[hackerspaces] Explaining arXiv again :) (HSF2009 round-table)

Bartosz Kostrzewa zoombat at runbox.com
Wed Jul 1 16:37:14 CEST 2009

Hi everyone, I hope those that were at HSF have safely returned home.
Thanks to /tmp/lab/ and all other organizers for setting up such a
pleasant event.

Now to what I wanted to talk about:

During the round-table I mentioned the arXiv pre-print server and
stupidly explained how works which are submitted to Nature are bound to
an NDA. Let me explain again:

arXiv.org is a server run by Cornell University which accepts pre-prints
(e.g. papers that have not yet gone through full peer-review and have
not yet been published in journals) and offers access for anyone. It
stores papers in the fields of Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science
(including cryptography and security), Quantitative Biology,
Quantitative Finance and Statistics.

I'm not current with the contents in CS but I'm sure that preprints of
many works that end up in IEEE journals can be found on arXiv. So if you
do publish in IEEE, submitting a preprint to arXiv is a good way of
making the paper accessible to everyone.

All of the works on arXiv are NOT bound by NDAs or similar nonsense.

EXCEPT for papers which are about to be published in Nature (unlikely
for Computer Science). Nature stupidly requires their authors to sign
something akin to an NDA. Essentially they pledge not to talk about
their paper before its publication in Nature. Still, the author is
perfectly free to post it to arXiv, but because of the restriction, the
paper has to include a note that reader of that paper are encouraged not
to talk publicly (ie. in the media) about the paper before publication
either. (as this might result in Nature refusing the publication, which
is a big deal in Biology for instance)

A more thorough discussion of the problem can be found here:


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