Loomio
Tue 29 May 2018

What is the scope for the contents in EarthArXiv

BC
Bruce Caron Public Seen by 392

Question: Should EarthArXiv accept papers that are interesting for the Earth sciences but are non-standard in the sense that they may not be “preprints” as they are not really designed to be submitted later as science artifacts (although they might get published as a part of the editorial side of a science journal)? For example: aspirational essays on how changes to standard work flows might lead to new discoveries, critiques of how Earth data formats are sharable, theoretical essays on meta-science issues such as the impact of open science practices for Earth science.

EarthArXiv could be a great home for these. But does their inclusion affect how the archive is perceived as a place where “real science” is found?

Myself, I think the perception issue is misplaced. In my view, the service is designed to hold and expose (through search) all content that might be of value for the Earth (and Space) sciences. Nobody is reading the archive as a journal. Since we don’t have a paper product, we don’t need to be careful about the amount of content that gets included.

Perhaps EarthArXiv can be a leader in opening up the notion of “publication” as a first-step, and not a final step in research, and can be a home for content that might be excluded from existing forms of science journals.

What are your thoughts?

MDF

Matteo De Felice Tue 29 May 2018

A good question...from one side, I totally agree with you on the need of considering a preprint server not just a repository of under-review (and rejected) papers but also a way to share knowledge at any step of the scientific workflow. On the other side, I think that a minimal effort should be needed to be on a preprint server, otherwise there could be too much "noise" or — in any case — the knowledge might be too much diluted. In any case, I think it worth experimenting we (as researchers) just need to be careful and discussing more often questions like this one.

DU

[deactivated account] Tue 29 May 2018

Thanks Bruce for raising the question. I think it would be awesome to open up for "non-journal" content (just thinking about field trip guides). The challenge would be, to seperate the content, but for sure not impossible.

VV

Victor Venema Tue 29 May 2018

No strong opinions from my side, I do not worry about the reputation of EarthArXiv, but I wonder whether this would help the authors of such pieces. The main advantage of a preprint server is to make the documents citable, but if there is no intention to publish the text this advantage would not be applicable. Thus such authors are likely better off publishing their work on a blog. They would likely get more attention and more feedback.

A more general discussion would be whether it is good when the distinction between blog posts and scientific articles becomes smaller (or even disappears in a gradual continuum) or whether it may be good to have one forum for informal discussions and one for contributions that are final as well as possible. As a blogger scientist I see value in keeping these two worlds separate, otherwise writing blog posts would become much more like work and the posts may be become more scientific and less readable, but my impression is that many would love to see the distinction gone.

SG

Stéphanie Girardclos Tue 29 May 2018

Thank you Bruce for raising the interesting question. Similarly to Victor, I think that the 'opinion' content (i.e. blog-like content and mediated content) as well as the science 'thesis' and 'report' contents should be separated from the 'true' preprints (i.e. science data presented as article).
The reasons are :
i) it is super easy to publish and interact on 'opinion' content related to science (blog, twitter, etc)
ii) there are also numerous platforms where thesis-reports-data can be shared.
EarthArXiv will only stand out and be widely used by the community if we have a clear profile.
However, if people want to deposit preprints of meta-earthscience article this is fully ok to me as long as they don't mix up the science and belief methods.

HG

Han Geurdes Tue 29 May 2018

Dear Bruce,

That's an interesting question you raise. Can it be stated that you're more referring to "the meaning of" a publication and "the science policy" that raised the question on which the publication directly or indirectly tried "to formulate an answer"?

Like e.g. Paleoclimatology tries to figure out the possibility of the Dansgaard-Oesgher cycle or Bond cycle. A clear discovery is, by necessity, in a paper.

Then the question is also.... is our present changed climate additionally related to this Dansgaard business. Of course there is co2. Can't be denied. But on top of that, do we have Dansgaard? What does that mean for treaties like the Paris accord? Must we quicken our pace of finding hospitable planets? Etc....

Sure now in 2018 it looks more like a book of Asimov. But what if the summing up is unstoppable for real?

I would, I think, be in favor of a science guided "what is the meaning of such a finding" discussion.

Dr. Han Geurdes
Geurdes data science kvk64522202

Member of the UNGGIM Private Sector Network.
...................
Read my Clay millennium problem Navier Stokes solution:

Cogent Mathematics

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311835.2017.1284293

http://arxiv.org/abs/1703.05113

Read our solution of Bells theorem at:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1704.00005

Read our relativistic quantum theory paper
10.1016/j.hedp.2017.12.004

B

brandon Tue 29 May 2018

This is an interesting question. What is the intersection of, for example, figshare, dryad, thesiscommons.org and Medium (or any blogging platform)? I think the key is in your question, "...does their inclusion affect how the archive is perceived as a place where “real science” is found?"

My only issue is in the ability to find the artefact/content that fits my search criteria, or is related. As long as I (or any user) has the ability to filter content for their desired results, I take no issue with including different content types.

