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E-prints are any freely available electronic full-text publication. Pre-prints are early, uncopyrighted versions of journal articles that are later commercially published.
More about pre-prints and pre-print servers
Pre-print servers provide you with full-text pre-publication versions of research articles, that are later submitted for publication in academic journals (thus getting around the issue of copyright). This means you get free access to high quality research papers that differ only slightly from the published version.
Pre-print servers tend to index and store the output of major academic or government funded research institutions. They therefore represent a high quality research resource.
High energy, atomic, nuclear, particle, and astro physics research areas are very strongly represented, and several pre-print servers cover papers in these areas.
The pre-print movement came about as a reaction to the excessive inflation charged by academic science journal publishers, and the illogicity of the research publication process. Universities pay academics to produce research; academics write that research up, and submit it to academic journals for publication, signing away copyright, and with little remuneration by way of return; universities then buy the research back through expensive and highly inflated journal subscriptions.
See this useful article for a summary of services and coverage provided by the main e-print resources:
- McKiernan, G (2003). E-Profile: Open Archives Initiative service providers. Part 1: science and technology. Library Hi Tech News, 9: 30-38.
- Pre-print Network: searchable gateway to preprint servers that deal with scientific and technical disciplines of concern to the US Department of Energy. The search page allows you to select a subsection (eg chemistry) to search
- AMS Directory of Mathematics Preprint & e-Print Servers: aims to list all mathematical preprint and e-print servers throughout the world
- Citebase: experimental service that searches across the following open access archives: ArXiv (UK), Cogprints and BioMed Central. Added features include ranking results by citation impact and allowing you to navigate between records by following citation threads. Very incomplete.
- Citeseer: Scientific Literature Digital Library: indexes freely available online papers in computing science, and includes citation information
- Computing Research Repository: linked to the LANL arXiv.org e-Print archive
- Chemical Physics Preprint Database: fully automated electronic archive and distribution server for the international theoretical chemistry community
- The Chemistry Preprint Server: research articles in the field of chemistry, now available from ScienceDirect; individual registration required on first access
Physics, including, astronomy, computing and mathematics
- arXiv.org e-Print archive: most comprehensive e-print archive for physics, mathematics, non-linear science and computing, hosted by Cornell University
- CERN Document Server: cross search for high energy and particle physics information (pre-prints, articles, technical reports, conference reports, presentations, experiments, internal documents etc.) on the CERN server. Use the pre-prints server to restrict your search just to e-prints.
- Condensed Matter arXiv: a subset of the arXiv.org open access initiative dealing with e-prints on the subject of condensed matter
- EFDA-JET Preprints and Reports service: scientific and technical preprints, reports and conference papers
- HEPDATA : the Durham RAL Databases: links to Durham's own pre-print databases, or mirror sites for major high energy or particle physics e-print servers.
- Institute for Condensed Matter Physics Pre-prints: pre-publication articles from the institute based at the National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
- KISS - KEK Information Service: Japanese pre-print articles on high energy physics
- Mathematical Physics Pre-print Archive: research papers in Mathematical Physics and related areas : hosted by the University of Texas
- NASA ADS arXiv Pre-prints: the astrophysics pre-prints section of the LANL arXiv server
- Pre-prints at DESY: access to the pre-prints produced by DESY
- SIMBAD astronomical database operated by the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Uses a spatial map rather than a search interface. Click on a subject node of the map to find a useful document, other relevant documents that appear near to that one will be shown on the map
- SPIRES HEP Database: the high energy physics pre-print server at SLAC
Grey literature and technical reports
Gray literature is the term given to reports and technical writings that have not been widely or publically published. Many technical reports fall into this category.
General science and technology
- National Academies Web Search: cross search the web sites of the National Academies (established to advise the US Senate in scientific and technical matters) for documents and reports.
- POST Publications (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology): a similar role to the US National Academies, and was set up to provide objective and balanced analyses of science and technology to members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
- Virtual Technical Reports Center: listing of institutional pages, including many university departments, for technical reports and e-prints. Provided by the library at the University of Maryland.
- Computer Science Technical Reports: access to over 45,000 technical reports in computing science from over 300 sites. Part of the New Zealand Digital Library.
- Hewlett Packard Technical Reports: abstracts of HP internal technical reports
- IBM Research Reports
- Microsoft Technical Reports
- Sun Technical Reports
Aerospace, defence, physics and engineering
- EnergyFiles: an OSTI resource that allows you to cross search over 500 databases and websites containing science and technology information and resources of interest to the US Department of Energy. Incorporates resources such as:
- Energy Citations Database: bibliographic records for energy and energy-related scientific and technical information from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies, from 1948 onwards. Includes bibliographic records of literature in disciplines such as chemistry, physics, materials, environmental science, geology, engineering, mathematics, climatology, oceanography, computer science and related disciplines. Includes citations to report literature, conference papers, journal articles, books, dissertations, and patents.
- Information Bridge: full-text and bibliographic records of US Department of Energy (DOE) research and development reports in physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental sciences, energy technologies, engineering, computer and information science, renewable energy, and other topics
- International Atomic Energy Agency: gives details of their publications
- Los Alamos Reports: page detailing how to extract technical reports from the LANL Catalogue
- METReS (MAGIC Engineering Technical Reports Service): includes the National Reports Catalogue, but is no longer updated
- NACA Technical Reports (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics): the precursor to NASA. You can search or browse all citations from 1917-1958.
- NASA Technical Reports Server: search the many different abstract and technical report servers maintained by various NASA centres and programs.
- National Technical Information Service: US Department of Commerce central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related technical reports
- STINET (Scientific & Technical Information Network): report server of the US Defence Technical Information Centre