arXiv (pronounced "archive"—the X represents the Greek letter chi [χ]) is an open-access repository of electronic preprints and postprints (known as e-prints) approved for posting after moderation, but not peer review. It consists of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, electrical engineering, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics, mathematical finance and economics, which can be accessed online. In many fields of mathematics and physics, almost all scientific papers are self-archived on the arXiv repository before publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Some publishers also grant permission for authors to archive the peer-reviewed postprint. Begun on August 14, 1991, arXiv.org passed the half-million-article milestone on October 3, 2008, and had hit a million by the end of 2014. As of April 2021, the submission rate is about 16,000 articles per month.
Type of site
|Created by||Paul Ginsparg|
|Launched||August 14, 1991|
arXiv was made possible by the compact TeX file format, which allowed scientific papers to be easily transmitted over the Internet and rendered client-side. Around 1990, Joanne Cohn began emailing physics preprints to colleagues as TeX files, but the number of papers being sent soon filled mailboxes to capacity. Paul Ginsparg recognized the need for central storage, and in August 1991 he created a central repository mailbox stored at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) which could be accessed from any computer. Additional modes of access were soon added: FTP in 1991, Gopher in 1992, and the World Wide Web in 1993. The term e-print was quickly adopted to describe the articles.
It began as a physics archive, called the LANL preprint archive, but soon expanded to include astronomy, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology and, most recently, statistics. Its original domain name was xxx.lanl.gov. Due to LANL's lack of interest in the rapidly expanding technology, in 2001 Ginsparg changed institutions to Cornell University and changed the name of the repository to arXiv.org. It is now hosted principally by Cornell, with five mirrors around the world.
Its existence was one of the precipitating factors that led to the current movement in scientific publishing known as open access. Mathematicians and scientists regularly upload their papers to arXiv.org for worldwide access and sometimes for reviews before they are published in peer-reviewed journals. Ginsparg was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002 for his establishment of arXiv.
The annual budget for arXiv was approximately $826,000 for 2013 to 2017, funded jointly by Cornell University Library, the Simons Foundation (in both gift and challenge grant forms) and annual fee income from member institutions. This model arose in 2010, when Cornell sought to broaden the financial funding of the project by asking institutions to make annual voluntary contributions based on the amount of download usage by each institution. Each member institution pledges a five-year funding commitment to support arXiv. Based on institutional usage ranking, the annual fees are set in four tiers from $1,000 to $4,400. Cornell's goal is to raise at least $504,000 per year through membership fees generated by approximately 220 institutions.
In September 2011, Cornell University Library took overall administrative and financial responsibility for arXiv's operation and development. Ginsparg was quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education as saying it "was supposed to be a three-hour tour, not a life sentence". However, Ginsparg remains on the arXiv's Scientific Advisory Board and its Physics Advisory Committee.
Moderation process and endorsement
Although arXiv is not peer reviewed, a collection of moderators for each area review the submissions; they may recategorize any that are deemed off-topic, or reject submissions that are not scientific papers, or sometimes for undisclosed reasons. The lists of moderators for many sections of arXiv are publicly available, but moderators for most of the physics sections remain unlisted.
Additionally, an "endorsement" system was introduced in 2004 as part of an effort to ensure content is relevant and of interest to current research in the specified disciplines. Under the system, for categories that use it, an author must be endorsed by an established arXiv author before being allowed to submit papers to those categories. Endorsers are not asked to review the paper for errors, but to check whether the paper is appropriate for the intended subject area. New authors from recognized academic institutions generally receive automatic endorsement, which in practice means that they do not need to deal with the endorsement system at all. However, the endorsement system has attracted criticism for allegedly restricting scientific inquiry.
A majority of the e-prints are also submitted to journals for publication, but some work, including some very influential papers, remain purely as e-prints and are never published in a peer-reviewed journal. A well-known example of the latter is an outline of a proof of Thurston's geometrization conjecture, including the Poincaré conjecture as a particular case, uploaded by Grigori Perelman in November 2002. Perelman appears content to forgo the traditional peer-reviewed journal process, stating: "If anybody is interested in my way of solving the problem, it's all there [on the arXiv] – let them go and read about it". Despite this non-traditional method of publication, other mathematicians recognized this work by offering the Fields Medal and Clay Mathematics Millennium Prizes to Perelman, both of which he refused.
