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06/25/2002

Academic Papers Database

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  I propose that the national government expend public funds to sponsor scientific research by creating a comprehensive Academic Papers Database. Many journals and data warehouses exist to contain academic papers, but a central data repository would have numerous advantages.
  1) Undergraduate students who produce papers for college could have their papers permanantly inducted into the database when submitted for grading in electronic form. Thereafter, University Professors all over the country could execute a text comparison search against papaers already in the database to detect plagarism.
  2) Graduate researchers and specialists could search a single Internet source for their research rather than many.
  3) The data warehouse would serve as a repository of human knowledge that could be easily archived in permanant (optical) form as a time capsule of the 21st century.
  4) We could better share work with other nations and between scientists with a central resource.
  5) The government may need to restrict access to certain types of information in order to protect from terrorist attacks. A central warehouse for information can be made secure, but uncontrolled stockpiles of information on nuclear physics, bio-terrorism, explosive chemistry, et cetera could be exploited by the wrong people.
  6) Centralized data containment can become a source of public revenue by charging for access time to the database. Naturally, the price would be kept low due to the efficiency of centralized management. Rather than belong to 10 scholarly journals that impose high fees, a researcher can use the comprehensive Academic Papers Archive for one low price.
  7) Library science can grow to its fullest potential only when all of the information in human civilization is availible for review by a single administrative organization. The science of classification to facilitate searches requires the broadest possible flexibility to permit interdisciplinary sciences to emerge and grow.
  8) Outdated information that is no longer current or valid can be rejected when all the data for a given subject is under central review. Modern research proceeds as fast as individuals can get information about the subject and how it changes ; if the turn around time for experimental ideas improves, science will discover new knoweldge faster.
  9) The paper volume of scientific information doubles every decade. To slow this explosion of scholarly effort, we must ensure that people can know what is currently open for investigation all over the world in all fields. That way duplicated effort will be done to verify or disprove results, but never "overdone" by more researchers than are necessary to complete a given task.
  10) Textbooks about the subjects of knoweldge can be written once the database gets formed ; a comprehensive database could lead to text books that are the most comprehensive, balanced, and fair treatments of the subjects that can be made.
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John Montgomery
 
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