Professor's personal web pages hosted by their institution are crucial sources of information in two ways:
to disseminate useful and practical but not publishable information (especially in systems programming)
to disseminate supplemental data, source code, and software. Google killed Google Code, and people are apprehensive about the long-term fate of GitHub since it was acquired by Microsoft. As such, a lot of people put source code in their university web pages. Now we have Zenodo and FigShare, but those are relatively new.
- E.g., I wanted to do an experiment involving an older system (published on ~10 years ago), and according to the author, it's source code has been deleted by their old institution when they left to teach at a different university. Reviewers will probably object that my evaluation is incomplete since it is lacking the older one, but there is no extant copy of that older system to compare to!
I have three questions:
Is it normal to delete when the professor moves or retires? I can't find it stated anywhere in official university policy. What's the policy at your institution?
What was the point of hosting that in the first place if it is going to be deleted eventually? If the purpose was to disseminate information, the fact that it will disappear so quickly defeats the purpose of having it at all. In the long run, it just leads to the creation of dead links.
What are the main constraints the university is facing that cause them to stop hosting that data? If the issue is cost, how does hosting ~100KiB for even as large as 10,000 past and present faculty (total ~1GiB) become prohibitive for a university?