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Paul Ginsparg

Paul Ginsparg

arXiv Founder Paul Ginsparg Named Recipient of Paul Evan Peters Award

Paul Ginsparg, physicist and Internet scholarly communications pioneer, is the latest recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award, announced today by the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE. The award will be presented on April 3, 2006 at the CNI Membership Meeting in Arlington, VA, where Ginsparg will deliver the Paul Peters Award lecture at the opening plenary.

A professor of physics, computing and information science at Cornell University, Ginsparg has distinguished himself as the visionary behind arXiv, an Internet e-print archive for articles in the sciences, which allows scholars to circulate and comment on research prior to publication in traditional peer-reviewed journals, thereby significantly reducing the amount of time it takes for an article to be available to researchers. Started in 1991 as a service for preprints in physics, arXiv eventually expanded to include mathematics, computer science and quantitative biology. Today, the resource boasts open access to over 350,000 articles.

"Paul Ginsparg's accomplishments as a theoretical physicist, alone, distinguish him as a superb scholar, but his innovations in scientific publication, for which the Paul Evan Peters award honors him, truly places him in the annals of history as a transformative figure who has changed the landscape of scholarly communication forever," remarked Ronald Larsen, Dean of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the award search committee. "This is a richly deserved award," Larsen continued, "that honors the legacy of Paul Evan Peters."

Commenting on how Ginsparg's brainchild has revolutionized science publishing, in the October 2005 issue of Sky & Telescope, author Richard Tresch Fienberg reports that papers published in more than a dozen major astronomy journals are twice as likely to be cited by other researchers if they have also appeared on arXiv. He observes, "Clearly, professional astronomers are gravitating toward [arXiv] as their primary - perhaps even exclusive - reference source."

Expressing this view directly as part of the 2001 UNESCO Expert Conference Electronic Publishing in Science, Ginsparg wrote, "The essential question for 'Electronic Publishing in Science' is how our scientific research communications infrastructure should be reconfigured to take maximal advantage of newly evolving electronic resources."

The award - named for CNI's founding director - recognizes Ginsparg as creative and innovative, capable of taking a fresh view of conventional models of exchange and collaboration, which, eventually, led to a groundbreaking approach to scholarly communication. "Dr. Ginsparg has helped to usher in an extraordinary new era in scholarly communication. I am delighted that he has been selected to receive the Paul Evan Peters Award - his contributions clearly illustrate the spirit of this award, " said Duane Webster, ARL Executive Director.

In 2002, Ginsparg was named a fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Upon announcing the award, the foundation stated that, "Ginsparg has deliberately transformed the way physics gets done - challenging conventional standards for review and communication of research and thereby changing the speed and mode of dissemination of scientific advances."

Commenting on the impact Ginsparg's work has had on scholarly communication, CNI Executive Director Clifford Lynch said, "Paul's work has shown how technology can fundamentally change the patterns of flow and the pace of scientific communication and has challenged scholarly disciplines to reconsider their practices."

Ginsparg joins previous award recipients Brewster Kahle (2004), Vinton Cerf (2002) and Tim Berners-Lee (2000).

Three nonprofit organizations, the Coalition for Networked Information, the Association of Research Libraries, and EDUCAUSE, sponsor the Paul Evan Peters Award, which was established with additional funding from Microsoft and Xerox Corporations. The award honors the memory and accomplishments of Paul Evan Peters (1947-1996). Peters was a visionary and a coalition builder in higher education and the world of scholarly communication. He led CNI from its founding in 1990 with informed insight, exuberant direction, eloquence, and awareness of the needs of its varied constituencies of librarians, technologists, publishers, and others in the digital world.

CNI is a coalition of some 200 member institutions dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity. ARL's membership includes the leading research libraries in North America. Its mission is to shape and influence forces affecting the future of research libraries in the process of scholarly communication, promoting equitable access to and effective use of recorded knowledge in support of teaching, research, scholarship, and community service. EDUCAUSE is an association of nearly 1,900 colleges, universities, and education organizations whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

For more information contact CNI Communications Coordinator Diane Goldenberg-Hart at diane@cni.org.