January 28, 2022

Commentary: “Lessons From arXiv’s 30 Years of Information Sharing”

The following article (a commentary) was recently published by Nature Reviews Physics.


Lessons From arXiv’s 30 Years of Information Sharing


Paul Ginsparg*
Cornell University
* Founder of arXiv


Nature Reviews Physics
DOI: 10.1038/s42254-021-00360-z


Since the launch of arXiv 30 years ago, modes of information spread in society have changed dramatically — and not always for the better. Paul Ginsparg, who founded arXiv, discusses how academic experience with online preprints can still inform information sharing more generally.

Thirty years ago, when arXiv was launched, many felt optimistic about the potential of the internet to foster a better-informed citizenry and to level the playing field between the information haves and have-nots. With new platforms like arXiv, academia led the way. But now, those original ideals seem elusive, with political polarization so exacerbated by information echo chambers that there is no longer even agreement about what constitutes objective evidence. With stakes so high, perhaps we in academia can retake the lead we held 30 years ago and restore some of those expectations, by modelling how information can be responsibly and productively shared.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.