DV

Divyesh Varade Wed 30 May 2018

Totally agree with you. May be these documents can be put under a different tag.

BC

Bruce Caron Tue 29 May 2018

Joi Ito recently tweeted about how he cites journal articles more than blogs, even when he notes that the blog content is more valuable. Peer review is the big reason (one hopes). Another thing that reduces the cite-ability of blogs is that they don't come with a pre-formatted citation (who has the time to look up the format?). And they don't have a DOI. Perhaps really great Earth science bloggers can gain some citations by "post-publishing" their best blogs about Earth science here too. Except for post-prints, none of our content is peer reviewed yet (that's kind of the point). We can expect a portion of the content on this site to never find a publisher for various reasons. It's still good to have it here where people can find it IMHO.

SH

Steve Hicks Wed 30 May 2018

Lots of good arguments and good questions posed.
I occasionally write blog posts / popular science articles, but I never write them with the expectation that they will get cited somehow. It's often the other way around. Most of my blog articles are published for their timeliness to discuss some early ideas about an impactful event (e.g. a large earthquake), or to highlight and summarise some new peer-reviewed scientific results. I will always try to get the post published somewhere where it gets seen the most (e.g. newspaper online blog, learned society blog etc).
I've never tried to submit an opinion piece to a scientific journal, but perhaps this is where some of the examples that @bcaron suggests could go.
Overall though, I'm relatively agnostic and it would be cool if EarthArXiv can host this kind of work in a streamlined way that is clearly differentiated from a purely scientific (e.g. peer-reviewed) piece of work.
Also, we should be careful of non-credible and non-qualified "scientists" submitting their opinion pieces. Some areas of geoscience are quite prone to this kind of external work (e.g. earthquake prediction, climate change) from charlatans and hobby scientists, so we still need to keep a close eye on what is submitted.

BC

Bruce Caron Wed 30 May 2018

Since Earth science bloggers can also get an account with Figshare and post their work there (to get a formatted citation and a DOI), perhaps that's a better solution, since EarthArXiv has people who need to read everything that is submitted... don't want to give the vetting crew more work if it's not productive.

SG

Stéphanie Girardclos Wed 30 May 2018

I think this (i.e. posting work on Figshare to get a formatted citation and a DOI)for blog-related content is an excellent suggestion!
If we all agree, I suggest that we complete the 'EarthArXiv Moderation and Terms of Use' (https://eartharxiv.github.io/moderation.html) under the "What does EarthArXiv not accept?"
"- Commentaries and opinion pieces (see Figshare as an alternative)

VV

Victor Venema Wed 30 May 2018

Is there a clear way to differentiate between commentaries and opinions and review articles, except for the quality, which we do not assess?

JF

Jamie Farquharson Wed 27 Jun 2018

I suppose a review article should account for distinct viewpoints, which opinion pieces rarely do (i.e. they are proponents of a sole viewpoint)

HG

Han Geurdes Wed 30 May 2018

Dear Bruce,

Why do you ask a question like this one while you know, at the same time, that there is no room for vetting out the "non science" submissions ? I simply didn't think about the time needed to moderate the contribution to EA, when I tried to formulate my point. To be sure. Did I got your subsequent messages right about moderation etc?

It makes sense, in second thoughts, to refer non scientific papers to other sites. At the same time I believe that it can be worthwhile to try a more integrated view as well. But that, in turn, will be a scientific paper if it is to be on the EA. Right?

I think that I have a lot of other things on my mind, like getting customers for my software, that require more urgent attention.

I wish you success with managing the EA.

Dr. Han Geurdes
Geurdes data science kvk64522202

Member of the UNGGIM Private Sector Network.
...................
Read my Clay millennium problem Navier Stokes solution:

Cogent Mathematics

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311835.2017.1284293

http://arxiv.org/abs/1703.05113

Read our solution of Bells theorem at:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1704.00005

Read our relativistic quantum theory paper
10.1016/j.hedp.2017.12.004

BC

Bruce Caron Wed 30 May 2018

Hi Han,
I do think we need to consider how EarthArXiv can handle contents that are not limited to the historical constraints that print journals had... so I believe the conversation is worthwhile. Discussions in the formation of EA included wanting to "disrupt" the current publishing constraints. It only occurred to me after my question that this would also add to the labor of the group vetting content. And, as Stephanie has reminded me, the Executive Council already has a position on this. This discussion has surfaced the idea of using some way of tagging non-traditional submissions. This notion may inform a solution in the future. cheers!

CJ

Christopher Jackson Wed 30 May 2018

Interesting proposal. I guess people are still happy to cite ‘pers. comm.’ in their work in support of a statement. Why not an essay? Having said that, I hate and never cite ‘pers. comm.’, and always ask authors to remove them when reviewing. It could literally be, and typically is, reflective of a comment someone once made to someone in a bar...

HG

Han Geurdes Wed 30 May 2018

Thanks Bruce.

