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arXiv Member Advisory Board Meeting Synopsis

Introduction:Link to presentation

Submission and Moderation:Link to presentation

  • Multiple authors do submit the same paper but typically it is a mistake. arXiv does have a fuzzy title-match in place to help avoid duplicates.
  • Supplying submission data at the institutional or author level is problematic due to lack of affiliation information and author authority control issues. ORCID ID matches will be included in the future and are expected to help
  • If a ‘problem’ paper is submitted, accepted, and then deemed unacceptable, it is administratively withdrawn from arXiv. An author withdrawal can be done in such a way that historical versions (which are retained) do not show in the default user view, and a comment about the withdrawal shown instead.

ITLink to presentation

  • Can arXiv consider off-the-shelf products or open source for moderation, submission and plagiarism checks? arXiv’s IT infrastructure is heavily driven around the use of TeX. TeX is the dominant way to typeset math formulas and it is the way that researchers still work. Any tools would have to be able to process TeX effectively.


  • Two MAB reps sit on the SAB, and vice-versa. Group agrees it is very helpful to have both perspectives represented.
  • Scientific Director position was approved by SAB on 9/16. Position description link.
    • SAB adopted its bylaws on 9/16 and elected a chair.

Business Review

  • For institutions that have pledged but not paid, consider the following strategies:
  • Follow-up letter from MAB (not arXiv staff) about pledge commitment
  • Use MAB for outreach to institutions based on geography.
  • Prior to end-of-year trimming of the pledge list send a note to libraries to let them know they will be dropped from lis
  • For institutions that have not pledged but are part of top 200, consider getting scientists involved to talk to their libraries. Work with SAB on this initiative.
  • Discussion re: very, very heavy users (link to chart) to provide contributions above $3K:
    • If we implement we will need to provide options of what they “get” for additional funding
    • This strategy may be perceived as bad planning/price gouging (since this is the first year of sustainability and we are already asking for more money).
    • Need to explain why we need more money than projected in our 5-year plan
  • Recommendation: provide usage chart to demonstrate usage trends, without solicitation, to top 25 users
  • Idea of adding new membership tiers - including scientific societies as contributors (and the idea of publishers/societies):
    • We already started adding scientific organizations as members
    • It is likely that a tier reset will happen after five years. Planning will need to begin 2015.
    • What are we agreeing to when we bring funding agencies, publishers, etc. What would that ‘class’ look like? What recognition do they receive?Would a contribution to arXiv be prohibitive for some US agencies?
      • Re: the ‘double-dipping’ question, agencies support arXiv submitters (scientists), whereas libraries support = users.
    • Consider an endowment model from publishers et al. for arXiv to support the formation of a Scientific Director.
    • We can accomplish the additional revenue goal without a new category role for the time being so as long we just list them as ‘additional support’ on the pledge page
  • Give button
    • Give buttons have not been successful as a way of generating revenue. (Open Courseware is an example.) If a give button is tied to need (i.e. endowment) and is done at an interval model it might be more successful.  We should also consider a give button with matching funds from Cornell or another organization as an incentive. How do we list our donors? Do we put down the amount paid?
  • Recommendation: Keep the existing tier model through the next few years and not create a new group of users
  • Recommendation: MAB supports a give-button if it is done thoughtfully. We need a way to recognize contributors that is not tied to usage. Also, are contributions from societies and agencies are driven by a political or mission statement?

Reserve Fund Policy

  • Link to Reserve Policy
  • Scientific Director was not budgeted and we are hoping to fund it using reserve funds for 2013. Ideally we will get to a reserve of $300,000 by CY17.
  • Two policies using the reserve fund: operating funds for emergencies; and, development funds to support special projects, like scientific directors. 
  • Recommendation: Reserve policy approved

Scientific Director

  • SD position is budgeted for *.*4 FTE to help with benefits scenario. Ginsburg wants to transfer away from day-to-day, but will still be engaged in SAB (and other moderation tasks).
  • This is an interim of 1-2 years.
  • Hiring process will follow Cornell HR policies. Input from MAB and SAB will be sought
  • The scientific director position may allow Cornell to rethink the amount of time that other roles’ (user support, etc.) contribute to support arXiv. Unsure at this point if this person become the ‘face’ of arXiv.
  • Recommendation: SC position approved

