viXra good practice

We like to make viXra as open as it can be so we are flexible within limits about how authors use it, but there are good practices that authors can follow that will improve their ability to communicate with their readers via the repository. This page aims to set out what those good practices are. These are not enforced but some features of the site may not be conducive to bad practices and it is not our intention to change those features. For example, if someone submits replacements for a paper and removes the first version it will not appear near the top of the listings. This is a fault with the authorís practices, not the site. This page should be read in conjunction with the submit page which describes how to work the submission process and what we do and do not allow.

Submissions (form)

Submissions to viXra should be individual papers in PDF format. We do also accept books and slides but our system is not ideal for these and they still need to be in PDF format. viXra is not a file sharing site and does not accept other forms of document such as videos or computer source code. If you submit a Word document or PowerPoint we may attempt to convert it to PDF using the standard Microsoft features but this does not always work well so you are strongly advised to take that step yourself.

Papers should be laid out in the usual format of a scientific paper with title, author and short abstract at the beginning and references at the end. For better or for worse a paper that looks like a scientific paper will be taken more seriously than something that does not. Some specialist search engines can also recognise papers in the right format and extract references and other meta data, but only if the layout is what they expect.

viXra is a repository, not a journal so we do not review papers or give feedback. Requests will be ignored or politely refused. The normal way to get feedback is by submitting to a peer-review journal although this is often less effective if you are not affiliated to a recognised research institution. You may get comments on your abstract page and you can solicit feedback in our forum or you can create your own blog to promote and discuss your work. Do not expect an avalanche of interest. No matter how good you think your work is, it may take years of hard work to get some interest. You are more likely to be successful if you engage with others by offering constructive comments on their similar work.

When submitting to viXra, do not concern yourself with the quality of other papers you see here. Unlike journals, viXra does not seek to establish a minimal level of quality for accepted work. So it does not filter submissions according to any judgement of the scientific validity of their contents. Submissions are only rejected for other reasons such as legal issues. This means that acceptance in viXra does not confer any scientific credibility, or the lack of it, to your work or anyone elseís. Each article should be judged on its own merit. viXra is not thereby a means to circumvent peer-review which we believe should be a separate procedure from publication. Many papers on viXra have passed peer-review while others can be judged by citations, comments, or by reading them.

Replacements (form)

You are free to replace your papers with updated versions when you find errors or add improvements, but systematically making multiple replacements is not good practice. If the number of replacements exceeds five then you are probably doing something wrong. A paper represents a single body of work that has reached a final conclusion. It should not be seen as an ongoing article that can be continually added to with new insights. Aim to get it to a final perfected state as soon as possible and do not submit a replacement when you know it will not be the final version. When you do subsequent new work that builds on earlier papers you should get that to a final state and submit a new paper under a different title that references the earlier work. If this makes your work fragmented you may wish to write a review at some stage that summarises progress, again with references to earlier papers.

If your publication is in the form of a book you can submit replacements that have corrections and other minor changes but these too should reach a final form. viXra is not a wiki where articles can be perpetually revised in the light of new information. If you do a major rewrite of the book then submit it as a new submission and call it a second edition. The title can be the same as the original with "2nd edition" added. This should only be done for major rewrites and a book should never run into many new editions. Write a new book instead with a new title.

If your paper was submitted to a journal and you have made corrections in response to the referee's comments then it is good practice to submit a replacement with those refinements, but you must never submit a copy of the version provided by the journal with their formatting, especially if it shows their masthead with the journal name. If you do this they will complain to us about the copyright violation and ask us to remove it.

Removals (form)

viXra allows you to remove old versions of PDFs if you have made replacements but best practice is to leave them in place unless there is a seriously misleading error. One of the main purposes of a repository like viXra is to provide a record of what your paper said at any given date so that you can make your rightful claim to priority if someone else publishes a similar idea later. If you remove early versions, especially the first, then the record disappears. You may think that this is unduly paranoid, but as soon as your work is online people will read it and may incorporate similar ideas in their work without attribution. If you remove your first version you may suddenly find that you are recorded as the second person to have that idea instead of the first. We may keep earlier copies in our offline records but these are not sufficient to authenticate your priority.

Some authors worry that readers may find a version that is not the latest when searching for a paper. The way we link to papers gives a priority to the latest version and this should be the one that comes up in the search engines once re-indexing has taken place after a few days.

You may notice that the latest version of your paper is not the highest one on the listing of latest submissions and that if you remove the first version it does not show very prominently at all, We do not "fix" this because it is a symptom of bad practices that we do not want to encourage.

Changes (form)

If you notice that something on the abstract page for your paper is wrong, such as title, authors, abstract or comment, you can change it using the change request form without submitting a new replacement, so long as the change does not affect the PDF itself. This does not change the timestamp because it is the PDF paper that is authenticated by the date, not what appears on the abstract page.

If a journal accepts your paper for publication you can use the change request to add the journal reference in the comment. This is good practice and is sometimes a condition required by the journal.

Withdrawals (form)

We allow authors to withdraw papers but this should only be done when absolutely necessary. If there is a mistake in your paper you should correct it and make a replacement instead. If the whole paper is wrong you may wish to withdraw it but consider first whether it is better to add an explanation of why it is wrong and include that in a replacement.

If a journal asks you to remove a paper from viXra as a condition of publication you may do so, but consider carefully whether this is in your best interests. Removing a copy from open access will severely limit your readership. It is best to check a journal's conditions before you submit there for peer-review to ensure that they allow an online version to remain in a repository. Most respectable journals do allow it.

It is very bad practice to withdraw papers simply to replace them or consolidate them into a new paper. Your old work should remain in place to protect your priority claims and to allow people to see how your work has developed over time. Another purpose of a repository such as viXra is to provide permanent links and references so that if people cite your work others will find it there. This is undermined when papers are withdrawn. If you feel a paper is obsolete and you are keen for people to see your latest work instead you can use a change request to add a reference to the new paper in the comment on the abstract page.

Above all you should not withdraw a paper just because someone criticises it unless you absolutely agree that the whole paper is wrong and definitely contains nothing of any value even as a record of a wrong approach that others should avoid. If you withdraw the paper and someone later publishes a similar idea with improvements that make it work, you will have lost your claim to prior research that may have been an inspiration. You should also know that not all critics are right even if they are considered to be leading authorities in the field.