The question Is there a way to change preprint service within OSF system? is about to closed and I suspect the reason is that it's a technical question. Perhaps the close voters think that it's better on Web Applications. But I've seen another question that is purely technical issue and is well-received: Is there a way to follow particular authors on arxiv?. And basically technical questions fill the entire tag, and some of .

What should we do with questions about preprint services? Are they academical enough? If no, what about the questions about whether the color of slideshow, CV or board should be black or white? If yes, should questions about other services like Academia.edu or ResearchGate on-topic? And surely we don't want questions about LaTeX or creating PDF of slides with audio to be here, right?

So what do you think?

• Case in point: Drawing the line for tech support in Graphic Design. Maybe our beloved mutual mod have some insights on this?
Should we be more welcoming of "technical" questions? But it's about study design.
What to do with questions asking to evaluate commercial online services? But it's about evaluation, not using them.

Moderator’s notice: Featuring this question, as it seems to considered important by the community, but none of the answers have received sufficiently many votes to be considered a consensus. Please consider voting on the answers or posting an answer of your own.

4 Answers 4


Based on the received responses, I guess that we want to keep them, for the reason has been discussed in the question? I think it's the unheard of OSF that make it sounds like off-topic. If needed, a sentence explaining what it is is enough. So I'd say this type of question is on-topic.

However, I don't know which point in the question doesn't say that it's not a preprint service?

  • 3
    I think it's the word "system" that made people think you were asking a pure technical question. I never heard people say arXiv system. People always say arXiv preprint service (or server).
    – Nobody
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 13:08
  • I think the bit "make people think" is the root of the problem, not the word itself. If they are familiar with it, any word can work. If they don't, no word can erase the doubt. It all comes back to the reputation
    – Ooker
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 6:10
  • 1
    I agree. I had no idea what OSF system was until I saw the question. I had to Google it to find out what it is. For people who are outside your field, they may not have this much time to look for what it is and then "think" it is an application system.
    – Nobody
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 6:16
  • 1
    Then you used the word "change" which would even further made people "think" it's about how to change an application system. Most users on this site don't have much time. They have their own busy things (study, research and teach) to do.
    – Nobody
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 6:23

I didn't vote either way on closing this question, and don't know about the reasons of the people who did, but my first guess would be the question doesn't sound like it will be of interest to too many people. What is on topic is certainly subjective, but the most important thing is that it is of interest to other people on the site.

To me, the question sounds like it may be a reasonable question for this site in terms of topic based on other questions I've seen, but I have never heard of OSF, and apparently it hasn't been mentioned too many times on this site, compared to things like arXiv or Google Scholar, so I'm not sure that many users of this site know what it is. Possibly the people who voted to close don't know what it is either, and it is hard to ascertain this from your question, so one thing you could try is to give a little more background and detail in your question. (Of course, if no one here uses OSF, you're unlikely to get an answer anyway.)

And yes, I would say in general we don't want questions about how to use specific software/applications on this site, that doesn't mean questions involving specific software is necessarily off topic (e.g., if you should post on the arXiv or use LaTeX in such and such a situation).

  • ResearchGate or Academia.edu are well known, but I think they would also be closed
    – Ooker
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 7:27
  • 1
    @Ooker I don't know, there are a couple technical questions about academia.edu and researchgate: academia.stackexchange.com/q/71699/19607 and academia.stackexchange.com/q/102958/19607 but I do think that one difference is those sites are neither as well regarded nor as highly used as the arXiv by people on Academia.SE.
    – Kimball
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 12:46

I am going to ignore the big-picture question posed in the title and focus on the issue of wether or not Is there a way to move a preprint from one service to another within the OSF system? should be opened or closed.

To me this is a clear cut case of a question that is too specific and should be (left) closed. The exact answer depends on the specifics of the generic OSF preprint service and MindRxiv. While it might/might not be possible to move a preprint between two services, that may not hold for all services. Maybe there is an edit that can be made to make the question more general, but it is not obvious to me.

  • But what about the Scopus or arxiv tag?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 2:59
  • I think questions about working with OSF are on topic if similar questions about arXiv are allowed. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 14:59

No. A question about a product (free or not) which is marketed to academics is not a question about academia. Questions about individual products are similar to questions about individual research problems in that way.

Example: "What color should an academic CV be?" is on topic but "How do I change the color of my academic CV in LaTeX?" is not. "Why do academics use preprint services?" is on topic but "How do I submit to ArXiv?" is not.

The degree of technicality of a question is subjective.

  • So you think that all the technical questions linked above should be closed altogether?
    – Ooker
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 5:37
  • @Ooker no, "Technical" is bad criteria. Questions about products should be closed. Commented May 18, 2018 at 8:08
  • I'm confused. If they should be closed, then the answer to my comment should be "yes", not "no", right?
    – Ooker
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 8:14
  • It's not really a yes or no question, but if the question is "Are they on topic?" the answer is "no", but not because they are "technical." The CV question you linked is on topic. It's technical but it's about academic processes and not about a products. Commented May 18, 2018 at 9:08
  • 1
    I see. But what about the now-opened questions about product such as scopus or arxiv? In your opinion they should be all closed, is that correct?
    – Ooker
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 11:12
  • OSF is one possible academic process/system to produce and archive research. It's also the backend for a number of academic communities and services, like socarxiv. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Nemo
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 15:06
  • @Ooker Some of those questions could be edited so they are generalized so they are good questions which are not specific to particular products. Others cannot be generalized and should be closed. There are a lot of awful questions there. Commented May 27, 2018 at 10:00
  • I think questions about working with OSF are on topic if similar questions about arXiv are allowed. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 14:58

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