Papers can be submitted in any of several formats, including LaTeX, and PDF printed from a word processor other than TeX or LaTeX. The submission is rejected by the arXiv software if generating the final PDF file fails, if any image file is too large, or if the total size of the submission is too large. arXiv now allows one to store and modify an incomplete submission, and only finalize the submission when ready. The time stamp on the article is set when the submission is finalized.
The standard access route is through the arXiv.org website or one of several mirrors. Several other interfaces and access routes have also been created by other un-associated organisations.
These include the University of California, Davis's front, a web portal that offers additional search functions and a more self-explanatory interface for arXiv.org, and is referred to by some mathematicians as (the) Front. A similar function used to be offered by eprintweb.org, launched in September 2006 by the Institute of Physics, and was switched off on June 30, 2014. Carnegie Mellon provides TablearXiv, a search engine for tables extracted from arXiv publications. Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic can also be used to search for items in arXiv.
Metadata for arXiv is made available through OAI-PMH, the standard for open access repositories. Content is therefore indexed in all major consumers of such data, such as BASE, CORE and Unpaywall. As of 2020, the Unpaywall dump links over 500,000 arxiv URLs as the open access version of a work found in CrossRef data from the publishers, making arXiv a top 10 global host of green open access.
Finally, researchers can select sub-fields and receive daily e-mailings or RSS feeds of all submissions in them.
Copyright status of files
- Some are public domain, in which case they will have a statement saying so.
- Some are available under either the Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution-ShareAlike license or the Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.
- Some are copyright to the publisher, but the author has the right to distribute them and has given arXiv a non-exclusive irrevocable license to distribute them.
- Most are copyright to the author, and arXiv has only a non-exclusive irrevocable license to distribute them.
While arXiv does contain some dubious e-prints, such as those claiming to refute famous theorems or proving famous conjectures such as Fermat's Last Theorem using only high-school mathematics, a 2002 article which appeared in Notices of the American Mathematical Society described those as "surprisingly rare". arXiv generally re-classifies these works, e.g. in "General mathematics", rather than deleting them; however, some authors have voiced concern over the lack of transparency in the arXiv screening process.
- List of academic preprint servers
- List of academic databases and search engines
- List of academic journals by preprint policy
- Steele, Bill (Fall 2012). "Library-managed 'arXiv' spreads scientific advances rapidly and worldwide". Ezra. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University. p. 9. OCLC 263846378. Archived from the original on January 11, 2015.
Pronounce it 'archive'. The X represents the Greek letter chi [ χ ].
- Ginsparg, Paul (2011). "It was twenty years ago today ...". arXiv:1108.2700 [cs.DL].
- "Online Scientific Repository Hits Milestone: With 500,000 Articles, arXiv Established as Vital Library Resource". News.library.cornell.edu. October 3, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Vence, Tracy (December 29, 2014), "One Million Preprints and Counting: A conversation with arXiv founder Paul Ginsparg", The Scientist
- Staff (January 13, 2015). "In the News: Open Access Journals". Drug Discovery & Development.
- "arXiv monthly submission rate statistics". Arxiv.org. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
- "Image" (GIF). Cs.cornell.edu. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
- O'Connell, Heath (2002). "Physicists Thriving with Paperless Publishing" (PDF). High Energy Physics Libraries Webzine. 6 (6): 3. arXiv:physics/0007040. Bibcode:2000physics...7040O.
- Ginsparg, Paul (October 1, 2008). "The global-village pioneers". Physics World. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
- Butler, Declan (July 5, 2001). "Los Alamos Loses Physics Archive as Preprint Pioneer Heads East". Nature. 412 (6842): 3–4. Bibcode:2001Natur.412....3B. doi:10.1038/35083708. PMID 11452262. S2CID 1527860.
- "arXiv mirror sites". arXiv. Archived from the original on March 16, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
- Glanz, James (May 1, 2001). "The World of Science Becomes a Global Village; Archive Opens a New Realm of Research". The New York Times.
- Bill Steele (September 23, 2002). "Cornell professor Paul Ginsparg, science communication rebel, named a MacArthur Foundation fellow; three other alumni also receive 'genius award' fellowships".
