Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Dirac's papers disappeared from archive.org?

  1. Oct 3, 2011 #1
    I posted this a few weeks back in General Physics, but didn't get any bites -- I still can't find the "move" feature, so preemptive apologies for any breach of etiquette....

    I could swear that a few months ago, there were dozens of papers by Dirac available on archive.org -- page after page of them...but now, there's nothing -- even just a search for "dirac" turns up less than one page.

    Was there some kind of purge, or something like that? Or is my memory botched?

    Also, while looking for a substitute, I found a link on Dirac's Wikipedia article advertising "Free online access to Dirac's classic 1920s papers from Royal Society's Proceedings", but upon following it, I'm almost immediately repelled by a paywall...anyone had any experience with that?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2018 Award

    Probably. After all, there are copyrights of journals which published these papers.
  4. Oct 3, 2011 #3
  5. Oct 3, 2011 #4
    Ah, nice -- I guess after hitting a pay wall after clicking two or three of them I assumed the rest would be the same. It'd be nice if there was some visual indication of the difference -- but oh well -- thanks for the tip!
  6. Oct 3, 2011 #5
    I have just confirmed that other 1920s papers were freely available earlier this year, in fact I have copies of Dirac's early 1925/26 Quantum Theory papers downloaded from rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org in January this year (the pdf files had been edited to indicate the download location and date)

    Sad that they have now removed this service, even for UK ip addresses. Times must be tough if +80 year old scientific papers can't be made available free to the public.
  7. Oct 3, 2011 #6
    Incredible. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries'_copyright_length, in the UK, for items whose copyright expiration is based upon the publication date, the duration is 70 years -- so, though I'm definitely not a lawyer, it sounds like these should be public domain (unless for some reason the clock doesn't start on articles until the creator's death)...I'd be interested to know what caused this massive purge -- since it seems to have been at at least two major repositories (RSPA + archive.org)...maybe I'll do some sleuthing.

    Whatever the situation, it would be awesome if some copyleft radical with a copy of these in her cache would make them available from a server on the moon or something...but I won't hold my breath.

    In any case, thanks again for the confirmation -- it's hard to keep up a healthy feeling of righteous indignation if you're not even sure the thing you're indignant about actually happened.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook