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We are pleased to announce that Steinn Sigurdsson has assumed the Scientific Director position. He will collaborate with the arXiv Program Director (Oya Y. Rieger) in overseeing the service and work with arXiv staff and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) in providing intellectual leadership for the operation. This is a part-time appointment as he will be working remotely from Penn State, retaining his faculty position, with occasional visits to Cornell. Steinn’s key responsibilities include:

  • Provide intellectual and scientific leadership by serving as facilitator of the SAB, which acts as an advisory board in setting policies and criteria for submission, moderation and administration, in collaboration with the SAB chair;
  • Serve as the final arbiter for complex moderation decisions (e.g., when moderators disagree or if there is an author dispute);
  • Contribute to strategic planning process representing the scientific communities served by arXiv, including serving on the steering committee of the next generation arXiv (arXiv-NG);
  • Participate in setting system development (IT) priorities with a focus on submission and moderation processes and arXiv-NG;
  • Work closely with the SAB members and subject advisory committees to ensure smooth moderation processes, such as assisting them in recruiting moderators;

arXiv’s organization chart can be found at: OrgChart2017

Steinn is currently a Professor of Astrophysics at the Pennsylvania State University at University Park.  He did his doctorate in theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He then worked as a researcher at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and  the Institute of Astronomy and King’s College at Cambridge University in England. Steinn is a member of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos and the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, and the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center. He works on a range of topics in astrophysics and related areas, ranging from cosmology, large scale dynamics and black holes, to formation and evolution of planets, and the prospects for discovering non-terrestrial life. He has been a member of the board of the Aspen Center for Physics since 2010 and is currently a Trustee of the Aspen Center for Physics. 

We are very excited to welcome Steinn to our team!

 

We’re pleased to be conducting our first arXiv-nextgen user poll. The arXiv team is working on extracting and presenting article references on the abstract page. We'd like to know how you'd like them to be presented to you. You can express your preference by taking a very short survey: https://cornell.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cCmPDAqvlgadsln.

The survey will be available until 24:00, Wednesday, September 13.

Thank you for helping us improve arXiv!

arXiv received $322,000 from the Heising-Simons Foundation to contribute to the arXiv-NG initiative, which aims to modernize arXiv's infrastructure and consider new models for the service’s sustainability. The grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation, which follows a $450,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation, will help fund the creation of a scalable, cost-efficient, and reliable infrastructure for the site, which currently relies on aging legacy code. The arXiv-NG initiative, which began in January 2017, is expected to take 2-3 years, during which time the site will remain robust and reliable. 

The arXiv team is gathering information on the use of arXiv the API and content in external applications and for research. We are doing so in order to inform the development of new arXiv APIs and to minimize disruption to current users of the arXiv API and arXiv content. If you use the arXiv API or otherwise access arXiv content in a programmatic way, we invite you to take a short survey. You may also sign up (via the survey) to provide input and receive news of changes as we proceed with API development.

arXiv is hiring!

We seek an experienced software developer to work on the next generation system of arXiv.org - the premier open access platform serving scientists in physics, math, computer science, and other disciplines. As a member of the arXiv “next generation” team (arXiv-NG), this person will design and develop a new integrated, modular system that will continue to provide the scientific community with access to the latest research results. For 25 years, arXiv.org has enabled scientists to share papers within scientific communities and to publish “pre-prints” that are scientific papers shared prior to a paper being published in a journal. Apply online.

Please share widely!

On July 19, 2017, I had the pleasure of participating in the ASAPbio's Evolving Preprint Ecosystem meeting. The forum focused on the rapidly growing preprints ecosystem, including new players such as ChemRxiv, PsyArxiv, EngArXiv, SocArXiv, etc. My brief presentation was based on the lessons learned through running arXiv and our intention to co-host a meeting with bioRxiv to promote best practices and principles to ensure the development of sustainable preprints. In this context, sustainability entails maintaining the ecological balance of scientific communication, securing resources needed to protect and enhance the value of preprint services based on the needs of the user community, and meeting the needs of the present preprint users without compromising the ability of future opportunities.  

Earlier today we released the first beta of a new moderation interface to support arXiv's volunteer moderators. Driven by Cycle.js and backed by a RESTful API, the new interface centralizes the actions that moderators can make on a submission to a single view, reducing clicks and navigation time. We're excited for them to try it and thank them for their continued contributions to arXiv!