- "CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY ARXIV FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS FOR 2013-2017" (PDF). Confluence.cornell.edu. March 28, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- "arXiv Member Institutions (2018) - arXiv public wiki - Dashboard". confluence.cornell.edu. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
- Fischman, Joah (August 10, 2011). "The First Free Research-Sharing Site, arXiv, Turns 20 With an Uncertain Future". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
- "arXiv Scientific Advisory Board | arXiv e-print repository". arxiv.org. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
- "About the Physics Archive | arXiv e-print repository". arxiv.org. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
- McKinney, Michelle (2011), "arXiv.org", Reference Reviews, 25 (7): 35–36, doi:10.1108/09504121111168622
- Merali, Zeeya (January 29, 2016). "ArXiv rejections lead to spat over screening process". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2016.19267. S2CID 189061969. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- Computing Research Repository Subject Areas and Moderators; Mathematics categories; Statistics archive; Quantitative Biology archive; Physics archive
- Ginsparg, Paul (2006), "As we may read", Journal of Neuroscience, 26 (38): 9606–9608, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3161-06.2006, PMC 6674456, PMID 16988030
- Greechie, Richard; Pulmannova, Sylvia; Svozil, Karl (July 2005), "Preface to the Proceedings of Quantum Structures 2002", International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 44 (7): 691–692, Bibcode:2005IJTP...44..691G, doi:10.1007/s10773-005-7053-z, S2CID 121442106,
The new endorsement system may contribute to an effective barrier, a digital divide
- Josephson, Brian (February 23, 2005). "Vital resource should be open to all physicists". Nature. 433 (7028): 800. doi:10.1038/433800a. PMID 15729314. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- Perelman, Grisha (November 11, 2002). "The entropy formula for the Ricci flow and its geometric applications". arXiv:math.DG/0211159.
- Lobastova, Nadejda; Hirst, Michael (August 21, 2006). "Maths genius living in poverty". Sydney Morning Herald.
- Kaufman, Marc (July 2, 2010), "Russian mathematician wins $1 million prize, but he appears to be happy with $0", Washington Post
- "Front for the arXiv". Front.math.ucdavis.edu. September 10, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "TablearXiv". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- Andy Stevens ([email protected]). "eprintweb". eprintweb. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Open Archives Initiative (OAI)". arxiv.org. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
- "arXiv License Information". Arxiv.org. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Jackson, Allyn (2002). "From Preprints to E-prints: The Rise of Electronic Preprint Servers in Mathematics" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 49 (1): 23–32.
- "Front: (In)frequently asked questions". Front.math.ucdavis.edu. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Butler, Declan (2003). "Biologists Join Physics Preprint Club". Nature. 425 (6958): 548. Bibcode:2003Natur.425..548B. doi:10.1038/425548b. PMID 14534551. S2CID 4374168.
- Choi, Charles Q. (2003). "Biology's New Online Archive". The Scientist.
- Giles, Jim (2003). "Preprint Server Seeks Way to Halt Plagiarists". Nature. 426 (6962): 7. Bibcode:2003Natur.426Q...7G. doi:10.1038/426007a. PMID 14603280. S2CID 29003994.
- Ginsparg, Paul (1997). "Winners and Losers in the Global Research Village". The Serials Librarian. 30 (3–4): 83–95. doi:10.1300/J123v30n03_13.
- Halpern, Joseph Y. (1998). "A Computing Research Repository". D-Lib Magazine. 4 (11). doi:10.1045/november98-halpern.
- Halpern, Joseph Y. (2000). "CoRR: A Computing Research Repository". Journal of Computer Documentation. 24 (2): 41–48. arXiv:cs.DL/0005003. Bibcode:2000cs........5003H. doi:10.1145/337271.337274. S2CID 5453868.
- Luce, Richard E. (2001). "E-Prints Intersect the Digital Library: Inside the Los Alamos arXiv". Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (29). doi:10.5062/F44B2Z95.
- McKiernan, Gerry (2000). "arXiv.org: The Los Alamos National Laboratory E-Print Server" (PDF). International Journal on Grey Literature. 1 (3): 127–138. doi:10.1108/14666180010345564. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2005.
- Pinfield, Stephen (2001). "How Do Physicists Use an E-Print Archive? Implications for Institutional E-Print Services". D-Lib Magazine. 7 (12). doi:10.1045/december2001-pinfield.
- Quigley, Brian (2000). "Physics Databases and the Los Alamos e-Print Archive". EContent. 23 (5): 22–26.
- Taubes, Gary (1993). "Publication by Electronic Mail Takes Physics by Storm". Science. 259 (5099): 1246–1248. Bibcode:1993Sci...259.1246T. doi:10.1126/science.259.5099.1246. PMID 17732237.
- Warner, Simeon (2001). "Open Archives Initiative Protocol Development and Implementation at arXiv". arXiv:cs/0101027.
- "What Is q-bio?". Open Access Now. 2004.