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Online Scientific Repository Hits Milestone

Ithaca, NY Reinforcing its place in the scientific community, the arXiv repository at Cornell University Library reached a new milestone in October 2008. Half a million e-print postings–research articles published online– now reside in arXiv, which is free and available to the public.
arXiv is the primary daily information source for hundreds of thousands of researchers in many areas of physics and related fields. Its users include the world’s most prominent researchers in science, including 53 Physics Nobel Laureates, 31 Fields Medalists and 55 MacArthur Fellows, as well as people in countries with limited access to scientific materials. The famously reclusive Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman posted the proof for the 100-year-old Poincaré Conjecture solely in arXiv.
Journalists also use the repository extensively to prepare articles for the general public about newly released scientific results. It has long stood at the forefront of the open-access movement and served as the model for many other initiatives, including the National Institute of Health‚s PubMedCentral repository, and the many institutional DSpace repositories. arXiv is currently ranked the No. 1 repository in the world by the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.
“arXiv began its operations before the World Wide Web, search engines, online commerce and all the rest, but nonetheless anticipated many components of current Web 2.0‚ methodology,” said Cornell professor Paul Ginsparg, arXiv‚s creator. “It continues to play a leading role at the forefront of new models for scientific communication.”
arXiv encompasses publications in physics, mathematics, statistics, computer science and quantitative biology. Researchers upload their own articles to arXiv, and they are usually made available to the public the next day. A team of 113 volunteer moderators from around the world screen submissions and recommend whether they should be included in the repository.
More than 200,000 articles are downloaded from arXiv each week by about 400,000 users, and its 118,000 registered submitters live in nearly 200 countries, including Suriname, Sudan and Iraq. Fifteen countries host mirrors of the main site, which is located on Cornell‚s campus in Ithaca, N.Y.
“It represents an incredible model for scholarly communication that transcends borders, publishers and time,” said Anne R. Kenney, Cornell’s Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. “We bring operational stability and a demonstrated track record of stewardship to this invaluable open-access resource.”
Ginsparg developed arXiv in 1991, when he was working for Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. When Ginsparg came to Cornell as a faculty member in 2001, the repository came with him and is now a collaboration between Cornell University Library and Cornell‚s Information Science Program. The Library maintains the repository; information science handles research and development.
The repository is continually evolving, adding links to other repositories and RSS feeds. New facilities are being developed to ease the submission process for authors and support the addition of articles from conference management systems. The new query-and-retrieval interface allows others to build additional services onto arXiv, such as an iPhone interface.
“We’re excited to not only sustain and grow arXiv, but also to make it an integral part of the global scholarly communications infrastructure,” said arXiv manager Simeon Warner, who has been working on the project for nearly a decade.
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