We're pleased to announce that Erick Peirson has joined the arXiv team at Cornell University Library. As Lead System Architect, Erick will work with the arXiv development team to evolve the current system to become the next generation of arXiv.org (i.e., “arXiv-NG”) - the flagship preprint service for open access in the sciences. Erick brings a deep understanding of the technical and social aspects of building distributed scholarly infrastructure. He has a PhD from Arizona State University (ASU) where he was a founding member of the Digital Innovation Group that explores the intersections of science and society in the digital age. In his previous position at the Center for Bio-Social Complexity, Erick was a research associate focusing on design and development of digital infrastructures and applications for computational humanities. With his scientific and interdisciplinary background, Erick is a great addition to the arXiv team. From the IT perspective, Erick brings extensive experience in modular software development, responsive front-end frameworks, and cloud-based services.

Please welcome Erick to the arXiv community!

arXiv team is proud to be the recipient of the 2017 Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics (PAM) Division Award from the Special Libraries Association. The Award is given annually for a significant contribution to the literature of physics, mathematics or astronomy, or to honor work that demonstrably improves the exchange of information in those fields. We’d like to dedicate this award to 210 member libraries from all around the world for recognizing arXiv’s importance and significance for their scientists through their contributions to the service’s sustainability. In its essence, arXiv, which is 25 years old now, remains unchanged and still excels in its basic principles, which is providing a trusted and open platform where scientists can rapidly share their research with colleagues.  The arXiv sustainability model aims to diversify revenue models and ensure that arXiv sets an example of a transparent and reliable community-supported service through its governance model.  We are grateful for the library community’s engagement and recognition. We greatly appreciate the contributions of the Scientific Advisory Board, Member Advisory Board, and 140+ moderators to the service's success.  Press Release: https://www.library.cornell.edu/about/news/storiesnews/arxiv

 

Looking back at arXiv's 25 years (and forward to Open Repositories, next week!), I read through all the old arXiv news on the arXiv.org website, as well as Paul Ginsparg's recent "Preprint Déjà Vu: an FAQ," and put together this timeline (PDF). It's really interesting to note the start up of additional subject area services at other institutions (and their later consolidation to LANL), the addition of new subject areas, the start up and decommissioning of mirrors, and a lot of other arXiv milestones. It's an idiosyncratic summary, but it was fun to put together. Enjoy.

The goal of the next-gen arXiv (arXiv-NG) initiative is to improve the architecture of the service’s core infrastructure. Funded by the Sloan Foundation, the ongoing Phase I planning activities (December 2016-May 2018) aims to evaluate different scenarios for the overall development and replacement process, settle on a specific one, and initiative technical development work. At this stage, we have largely settled on a strategy of incremental and modular renewal of the existing arXiv system ("Classic Renewal"), rather than building an entirely new system and migrating to it. Currently, we are in the process of assessing various technology components as well as identifying collaboration and partnership options. We will put in place initial testing and implementation of some key technology components and develop new organizational and staffing models to ensure continuity in operations. The completion of the arXiv-NG initiative is anticipated to take approximately three years. Although the funding streams are separate, the arXiv team will take an integrated approach to consider the current operational system (Classic arXiv) and the next-gen system as a unified program. This approach is essential as we recruit and retain staff who will need to be conversant with the old and new systems, and transitioning from one to the other. We will strategically expand the core arXiv development team to bring new skills to the arXiv-NG project, while continuing to provide excellent support and maintenance of the production arXiv system.  

Stay tuned as we’ll keep you informed of new developments!

We just conducted a round of usability testing on a new interface for arXiv's volunteer moderators. Given that they're distributed all over the globe, this presented an interesting challenge. If you're interested, you can read more about our process. We expect the new interface to go live (in beta) in June.

arXiv is hiring

arXiv seeks applications for the position of arXiv Administrator. arXiv Administrators are primarily responsible for the daily administration and management of the arXiv.org moderation processes, help recognize unmet needs and work with users to define system enhancement requirements, serving as a critical link between users and application developers. Apply online: https://cornell.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/CornellCareerPage/job/Ithaca-Main-Campus/arXiv-Administrator_WDR-00010685

Exploring and evaluating our options for renewing arXiv.org's technical infrastructure includes both careful evaluation of different technological strategies, but in some cases, it also requires us to weigh the risks, costs an benefits of entering into a partnership with one or more organizations. We're pleased to share a rubric we are trying out for this purpose, and welcome your thoughts.