Jacques Distler has a posting where he explains that the arXiv has instituted an ill-defined “active researcher” criterion for allowing trackbacks to blogs and that:
Peter Woit’s publication record doesn’t put him anywhere close to “active researcher status”
I’ve written an extensive comment over there about why I happen to think I am an active researcher and the evident absurdity of the idea the Jacques Distler is capable of making a rational evaluation of this question.
Update: Yet more on trackbackgate from Lieven le Bruyn , Evan Goer and Capitalist Imperialist Pig. The first has the useful suggestion of using Technorati to automatically generate complete sets of links to discussions of arXiv papers on blogs. The second reminds me why it’s a bad idea to hit the “submit” button when you’re extremely pissed off.
Update: In discussion over at Jacques’s blog about what an “active researcher” is, the dicey issue has arisen that Jacques actually doesn’t seem to be one himself. One commenter has suggested that this whole issue could easily be resolved by just picking a definition of the term, noting that
Few will object to defining a minimallly active researcher as one who has posted an average of 2 papers per year to arXiv over the last 3 years.
Jacques comes no where near qualifying as “minimally active”, since he has only posted 3 papers to the arXiv during the last 3 years.
Personally I don’t think the 2 paper/year criterion is very good. It doesn’t account for length of papers, or that they may be the product of a collaboration, so the author in question is only responsible for a fraction of the paper. A more accurate measure would be based on counting pages of papers and dividing by number of authors. Under this measure, over the last four years Jacques’s research productivity looks like this:
2002: 9.3 pages
2003: 3 pages
2004: 0 pages
2005: 23.7 pages
for an average of 9 pages/year (this count is being a bit charitable, since 15 of the 2005 pages are from a “landscape” paper that may not even be science).
Jacques has made it clear that a certain author for whom this number is 14 pages/year is not “anywhere close to ‘active researcher’ status”, so I guess he is even farther away from qualifying as an “active researcher”.
Always seems surprising the way people living in glass houses like to throw stones…
Update: This particular food-fight has even been written up for the on-line component of Discover Magazine.
Update: I haven’t heard anything at all from anyone associated with the arXiv, but a couple trackbacks to one of my recent postings have appeared, so there seems to have been some sort of change of policy there.