European Research Council Funds ArXiv Online Pre-Print Physics and Math Papers Repository: Scientific American
"The European Research Council (ERC) announced today that it has joined the list of more than 170 institutions to financially support arXiv, the major online repository for pre-print papers operated by Cornell University Library in Ithaca, New York. The cash involved is peanuts: $1,500 for the remainder of 2013 and $3,000 a year thereafter. (The ERC is already giving €90,000 this year to the life-sciences archive website Europe PubMed Central). But the ERC’s support is significant because it is a taste of what may be to come, says arXiv program director Oya Yildirim Rieger. At meetings today and tomorrow in New York, she and other arXiv advisory board members will discuss how to allow other research funders, and potentially publishers, to support the website, which now funds its annual costs (around $800,000) mainly through libraries and philanthropic organizations. They will also discuss whether publishers might deposit articles directly into arXiv, which could change the website’s author-centric character. ArXiv currently holds 875,000 e-papers, mainly in physics, computer science, mathematics and statistics — although it has expanded to cover other disciplines, including biology — and gets around 8,000 new pre-print submissions each month. As staff and server costs escalated, in 2010 Cornell University Library said it would seek outside financial support from its users, mainly academic institutions. The appeal went well: this year, arXiv is expecting some $320,000 from those users (now including the ERC, but it is not the first research-funding organization to join the supporters’ list); and $350,000 from the Simons Foundation, a private foundation based in New York, which agreed a five-year funding deal in August 2012. Cornell University Library chips in with $75,000. But, says Rieger, arXiv would now like to expand its budget from its current 'minimal, skeletal' level to one allowing innovation and new features, including modernized server architecture. Rieger says that arXiv will have to be sensitive about conflict-of-interest issues if it is to get support from publishers. In August, arXiv overseers made a conference call with eight publishers, including Springer, Elsevier, Wiley and the Institute of Physics, to discuss wider support, and a pilot effort in which publishers might directly deposit the published, peer-reviewed version of an article onto arXiv after a suitable delay, perhaps 12 months after publication. (At the moment, authors do sometimes upload final versions of research articles, but on an ad hoc basis, and often not the publisher’s ‘version of record’, but a peer-reviewed final manuscript.) ..."