nuclear physics archive (nucl-ex), and only now is there substantial activity on the electronic archive in theoretical condensed-matter physics, which is much more closely connected to laboratory science than is high-energy theory. The users of and contributors to the HEP e-print archives include about 6,000 high-energy physicists (experimentalists and theorists), most of whom belong to the American Physical Society.

The success of the HEP e-print archives in high-energy theory could be due to several advantages shared in the subdiscipline:

  • A preexisting formal hard-copy preprint distribution system, so that creating and using the electronic version did not represent a major change;
  • A standardized word-processing program (LaTeX or TeX), making the electronic format easily portable;
  • A subject esoteric enough that the contributions were of uniformly high quality, making refereeing less crucial to maintaining quality control; and
  • A critical mass of participants accustomed to e-mail use.
Materials Science Data

Data in materials science describe a wide variety of properties (e.g., mechanical, electrical, thermal, and structural) of all types of materials (e.g., metals, insulators, and semiconductors) under many different conditions. The data also relate to differences in methods for preparing and refining materials, and, in processes such as the doping of semiconductors, to difference in methods for achieving desired levels of controlled impurity. They have little or no timeliness, except insofar as up-to-date data may replace older, less confirmed data. Hence the databases have moderate permanence, but grow largely as new materials are added and conditions and properties are extended. 4

Although most of the collaborations involve the developed countries, international involvement in data activities is increasingly significant. Examples in materials science include the following:

  • Structure Reports, a printed crystallographic compendium that is edited at a Canadian university, published in the Netherlands, and has contributors from all over the world;
  • Science Group Thermodata Europe, a consortium of eight different laboratories from four European countries that compiles and analyzes thermodynamic data;
  • The Alloy Phase Diagram International Commission, whose members from 12 countries collaborate in the compilation and evaluation of phase diagrams of metallic systems;
  • The collection of diffusion data from the world literature that are abstracted, recompiled, and published in Switzerland and;

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