A Year of Jxiv – Warming the Preprints Stone

“But alongside the growth of field-focused repositories, more recently there has been a trend towards developing preprint repositories that cater to communities associated with a particular country or language group. And while scholarship is often said to be borderless, as with real estate, when it comes to preprint servers, increasingly it’s location, location, location….

However, for all their potential benefits, regional and national repositories sometimes suffer from low uptake by the communities they serve and can struggle to secure sufficient funding to cover even modest infrastructure and administrative costs. They therefore typically operate on a shoestring, frequently relying on the efforts of volunteers who, no matter how well-intentioned and industrious, are placed in the invidious position of having to balance their commitment to the repository with competing demands of full-time academic and institutional roles. Such pressures can prove unsustainable, and in recent years have sadly claimed repositories serving the Arabic and francophone language communities, as well as that supporting researchers in Indonesia. IndiaRXiv, the repository launched in 2019 with the aim of boosting science research on the subcontinent, was forced to pull down the shutters temporarily in 2020 but has since reopened with a new hosting partner….

Although to many observers outside of Japan, the appearance of Jxiv was rather sudden, the idea of a Japanese national repository had actually been mooted for some time. However, the initiative gained renewed impetus with the outbreak of COVID-19, according to Ritsuko Nakajima, Director of the Department for Information Infrastructure at JST. “Whilst preprinting expanded rapidly in the early stages of the pandemic, the number of preprints coming out of Japan was relatively small and this concerned us,” Nakajima stated, noting that in an analysis provided by the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), a leading national research institute charged with providing information and other support for the policy-making process, showed that Japan ranked only 13th in the world in terms of the number of COVID-19 related preprints in 2020. Given that Japan ranked 7th in the number of scientific papers published by any country in the same year, something seemed amiss. “The question then arose of whether a dedicated venue where researchers could post their findings in Japanese or English would help speed up the dissemination of research results within the community” she adds. This was felt to be especially important for encouraging researchers working in commercial environments who, unlike their counterparts in academia, are much less likely to create primary research products such as work reports in English….”