This entry might be repetitive, but the article I wrote earlier this week didn't get saved or got erased, so I am reprinting it today. I apologize to those who have already read it.

This article is only of interest to a tiny fraction of readers, as it concerns a new preprint server for academic papers in physics and mathematics.

As most of you know, the physics community has made its research papers freely available on the internet for over a decade, using a website known as the arXiv. It has become so ubiquitous that many time papers will cite the arXiv index numbers of a paper for months or even years before the original article is published. It is increasingly rare to see any physics citation not include the arXiv number.

But this acceptance of the arXiv lead to problems for it as well. Because it is so common among physicists, and because it was designed to accept all papers without the traditional filter of peer review, it started attracting a lot of garbage. People with no formal education would submit stacks of articles, usually to the wrong category, and using no science or academic standard at all. The arXiv was getting cluttered with rubbish and losing its appeal to the academic community.

So they changed the rules. Papers had to be submitted by an established author who had previously published peer reviewed articles in their tightly defined field. Even noted physicists couldn't publish outside of their own sub-discipline without getting a reference from another expert. Others complained that, right or wrong, the arXiv was controlled by a single university and as such could in theory be abused. So some in the physics community started to move away from the arXiv. 

Now a new site has been formed, entitled ViXra.  This new site will be more open to articles that don't meet the tighter standards of the arXiv, and so will allow for more controversial research publications. Of course that also means that it will have the same trouble with spam and rubbish being submitted, but on the positive side serious academics who want to branch out will have a place to go. And of course with either site, they will never replace the traditional peer review for determining what is valid and accurate and what is 'not even wrong'.

It will be interesting to watch it over time, and see how it evolves. For now I think it is a positive step forward for the scientific community.