Development Effort

  • The board approved the modification of CY 14 IT staffing from 1.5 FTE to 2.5 FTE

arXiv User Survey

  • The idea of sending out a survey – surveys are overused
  • Generally speaking, most scientists seem to be very happy with arXiv – no need for bells and whistles) Keep arXiv simple – this is what librarians are hearing from their scientists
  • Can you create a discussion forum for scientists and libraries interested in arXiv and use this as a feedback channel 
  • Recommendation: Post a simplified version of your roadmap online and use an app to engage users ranking it – good to get feedback but don’t set expectations high as arXiv is not in a position to assess and implement ideas expressed

arXiv as a Node in Scholarly Communication

  • Scientists and librarians were concerned about conflict of interest if publishers were included in the initial membership model; recommendation was to keep model focused on libraries.
  • One way of collaborating with publishers is not through financial support but project support for efforts like version control, etc.
  • SCOAP3 discussion: some libraries are losing faith in SCOAP3 (such as Helsinki libraries), in large part because prices have not been released to the consumers. At SLA, APS announced they were pulling out because they couldn’t get prices.
  • Will the gold OA change the focus of arXiv? Is the pre-print element of arXiv its strongest attribute? Predatory OA journals represent a problem because they are technically a journal, and yet they publish papers of such low quality that those same papers are not accepted to arXiv.
  • (UK) Gold OA movement (happening because of publisher lobby, because of immediacy, have a license (CC-BY) to facilitate open science), but there is there is still an interim green period. arXiv is an important tool in a green world and is harvested for metadata for IRs and/or to satisfy compliance rules. arXiv facilitates open science, as well access to grey literature.
  • Purdue has been targeting newly-minted associate tenured faculty in order to reach out and ask them to explore issues of open access, such as to keep their copyright (open access in a disciplinary context).
  • Will arXiv satisfy compliance issues with new mandates like OSTP?
  • Some libraries are being approached by publishers to supply (faculty research) metadata + article links, presumably as part of the CHORUS proposal.
  • If publishers want to fund arXiv, how do we ensure contributions do not violate arXiv principles such as a condition that they cannot restrict anyone from depositing material into arXiv. Is this a formal or informal agreement?
  • Feedback from users (scientists and students) is that arXiv is “their” project. Would publishers appear to have influence?
  • If publishers contribute we need to develop a policy on about how arXiv uses these funds
  • In some fields this would not be an issue; for instance, CS they are used to having commercial finance
  • Some libraries may want to pull out from funding if publishers are also funding arXiv
  • Publishers should be paying for ‘something’ instead of just giving to arXiv.
  • Recommendation: Form a subgroup to be formed to discuss membership tiers and fund-raising (policy and communication and consistency)
    • Heavy users
    • Scientific societies
    • Give button
    • Next five-years – tiers, etc.
    • Publishers/societies

R&D Agenda

  • SHARE proposal will require separate funding. If arXiv is potential partner/contributor to SHARE , the program will need to add metadata like unique ID, funder code, etc. How will this impact the overall IT framework?  
  • CHORUS and SHARE are proposals but agencies are not entertaining proposals. Not like an RFP. Both will proceed. SHARE will move forward and is looking for funding. Time frame: refining whitepaper to think about prototype within the next year. What would it take to search across all of these repositories?
    • A consistent use of metadata that will hopefully ‘touch’ the repositories
    • Data management is still a key question
  • The quality of the arXiv download statistics are good and are trusted. What are some additional statistics that we can provide?Initiatives such as OpenAIRE are developing subject classification and categorization systems for their open access repositories; can arXiv contribute to these open source initiatives? 
    • Downloads for articles that receive a lot of ‘attention’ (is this number of hits? Link outs? Popular press?)
    • Submission uploads based on IP
    • Total # of downloads/institution highlighted in the banner
  • Recommendation: explore usage statistics in greater detail with our members

Communication Strategy (2014)

  • Our proposal: annual update to institutions with the invoice, in addition to:
    • Very brief survey to paying members about what they’d like to know and how they’d like to know;
    • Present Roadmap to users in order to get them to vote issues ‘up or down’ (with the understanding that such a mechanism is very useful feedback and not guarantee or orders).
  • Perpetual problem with communication is that directors get receive a lot information instead of the subject librariansFor MAB high-contributing members, we will need to determine terms and voting now that we have two new members (CCSD in France and Japan-SPARC)
    • We have an email update list, anyone can sign up for arXiv updates. Will promote more especially to mailing lists such as PAM.

MAB Group Composition and Structure

  • Very valuable to have SAB + MAB crossover on each group
  • Face to face meeting will help us work in our subgroups. Group composition is good particularly the international perspectives, as is helpful as it gives us a holistic view
  • May be difficult to keep this group focused because of the diversity of our issues and portfolio. How can we work together to set priorities and maintain focus?
  • Shall we consider developing special interest groups that involve non-MAB? May help us reach out to the institutional base.
  • There is a need to increase the number of early-career scientists on SAB, and also among moderators_._
  • There is an expectation that the MAB can help drive discussions about the future, about how we’re going to be different in five years ( SAB is more interested in sustainability rather than innovation right now (due to pressing functional requirements in support of important processes such as moderation). Perhaps the MAB is a place of innovation, and the Scientific Director will collaborate to lead this innovation.
  • SAB will form a small group to help with IT prioritization.  
  • Recommendation: We'll need to factor in the technical development needs of our members too so it needs to involve some MAB/SAB collaboration. There needs to be a negotiation process.
  • What is the role of a MAB chair? Facilitator, organizer, conduit, help in the communication between SAB and MAB, particularly in transition year. 
  • Recommendation: We will revisit the idea of appointing a chair in our next meeting.

Meeting Agenda

SAB/MAB DINNER: September 16, Monday, at 7pm 

Marché du Sud, W1136 1st Ave. (Midtown/Upper East Side between 62nd/63rd Street)  


MEETING LOCATION:  Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations Conference Center, 16 East 34th Street, 6th Floor


CONTACT: Oya Y. Rieger, (607) 351 9828


Expense Reimbursement Forms:




Arrivals & continental breakfast


Introductions and arXiv overview (10 minute each topic and Q&A)           

  • arXiv program at CUL (Oya Y. Rieger & Jaron Porciello)
  • Moderation (David Ruddy)
  • IT (Simeon Warner)
  • SAB (Dave Morrison)
    SAB Meeting Agenda


Business overview


arXiv user study

  • goal & research questions
  • research methodology
  • role of member libraries
  • input from SAB


working lunch
morning discussion continued (especially membership issues)

(includes a 15-minute break)


arXiv and scholarly communication

  • emerging open access mandates & arXiv's core mission & principles
  • R&D agenda for arXiv


collaboration with society and publishers
Background Document


conclusions and next steps

  • assessment of the meeting outcomes
  • feedback about the role of MAB in arXiv's governance (and MAB/SAB relationship)
  • meeting frequency and ideas for future discussion items


  • Tommy Ohlsson, Professor , KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Theoretical Physics, Sweden
  • Carol Hoover, Digital Information Resources Manager, Los Alamos National Laboratory, US
  • Diane Geraci, Associate Director for Information Resources, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US,
  • Zhixiong Zhang, Assistant Director of National Science Library, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (will not be able to participate)
  • Philip G. Kent, University Librarian, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Molly White, Director, Math, Physics, Astronomy Library, University of Texas, Austin, US
  • Tim Klassen, Head, Science and Technology Library, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Eva Isaksson, Physics Librarian, University of Helsinki, Finland,
  • James (Jim) L. Mullins, Dean of Libraries and Esther Ellis Norton Professor, Purdue University, Representing Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), US
  • Esther Tobschall (standing in for Uwe Rosemann), German National Library of Science and Technology Germany, Representing Consortium arXiv-DH and HGF: Coordinated by the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) and Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, Germany
  • Catriona Cannon, Associate Director, Collection Support, Bodleian Libraries, Representing Jisc, UK
  • MacKenzie Smith, University Librarian at UC Davis, Representing University of California, US
  • Yuri Tschinkel, Professor of Mathematics, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, Director of Mathematics and the Physical Sciences, Representing Simons Foundation, US

Ex Officio Members

Cornell University Library

  • Oya Y. Rieger, Associate University Librarian, Digital Scholarship & Preservation Services; arXiv Program Director (MAB Chair)
  • David Ruddy, Director, Scholarly Communication Services, arXiv User Support Manager
  • Simeon Warner, Director, Software Development & Repository Architecture, arXiv IT Manager
  • Jaron Porciello, Digital Scholarship Initiatives Coordinator, arXiv Membership Program Lead

Scientific Advisory Board

  • Steven Gottlieb, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Indiana University, US
  • David Morrison, Professor of Mathematics and Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, US
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