Archival material is *extremely* important for future research.
no doubt. but we have a conflict of interests here.
on one hand, historians and folks doing patent searches could
make good use of archived internet-drafts.
on the other hand, IETF needs the Internet-Draft series to be very
lightweight. already there are too many folks who avoid issuing
I-Ds except when required to do so because they feel that the
publication process is too burdensome and too slow, and too many
people treat I-Ds as something akin to final form documents
(as in, they need to be close to "right") rather than working drafts.
having the drafts placed in a permanent and easily accessible
archive increases that burden.
IMHO internet-drafts ought to be about as accessible as WG mailing
list archives - which is to say, the stuff is out there if you want
to dig through it, but you have to dig.