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    Is it just me or did we get an unusual number of new users today? Is there some spike in traffic from a known source that would explain this?


    A quick Google News search shows a new Nature article about the arXiv that gives us a brief mention. Could that explain it?


    I don't know, but I'd like to point out that it's incredibly ironic to write an article about the arXiv that isn't freely available online. (I don't have institutional access right now, so I can't read that article at the moment.)

    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2011

    @Qiaochu, indeed.

    There's a very amusing comment in the Nature page, though, which I can read for free:

    In the middle of 2001 Ginsparg left the Los Alamos National Laboratory, under less than amicable circumstances, for Cornell University which allowed him to continue and extend arXiv using it as a model for research into digital libraries. As Ginsparg described it, the last straw was a recent salary review which described him as, "a strictly average performer by overall lab standards; with no particular computer skills contributing to lab programs; easily replaced, and moreover overpaid, according to an external market survey". The then Chair of the Department of Physics at Cornell, Peter Lepage's sardonic comment was, "Evidently their form didn't have a box for: 'completely transformed the nature and reach of scientific information in physics and other fields'."


    This is getting rather off-topic, but since I see people complain about it often, it seems worth bringing up here: If you are affiliated with an institution with a journal subscription, then you should be able to access it no matter where you are through a proxy. To access this article off campus, I add "" to the end of the URL, and, after entering my login information, I am redirected to it. The Firefox extension Zotero even remembers which sites require the proxy, so I don't have to change the URL more than once for each domain name I access. I'm fairly sure most other institutions, such as MIT, have a similar system set up, and if they don't, they should!


    @Evan: I used to do that, and I recall that it stopped working some months ago. The page you linked to was updated before the time I recall that it stopped working.

    • CommentAuthorWillieWong
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2011

    @Evan: a proxy is not necessarily the institution's preferred method of accessing subscription content from off campus.

    And a proxy is not necessarily the Journal publisher's preferred method for allowing access.

    At the place where I currently work, there are at least three different types of services used for different websites:

    • Proxy based authentication: this is only used for certain "behind the times" websites like MathSciNet :-p
    • Athens/Institution log-in: this is cookie based (I think) and is similar to OpenID. You only authenticate with your institution and your credentials are passed to the Journal/service. The website sends a request to your institution, you get redirected to a log-in page there, and get sent back after you logged in. It is somewhere more common in Europe than in the US I think. I like it better than proxy because directing traffic through the university can be slow, especially if I am overseas.
    • VPN: some services uses domain/IP based recognition and can only be accessed through Virtual Private Networking.