Celebrating arXiv’s growth at the library, future at CIS

It’s not official unless there’s cake.

On the cusp of arXiv’s move to Computing and Information Science (CIS) in January, members of Cornell University Library and CIS celebrated 17 years of the scientific research repository’s growth under library stewardship, and to wish it continued success.

Carl A. Kroch University Librarian Gerald R. Beasley, arXiv program director Oya Rieger and CIS Dean Greg Morrisett spoke at a gathering Dec. 7 in the Physical Sciences Building.

 “During this two-hour celebration, almost 40,000 [articles] will be downloaded by individuals from education and business organizations, from almost every country,” Rieger said in her remarks.

She touted the international prominence of arXiv, which has 1.5 million papers published to date, more than a billion downloads, an average of 600 articles submitted daily and 70 percent of its submissions coming from outside the United States.

Rieger also thanked arXiv founder Paul Ginsparg, the Cornell University Library community, her arXiv staff, volunteer moderators and open-science partners and funders, including the Simons Foundation and 230 libraries from 26 countries.

Beasley, who described the celebration as bittersweet, said the move to CIS would allow for the “most sustainable and brightest future for arXiv.”

“I’m really happy we got this solution in our hands,” he said. “We’ve been the proud steward of arXiv for 17 years ever since its founder brought it to Cornell …. In 2001, it was already big, but it was not as big as it would become.”

Beasley thanked and congratulated library staff involved in arXiv and addressed representatives from CIS: “We hope to be your best friends and closest neighbors.”

Morrisett read remarks by Ginsparg, who was unable to attend. Ginsparg, a professor of physics, wrote about arXiv’s history with the library and summarized the reasons for the transition.

“The move to CIS is natural due to the enormous growth in usage by the computer science community at large – specifically its adoption by the machine-learning community as a dissemination venue of choice – and to take better advantage of the research-related and technical resources available in CIS,” Ginsparg wrote. “We’re starting from a high bar and planning to give it our best shot.”

Morrisett said: “I’m excited about arXiv, what it represents in terms of open science and communities of scholars, what it’s already accomplished and where it’s going.”

He also underscored the need for long-term funding and shared initial plans.

“What I hope to do is set up something called ‘arXiv Labs’ that will focus on researching and developing new technologies and tools to help the community of scholars,” he said, adding that these will include classification algorithms for content moderation, systems that recommend relevant articles for researchers, and translation and summarizing tools.

“We are going to do our best to not only keep the rocket running,” Morrisett said, “but to also scale and push arXiv into its next orbit.” he said.

This story also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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