Sorry, I was tired and somewhat grumpy. Sorry again...

Dr. Han Geurdes
Geurdes data science kvk64522202

Member of the UNGGIM Private Sector Network.
...................
Read my Clay millennium problem Navier Stokes solution:

Cogent Mathematics

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311835.2017.1284293

http://arxiv.org/abs/1703.05113

Read our solution of Bells theorem at:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1704.00005

Read our relativistic quantum theory paper
10.1016/j.hedp.2017.12.004

A

Anson Thu 31 May 2018

I kind of like this idea, in terms of widening out the scope - there are many editorials or opinion pieces that are short, but useful but all too often pay-walled themselves. But I totally appreciate the amount of extra work that might come with pre-screening processes. Also, an interesting discussion could even bring people to EA who might not otherwise have considered using the site.

The idea was mentioned about tagging such pieces so that they were identifiably different from more conventional research pieces, which is good.

Another idea might be to, in the future, host an accompanying blog alongside EA, where opinion pieces can be posted, reviews of recent pre/post prints can be made etc. The example I was thinking about was http://www.realclimate.org/ but I didn't know if such a resource existed for the Earth Scientists.

VV

Victor Venema Sat 2 Jun 2018

For me the additional work for handling more informal contributions is not a particularly good argument. If EarthArXiv becomes a success and most of the Earth Science manuscripts are uploaded here we would have magnitudes more work, we can handle a few percent informal contributions more. At the moment the onboarding is done by Chris and apparently it is not worth the trouble of setting up a formal system with clear criteria and a group where experts in the field judge the manuscripts. (I would be happy to do (observational) climatology.)

RealClimate is a really good blog and worth mimicking in other Earth sciences. If we can somehow stimulate that that would be valuable. I am not sure whether we should do that under the brand of EarthArXiv.

Due to the comment of @sgirardclos I (re)discovered that we have a homepage (with terms and references), including an empty blog.
https://eartharxiv.github.io/index.html

The current first page of EarthArXiv is not a good entry point for new people, it does not explain anything. https://eartharxiv.org/
The EarthArXiv page should prominently link to our Github page and the link from Github to the ArXiv could also be more prominent.

Even better would be to merge the two pages: the Earth ArXiv search box put on the first page of our Github homepage and that merged page could be hosted at EarthArXiv.org. A ticker with new articles on the first page would be wonderful to demonstrate that we are alive.

It would be good to use the blog on our homepage for communication with our users. This channel is not the best way for that, too much detail and more complicated to reply.

DEI

Dasapta Erwin Irawan Sat 2 Jun 2018

Hi all. In the following notes, we suggest our users to host their research files and related materials in OSF repository. If they have a draft of manuscript as a result, they could upload the file to the repository and connect it as a preprint to their choice of preprint server. If the server is not OSF preprint family, then they should put the link back to the original repository to direct readers to the original data and supporting materials.

CJ

Christopher Jackson Sun 3 Jun 2018

So, where have we got to with this? Personally, I like the suggestion that something like FigShare, personal blogs, etc, might be a more appropriate venue for this type of material, even if it then is not discoverable within the OSF search framework. I also agree with the sentiments above that somehow protecting the EA 'brand' might be valuable. @bcaron: seeing as you raised this issue, how do you feel now? And those in support of hosting this type of material, would you like to mount further arguments? It's an interesting this to discuss/think about...!

MS

Matt Spitzer Sun 3 Jun 2018

Great discussion. Right now there is not a way to segment content within a single OSF-hosted preprint service to fulfill simultaneous use cases. Just to add that the use case described for figshare might be better served by submitting to the generalist repository at OSF Preprints at https://osf.io/preprints/submit. This is an un-moderated, all-discipline, repository that provides DOIs, citations etc.. The advantage being that if tagged, or submitted with an appropriate subject taxonomy, it would be discoverable alongside EarthArXiv content when searching at https://osf.io/preprints/discover

CJ

Christopher Jackson Sun 3 Jun 2018

He’s good. Real good...

BC

Bruce Caron Sun 3 Jun 2018

I really like this conversation. And with Loomio, we can come back to it later too, or at least find it and remember it. Blogs seem like edge cases we don't need to go into now (figshare is an easy current solution). Better to look at capabilities that OSF already has that can add value when someone uploads a pre- post-print. This will also help us differentiate our preprint service from non-OSF ones. These options can be opt-in capabilities, and help support new cultural practices that are not tied to old paper journal ones. @christopherjackson1 ... I'm good with the current guidelines, the Advisory Council did a great job.

E

Eric-Geochem Wed 4 Mar

It is very interesting that a recent editorial published by Science was echoed with the same mentality: "instead of weeding out, we should be weeding in.".

As a preprint repository, being open is not only about the inclusiveness of research content/ format but also the creativeness of scientific community.

In my mind, an acceptable submission for EarthArXiv would be legit, relevant to the geosciences borderline, and readable of decent clarity.