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Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awards grant for arXiv upgrade

Ithaca, N.Y. (Nov. 29, 2016)  – arXiv.org, the influential open access repository for global scientific research, will begin the first phrase of a three-year overhaul and modernization with the help of a $445,000 grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The Sloan Foundation grant will fund the creation of a detailed blueprint for next-generation arXiv – to be known as arXiv-NG – allowing planners to establish new partnerships, identify necessary resources and build a core development team to lead the modernization process.

“We’re gratified by the Sloan Foundation’s support in helping to keep arXiv sustainable and robust,” said Oya Rieger, arXiv’s program director and associate university librarian for scholarly resources and preservation services at Cornell University Library. “This furthers our efforts to implement arXiv-NG, which will better meet users’ needs without changing the core structure that makes this site so trusted and indispensable.”

As arXiv celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, the site's leadership embarked on a wide-ranging planning effort to determine its future course, including a user study. Around 95 percent of that survey's 36,000 respondents said they were satisfied with arXiv, and most called for no major changes to arXiv's key mission of quickly disseminating scientific research.

Many users said they would like to see improvements in areas such as arXiv's search function, but because of the site's aging code and infrastructure, these kinds of changes are difficult to implement. Informed by the results of this planning process, arXiv-NG will be a more flexible service that can more readily accommodate new features and external collaborations.

arXiv-NG is being supported through the Sloan Foundation’s Scholarly Communication program, which makes grants aimed at empowering research by supporting the development of technologies and practices that allow scientists to communicate more effectively as a community.  

“Over 25 years, arXiv has become an indispensable resource in numerous scientific fields,” says Josh Greenberg, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  “It has played a historic role in the development of pre-print scholarship and is used and valued by tens of thousands of working scientists across the globe every day.  The Sloan Foundation is thrilled to help arXiv update its computational architecture so it can continue its invaluable work serving 21st century science.” 

About arXiv.org

arXiv.org is maintained and operated by Cornell University Library with guidance from the Scientific Advisory Board, the Member Advisory Board and the help of numerous subject moderators. Since it started in August 1991, arXiv.org (formerly xxx.lanl.gov) more than 1 million papers have been uploaded to the site. In October arXiv reached another milestone, exceeding 10,000 submissions in a single month. Its financial support comes from the Simons Foundation, Cornell University Library, and a global collective of 200 institutional members.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Founded in 1934 by industrialist Alfred P. Sloan Jr, the Foundation supports original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics.