| The poetry of reality|
|We must know. |
We will know.
|A view from the|
shoulders of giants.
arXiv is a preprint archive, serving up unreviewed papers in "Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics." It is the standard way to quickly get the word out (and stake out credit) in physics, particularly particle physics and astrophysics.
Anyone can upload a paper to arXiv if they have an endorsement, leading to the expected seas of green ink. Fortunately, papers for most topic categories require at least one other person to endorse them and the moderators are quite experienced in dealing with cranks. The unfiltered topic categories ("general physics", "general mathematics") are pretty much "abandon brain all ye who enter here." Whether that paper appears in the intended category is determined by the moderators, who in many cases are anonymous. There seems to be no working appeals procedure. Hence, arXiv uses its own standards to decide which papers and which people are allowed to be part of the community, but no-one knows how this works. Sometimes, papers from top journals are reclassified for no apparent reason, and none is given, even on inquiry.
In defence of the spirit of free science and enquiry, viXra (an arXiv of their own) was founded "by scientists who find they are unable to submit their articles to arXiv.org because of Cornell University's policy of endorsements and moderation designed to filter out e-prints that they consider inappropriate."
Given some of the lunacy available on arXiv, you can guess what sort of content viXra accumulates: lots of Electric Universe crankery and occasional global warming denialism, and "proofs" of famous mathematical conjectures, notably the Riemann hypothesis and the Goldbach conjecture, which for some reason no serious mathematician gives a hoot about. viXra also directly invokes the Galileo gambit with their blog category "'Crackpots' who were right".
viXra also features blog-style comments for each abstract, which are a delight even by the standards of the bottom half of the Internet.
Recently, the culmination of the entire viXra knowledge is being condensed in a single, high-density website, called Vixrapedia .
The other alternative to arXiv's oppressive and hidebound strictures, the snarXiv generates abstracts of papers that damn well should exist. Play arXiv vs snarXiv and see how well you can avoid Sokaling yourself!
Ruining the joke
arXiv is pronounced as archive; In Greek, the capital letter chi (Χ) became ex (X) in the Latin alphabet by way of Etruscan.
- The World of Science Becomes a Global Village; Archive Opens a New Realm of Research, The New York Times, 2001 (among the other stuff mentions the rise of Luboš Motl)
- Bangs big and small in cosmic origins debate - the world of fast-moving preprint debate.
- An excellent example.
- What's arXiv spelled backwards? A new place to publish (The Great Beyond, Nature Blogs, July 16 2009
- Archives: viXra.org against arXiv.org (The Reference Frame, 16 July 2009)
- Fledgling site challenges arXiv server (physicsworld.com, 15 July 2009)
- arXiv or viXra? (the blog formerly known as The Statistical Mechanic, June 10 2010)