arXiv Annual Update, January 2020 | arXiv e-print repository

“Our next-generation arXiv (arXiv-NG) initiative to improve the service’s core infrastructure by incremental and modular renewal of the existing arXiv system continues to progress. This includes significant effort towards laying the foundations for the NG submission system, which the team hopes to alpha test in Q12020. Existing search, browse, accounts, documentation NG components received incremental improvements. The team also took the initial and essential steps to improve the overall accessibility of arXiv’s user interfaces, both through behind-the-scenes structural improvements and user-facing changes (e.g. support for a mobile-friendly abstract page)….

Key Accomplishments in 2019 and Plans for 2020 Since we started the arXiv sustainability initiative in 2010, an integral part of our work has been assessing the services, technologies, standards, and policies that constitute arXiv. Here are some of our key accomplishments from 2019 to illustrate the range of issues we have been trying to tackle. Please see the 2019 Roadmap for a full account of our work.

We continue to improve facilities for administrators and moderators in order to streamline their workflows, and to improve clarity and transparency of arXiv communications. During 2019, the arXiv team expanded quality control flags.
Our development team continued to improve and extend various search, browse, documentation, and other features as we reimplement, test, refine and continue to improve the arXiv platform. The team made significant progress reimplementing the submission user interface towards an alpha release, new and legacy APIs, as well as backend services. Wherever possible, new software components are developed in public repositories and released under permissive open source licenses. With a reduction of effort in Q42019 due to staff departures, the team shifted most of its remaining resources towards improving and maintaining the operational stability of the arXiv services.
Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), under the leadership of Licia Verde, has clarified roles and responsibilities for the arXiv Subject Advisory Committees and the Committee Chairs. The effort for outreach and recruitment of new moderators has increased in 2019 with an aim to increase diversity among moderators. We have also modified the SAB membership to include greater representation and engagement with the newer fields that have joined arXiv.
Two major policies were adopted in 2019 including the arXiv Code of Conduct and a Privacy Policy. We thank the staff, moderators, advisory boards, and arXiv users who have contributed to the development of the Code of Conduct.
The arXiv team wished farewells to Janelle Morano (Community Engagement and Membership Coordinator), Jaimie Murdock (arXiv NG Developer), Erick Peirson (Lead System Architect), Liz Woods (User Experience Specialist) and Matt Bierbaum (arXiv Labs). We were pleased to welcome Shamsi Brinn as our new User Experience Specialist in October 2019 and Alison Fromme as new Community Engagement and Membership Coordinator in January 2020. We also initiated a search for a new Backend Python Developer in the last quarter of 2019.
We moved information about our governance, business model, and reports to arXiv.org, to improve overall accessibility to pertinent information about arXiv’s operations. This information was previously available on the arXiv Public Wiki. We continue to regularly update our community at the arXiv.org blog.
As part of the organizational change to Cornell CIS we moved offices in 2019. The arXiv team now has its own dedicated space in historic Uris Library.

The 2020 Roadmap includes our goals as we strive to improve the technical infrastructure, moderation system, user support, and the sustainability framework….”

Ginsparg, Ph.D. ’81, arXiv founder, receives physics award | Cornell Chronicle

“Paul Ginsparg, Ph.D. ’81, professor of physics and of information science and founder of arXiv, has been named the recipient of the American Institute of Physics 2020 Karl Taylor Compton Medal for Leadership in Physics.

Named after prominent physicist Karl Taylor Compton, the medal is presented every four years to a distinguished physicist. Ginsparg was cited by the selection committee “for his paradigm-changing contributions to physics information sharing by inventing, developing and managing the arXiv system for electronic distribution of pre-publication (or preprint) papers.” …

ArXiv remains the largest manuscript repository of its type. It surpassed 1 million submissions in 2014, and its submission rate has increased by 40% in the past three years.”

Ginsparg, Ph.D. ’81, arXiv founder, receives physics award | Cornell Chronicle

“Paul Ginsparg, Ph.D. ’81, professor of physics and of information science and founder of arXiv, has been named the recipient of the American Institute of Physics 2020 Karl Taylor Compton Medal for Leadership in Physics.

Named after prominent physicist Karl Taylor Compton, the medal is presented every four years to a distinguished physicist. Ginsparg was cited by the selection committee “for his paradigm-changing contributions to physics information sharing by inventing, developing and managing the arXiv system for electronic distribution of pre-publication (or preprint) papers.” …

ArXiv remains the largest manuscript repository of its type. It surpassed 1 million submissions in 2014, and its submission rate has increased by 40% in the past three years.”

PeerJ Preprints Succumbs

“The number and range of preprint initiatives has been expanding for a few years now, with bioRxiv, medRxiv, chemRxiv, and socRxiv among a much longer list, some quite obscure.

The recent announcement that PeerJ Preprints won’t be posting any more preprints after the end of this month may represent the beginning of “preprint deflation,” the first obvious retreat in the preprint realm, a world that has been haunted by questions of financial viability since Day 1.

