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Side rant: the page has a bibtex entry for arxiv. Look, it's all well and good to publish early and often, but I find I still have some reservations.. I mean, if I use this as a basis for some future work, obviously I will cite it, but I don't particularly feel good about citing an arxiv publication. It completely side-steps the peer review process, and I feel that in the long run, that is bad.

You might say, well working code is working code, and sure I've cited software in the past, and having an article to go with it is even better, but it's getting to the point that people are using arxiv not as a preprint service but as a publishing platform. I find this frustrating for two reasons: 1) like I said, it skips peer review and even allows people to cite rejected papers (for better or for worse), and 2) it makes the race to publish that much more severe -- now if I wait until a conference or journal publishes my work, I'm 6 months behind the guy who just uploads it to arxiv and is already getting dozens of citations in current work.

So, perhaps this is not the place for this debate, but putting aside the fact that preprint does seem like a useful way to "pre-publish", do you think it's appropriate to cite preprint papers and work? What are the implications for computer science as a research field down the road, since "free for all" seems to be taking over as a publication medium?

I know this will come off as being old fashioned, but I'm really worried about where research publication is going in this field. It feels like a knee-jerk reaction to first-to-publish pressure, rather than something that is a well thought-out solution.




In reality, the competition isn't between "posting to arXiv" and "getting peer-reviewed". The competition is between "posting to arXiv" and "posting to your blog". If you succed in manufacturing a stigma against arXiv papers, then you're just going to encourage people to make blog posts instead, which can and do go down at any time.


> If you succed in manufacturing a stigma against arXiv papers

That's not exactly my intention, and your statement goes in line with what I said..

> sure I've cited software in the past, and having an article to go with it is even better

where "software" could also include blog posts. It's just that, yeah, when it comes to it if I have to choose between citing something some guy wrote on a blog or citing Arxiv, I'll choose the latter every time.

But my question was not about whether arxiv is an appropriate medium for publishing ideas, I'm certainly not arguing that it should go away, but rather whether it's an appropriate thing to be citing in a scientific context. i.e. in derived work.. should it be "okay" for people to publish to arxiv and just.. leave it there and not put it in a conference or journal? Should such work be validated by citation?

It's a legitimate question that I don't know the answer to. If you get an idea from there, you can't just.. not cite it.. and yet, I feel like arxiv should be used only as long as the work will eventually get a proper publication. Which more and more it seems is not a given.

I'm really just responding to the statement on the posted link, which is just a header, "Citation", and an Arxiv-bibtex entry. No "submitted to X..", "in press", etc., or anything.

Again, it's not that I'm totally against the idea, but I think there must be some happy medium between "peer reviewed work" and "well-written but unreviewed article". Typically this used to be conferences, but conferences are expensive, and with people uploading their pre-conference unaccepted publications and those getting citations, I mean.. where will this end?

I was a bit shocked recently while writing an ML article to find that the "official" original reference, that you see cited everywhere, for the whole concept of "style transfer" appears to be an arxiv paper [1]. My reservation doesn't so much come from the fact that the authors put their work there, but more that this is what people are actively choosing to cite over their peer-reviewed conference publication [2]. When does "pre-print" become just "print"?

(Currently Google Scholar reports 216 citations for the former and 74 citations for the latter. Of course they were published a few months apart so it's not a great comparison but still, just an example..)

[1]: https://arxiv.org/abs/1508.06576 [2]: http://www.cv-foundation.org/openaccess/content_cvpr_2016/ht...


I think the reason for this might be because a lot of machine learning research and practice takes place outside of academia. Maybe there isn't the same pressure to publish in official sounding places.

And people outside of academia often don't have access to journal publications. Who wants to spend $30 per paper? That's just obscene. The arxiv link is accessible everywhere, will never go away (probably), and can be updated as the authors revise the paper. Why not cite it?


Your argument is ridiculous.

Conferences and journals are merely marketing venues, and there is no reason to slow down the field by clinging on to flawed review process. If you adopt this attitude you will only find co-authors and students abandon you for fear of getting scooped.


In the case of building a nuclear reactor, the knowledge one relies on must be vetted by experts.

In the case of building web apps and such, sure, why not put it out there ASAP?


Huh. I guess I didn't succeed in getting my point across. I suppose it is a it subtle so I shouldn't be surprised. What I was expressing skepticism for was not whether or not things should be uploaded early to Arxiv, but whether Arxiv should subsequently be considered the reference for that work, rather than preferring a peer-reviewed path.




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