“Sharing preprints – the preliminary versions of scientific manuscripts before peer-review and publication in an academic journal—over the internet was a new concept in 1991 when Paul Ginsparg launched the preprint server arXiv. This was before the World Wide Web took off, and there was skepticism about the transition to digital content.
Ginsparg’s idea was to level the global research playing field by providing access to the latest research results. Thirty years later, the free distribution service and open-access archive now has nearly 2 million scholarly papers.
The success of arXiv not only proved there was a demand in high-energy physics, but it has finally prompted other fields from mathematics to biological sciences to sociology to follow suit. Now, preprints in a variety of disciplines are accelerating discovery and demonstrating, more than ever during the global pandemic, the urgent need for information sharing in real time.
The work of arXiv has been important to the development of Open Access (OA) . Indeed, the OA movement was almost called Open Archive, says Melissa Hagemann, senior program officer with the Open Society Foundations. She was inspired to organize a meeting 20 years ago that led to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, in part, because arXiv demonstrated what was possible in disseminating academic research outside of a subscription-based model….”