Science is an incremental process, and the foundation upon which new results and discoveries are built is composed largely of previous research. It almost goes without saying that the long-term stability and accessibility of such previous research is fundamental to what we do as scientists. This is why accurate, long-term archiving of published, peer-reviewed research is such a big deal. The recent rise of Open Access journals has raised many questions about how we should deal with long-term archiving.
Accurate archiving of peer-reviewed research means that, once a paper has been published, its identifying attributes - page numbers, volume, etc - should not be changed. Otherwise, this creates a duplicity in the literature and makes it difficult to track down potentially important pieces of information. This is why journals are (in my experience, anyway) uncompromising on any further changes once a paper has been officially published.
I was thus surprised to find that a paper I published in 2006 has had, at some point, a change in page numbers. The journal in question is Evolutionary Bioinformatics Online, published by Libertas Academica, which has been the subject of some prior discussion here on Dechronization (see this previous post ). The original version was 2006:257-260, now shifted to 2006:247-250 and any attempts to find the 257-260 version on the Evol Bioinfo website will fail - those original page numbers are now part of a different article.
This is - at most - a mild annoyance. Still, it is pretty difficult to track how people are using the software I described in that note, because ISI does not have a record of the article using original pagination - which is what people (including myself) generally cite. So - citing the 257-260 version effectively falls into a black hole. But this does raise some worrisome questions about the long-term management of information, especially if this is not an isolated incident. Has anyone had similar experiences with LA or other open access publishers (or non-OA publishers, for that matter)?