and Against The Grain. He also maintains the Conference Calendar on the Information Today website and is the Editor of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage, published by Information Today in 2013, and Co-Editor of Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits, published by Information Today in 2016. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in the information industry for over 45 years.