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500,000 October 9, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in physics life.

Check out arXiv. When I looked it said it had "500,624” e-prints. More than half a million. Congrats to everyone behind that project (and to Paul Ginsparg who started it and continues work on it). When Paul started this in 1991 it was quite controversial. People were especially worried that the science journals would try to shut it down. Indeed, the icon it used was the skull-and-cross bones (which while it shows up in my browser address bar, I can’t find the actual jpeg for!).

arXiv has been invaluable for me personally. It makes it so easy to get papers. A nice thing about being at the University of Washington is I get a free electronic subscription to all the science journals I could (almost) ever want. However, I can only access them while I’m on the UW network. That plus the fact that you get one-stop-shopping at arXiv means I almost always head for links to arXiv first, no matter where I am.

Amazing how a simple idea has grown. We need more of them. Thanks to Paul and everyone else who put this together. And, thanks to A. Heinson who noticed this and pinged me about it.

Update: for some reason I put up 5 million as the title, not 500K!



1. Kevin (another one) - October 9, 2008

Your library doesn’t allow proxy access? Everywhere I’ve been has that. I’d never be able to work at home without proxy access (my field is not in the arXiv).

2. Orin - October 9, 2008

They do allow proxy access:

But it can be annoying because it won’t just proxy any site — I usually have to find the article I want and then separately pop a proxy window to get that particular article. Arxiv is usually much faster.

3. Dave Bacon - October 9, 2008

I use the Firefox bookmarklet at UW so that it at least stays in the same browser page.

BTW, what’s up with UW not having a subscription to Nature Physics?

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