Even long-standing preprint servers like arXiv have wrestled with the expense and work involved in posting free drafts of papers. The systems, people, and bandwidth needed to support technology platforms longterm aren’t cheap. Preprint platforms are no exception. This year, arXiv moved from one part of Cornell to another, in what looked like an attempt to shuffle overheads out of budgetary approval scrutiny for a time — after all, as I’ve calculated, if you include these, arXiv is hemorrhaging money every year, and nobody seems to want to confront that possibility.

Other indications of preprint deflation are observable in the analyses I’ve done around bioRxiv and socRxiv. The goals of these platforms — to encourage collaboration and pre-publication review — aren’t shared by most users, with authors increasingly using the platforms as marketing adjuncts or to meet Green OA requirements after successful submission to a journal….”

How journals are using overlay publishing models to facilitate equitable OA

“Preprint repositories have traditionally served as platforms to share copies of working papers prior to publication. But today they are being used for so much more, like posting datasets, archiving final versions of articles to make them Green Open Access, and another major development — publishing academic journals. Over the past 20 years, the concept of overlay publishing, or layering journals on top of existing repository platforms, has developed from a pilot project idea to a recognized and growing publishing model.

In the overlay publishing model, a journal performs refereeing services, but it doesn’t publish articles on its website. Rather, the journal’s website links to final article versions hosted on an online repository….”

A conceptual peer review model for arXiv and other preprint databases – Wang – 2019 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  A global survey conducted by arXiv in 2016 showed that 58% of arXiv users thought arXiv should have a peer review system. The current opinion is that arXiv should adopt the Community Peer Review model. This paper evaluates and identifies two weak points of Community Peer Review and proposes a new peer review model – Self?Organizing Peer Review. We propose a model in which automated methods of matching reviewers to articles and ranking both users and articles can be implemented. In addition, we suggest a strategic plan to increase recognition of articles in preprint databases within academic circles so that second generation preprint databases can achieve faster and cheaper publication.

‘Broken access’ publishing corrodes quality

I’m passionately in favour of everyone having open access to the results of the scientific research that their taxes pay for. But I think there are deep problems with one of the current modes for delivering it. The author-pays model (which I call broken access) means journals increase their profits when they accept more papers and reject fewer. That makes it all too tempting to subordinate stringent acceptance criteria to the balance sheet. This conflict of interest has allowed the proliferation of predatory journals, which charge authors to publish papers but do not provide the expected services and offer no quality control.

The problem is not addressed, in my view, by the Plan S updates announced in May …

But I know of a fix, and I have seen it in operation. I propose a model in which journals compete not for libraries’ or authors’ money, but for funds allocated by public-research agencies. The major agencies should call for proposals, similar to research-grant applications. Any publisher could apply with its strategic plans and multi-year budgets; applications would be reviewed by panels of scientists and specialists in scientific publishing.

The number of papers published would then become one of a journal’s qualities that could be assessed rather than the clearest route to economic viability. Other assessable factors could include turnaround times, quality of searchable databases, durability of archiving, procedures to deal with fraud and retractions, innovations in cooperative peer review, and the option of post-publication review. Although the updated Plan S calls for many such factors to be reported openly, it does not provide any clear mechanism to reward their implementation.

I call my proposed approach Public Service Open Access (PSOA). It uncouples the publisher’s revenues from the number of papers published, removing incentives to publish low-quality or bogus science. Crucially, scientists would decide how to allocate resources to journals….

The journal that I have directed for the past four years, Swiss Medical Weekly, has functioned in this way since 2001. Readers don’t pay for access, authors don’t pay for publication and reviewers are paid 50 Swiss francs (US$50) for each report. The journal’s costs (roughly 1,900? Swiss francs for each published paper, although automated systems might lower costs in the future) are covered by a consortium of Swiss university and cantonal hospitals, the Swiss Medical Association, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and charities — which have evaluated our model and prioritized it over those of other publishers….

In the past, journals were only economically viable if their value was deemed worth their subscription fees, thereby collimating the publisher’s and the readers’ interest. A mechanism must be restored to align the financial interests of publishers with the research enterprise’s need for high-quality (rather than high-quantity) publications.”

How big are preprints? – Adam Day – Medium

Current estimates put the total number of peer-reviewed research articles at around 100m. Growth is around 3.5–4m articles per annum and accelerating. ArXiv, the largest preprint server in the world, has published only 1.5m preprints and is currently putting out around 100k preprints per annum. ArXiv (and preprint servers generally) are accelerating too, but there’s still a lot of catching up to be done….”

arXiv and the Symbiosis of Physics Preprints and Journal Review Articles: A Model

Abstract:  This paper recommends a publishing model that can help achieve the goal of reforming physics publishing. It distinguishes two complementary needs in scholarly communication. Preprints, increasingly important in science, are properly the vehicle for claiming priority of discovery and for eliciting feedback that will help with versioning. Traditional journal publishing, however, should focus on providing synthesis in the form of overlay journals that play the same role as review articles.