Citation Patterns to Traditional and Electronic Preprints in the Published Literature

Gregory K. Youngen


The number of physics and astronomy preprints available electronically has increased dramatically over the past five years. Internet-accessible preprint servers at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and elsewhere provide unrestricted access to citations and/or full text of many physics and astronomy papers long before they appear in print. Because of the timeliness of these papers, as well as the increasing demand for current research, physicists and astronomers have found it necessary to cite these pre-prints in their research articles rather than wait until they appear in print. This paper identifies the growing importance of electronic preprints in the published literature and addresses several areas of concern regarding the future role of electronic preprints in scientific communication.

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