Saturday, August 13, 2011

arXiv...pre-print repository turns 20

"The arXiv turns 20"


Glennda Chui

August 12th, 2011


Twenty years ago, Paul Ginsparg started an electronic bulletin board where high-energy physicists could share preprints of their work. He could not have envisioned the enormous impact this service, initially known as the Los Alamos Preprint Server and now called simply the arXiv , would have on physics and other scientific fields — and on today’s open-access movement , which seeks to make more scientific information freely available to researchers and the public. His Aug. 10 commentary in Nature is well worth reading:

This automated repository and alert system for physics preprints, at, was implemented shortly before the dawn of the web era. As I e-mailed to a colleague at CERN more than a year later: ‘I know nothing of WWW, what is it?’ The original plan was for roughly 100 full-text article submissions every year, each stored for three months until the existing paper distribution system could catch up. By popular demand, nothing was ever deleted.

Within a few years it had evolved into a web resource at that now contains close to 700,000 full texts, receives 75,000 new texts each year, and serves roughly 1 million full-text downloads to about 400,000 distinct users every week. It has broadened, first to cover most active research fields of physics, then to mathematics, nonlinear sciences, computer science, statistics and, more recently, to host parts of biology and finance infiltrated by physicists.

arXiv early told by founder Paul Ginsparg

arXiv again

arXiv hits 500,000+ articles

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