D-Lib Magazine
September 1999

Volume 5 Number 9

ISSN 1082-9873


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Research, Innovation, and Editorial Independence

In 1995, during a site visit to Carnegie Mellon, a program manager from the National Science Foundation pressed one of the investigators to commit to specific results if the team's proposal were funded. The researcher leaned forward and replied, "You have to know that this work is difficult." No research is guaranteed to succeed.

As editors of D-Lib Magazine, we have to decide which topics to include in the magazine. The magazine has a focus on innovation and research in digital libraries. We know that every innovative project is a voyage of discovery. Some of the early articles in D-Lib Magazine described subjects that have become mainstream activities in the world of digital libraries. Others described concepts or experiments that, for various reasons, have not become permanent, but we should not judge research projects as failures so long as they advanced the general understanding. And we certainly do not regret publishing articles about them.

We, ourselves, are also practitioners; we have our own projects, our own ideas, and our own prejudices. Many of the articles are on topics that interest us. There is great temptation to let our own ideas intrude, yet some of the most interesting papers are on topics where our opinions are not necessarily those that are expressed in the paper. Every year we select some papers that (as editors) we admire for their quality even though (as practitioners) we may debate some of the concepts. Who knows which of the practices now being developed will stand the test of time? The goal of the magazine is to help a broad range of ideas and methods become widely known and understood.

D-Lib Magazine is fortunate in having broad editorial independence. The magazine is funded by DARPA with strong connections to the National Science Foundation. Several program managers from DARPA and NSF have written papers for us and often suggest possible articles, but they have never questioned our decisions. The Corporation for National Research Initiatives and Cornell University collaborate in creating the magazine. When researchers from CNRI and Cornell submit articles we are delighted to include them, but only if they meet the same criteria that we use in selecting every article: relevance and quality.

This month the home page has been reorganized to give more prominence to the other activities that share the name "D-Lib", but the editorial policies of D-Lib Magazine are unchanged. (For further information, see the Note from the D-Lib Forum.) We continue to provide an open-access magazine that welcomes high-quality articles on any aspect of digital libraries innovation and research.

William Y. Arms

Copyright (c) 1999 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/september99-editorial