What are the best practices on publishing preprints and e-prints of your results?

The standard at my current workgroup is the following:

  1. make a preprint at our preprint server as soon as it's done, "to put a timestamp on it"
    • make an e-print at our e-print server just before publishing, "to have all the work of the group available in the same place, and accessible in a reasonably final version without paying license fees"

In addition, I believe in the utility of arXiv as a "global" e-print server, and I try to put my papers there, too. However, this whole process seems redundant to me. I think that arXiv could replace 1 and 2 without many drawbacks. I am a bit perplexed about the necessity to use two separate servers (and two sets of metadata to update manually).

How is the "publishing history" of your results? Which preprint or e-print servers do you use? What are the important points to care about when making preliminary versions available?

Additionally, it would be interesting to know how much of the "tedious work" of data entering can actually be automated:

In how many different places do you update the metadata for your papers manually (including your website and CV)? Is there a smart way have a preprint/eprint server do your work and avoid typing in title, authors and journal number about ten different times?

closed as off topic by Andrés E. Caicedo, Mark Sapir, Andy Putman, Mariano Suárez-Álvarez, David Hansen May 14 '11 at 0:10

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    @Federico: You should make your question more mathematical. For example: Let $n$ be the number of places where you update the metadata for your papers. Is $\zeta(\frac 1n)$ an algebraic number? – Mark Sapir May 13 '11 at 23:34
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    @Mark Sapir, I guess your question would be closed as 'too localised' or maybe 'not a real question' ;) More seriously, with a strict definition this is certainly off-topic; but then 'publishing question' were often very well-received in the past. My humble suggestion (as a <3k user) would be: make it CW yet'let it live' at least for a while to see if interesting answers are given. – user9072 May 14 '11 at 0:12
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    I'm ambiguous about this question, so I'm starting a meta thread... tea.mathoverflow.net/discussion/1044/preprints-and-eprints – François G. Dorais May 14 '11 at 0:48
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    Sorry, I did not mean to raise such a turmoil. I have seen several 'publishing questions' in the past (see the "related" column here on the right, for instance), and thus I assumed that they somehow belonged here. I have made the topic CW, as per the second commenter's request, but I accept the decision to close it and do not wish to insist on its reopening. – Federico Poloni May 14 '11 at 8:37