A Good Year for viXra

2012 was a good year for viXra so this is a good moment to provide some statistics.

This blog passed the 1 million view mark in December which is not bad considering the low posting rate and the length of time it has been running. Thank you all for your support.

Apart from the blog, the main part of viXra is the pre-print archive which we started in 2009 for scientists and mathematicians who experienced problems submitting to other archives such as arXiv. Since then it has gone from strength to strength as shown in this plots of paper upload and download counts. We now have over 4000 pre-prints online.

uploadstats

downloadstats

Uploads include papers from sciprint.org which was a similar archive that ran from 2007 until 2009 when viXra began in July 2009. The download stats have been filtered to remove indexing robots and multiple downloads of the same paper from the same IP address.

As you can see we had a record number of uploads in 2012 and downloads have been doubling year-on-year. This year by popular request we also started showing download statistics for individual papers with counts backdated from out logs. These can be viewed on the abstract pages. Our rival arXiv only provides a long list of excuses why they don’t provide a similar feature.

For those not familiar with viXra and those who don’t get what it is about, here are some bullet points:

  • viXra was created in 2009 for scientists who have issues submitting to other preprint repositories such as arXiv
  • It is run by its administrators independently of any organisation.
  • All submissions are free and unconditional. The site is funded by adverts (we no longer accept donations but thanks to all the past donors)
  • It is viXra policy to accept all submissions of scientific research.
  • We very occasionally reject submissions which contain personal attacks, adult material, too much repetition, copyright violations etc., but never because we disagree with the content.
  • We only accept works of science and mathematics. If you have works of literature, art, politics etc, there are other places to publish them.
  • Acceptance of papers into viXra does  not indicate any kind of endorsement or bestow any credibility or lack of credibility.
  • The sole purpose of viXra is to provide open access to scientific works with permanent links for reference and time-stamped records of version changes to allow for verification of priority.
  • viXra is not a peer-reviewed journal and as a mater of policy the administrators refuse all requests for feedback on submitted work.
  • Authors retain copyright and can also submit papers to journals for peer-review.
  • Each abstract page has a comment feature that anyone can use to provide feedback. Very few comments are deleted and never just because they are critical.
  • Most authors who submit to viXra are independent researchers who cannot submit to arXiv because of their endorsement policy that makes it impossible to submit if you do not have academic contacts willing to vouch for you. Potential arXiv endorsers are often unwilling to help outsiders because the arXiv threatens to remove their endorsement rights if they endorse work deemed inappropriate by the arXiv moderators.
  • viXra also contains work from people who are not independent of academic institutions. Some of them have found that they have problems with arXiv administrators who often move research that they don’t like to generic categories (e.g. general physics and general maths) In these categories you cannot normally cross-post to other categories and many indexing sites ignore them. The purpose of these categories seem to be to make unpopular research hard to find.
  • Despite the open censorship of scientific research most academics support the arXiv endorsement and moderation policies and believe that it only filters out research of no scientific value.
  • Although a significant number of papers in viXra are of low quality there are also many papers that have been accepted in peer-reviewed journals (estimated at 15% in one independent survey)
  • Our comparison of essays by viXra authors submitted to the 2012 FQXi essay contest which were independently rated, showed that the distribution of scores was similar to the overall distribution from all authors of which about a third were professional scientists who submit to arXiv.
  • Most papers that go against mainstream science are indeed as crazy as they seem, but there are numerous cases in the history of science where work was heavily criticized at first but later turned out to be right. viXra provides a place where any controversial work can be recorded and made available no matter where else it is rejected from. Even if such cases are very rare viXra would provide a service of value to science in this way.
  • Science does not just progress in giant revolutionary steps and viXra also contains many ordinary works of everyday science that find it hard to get published or accepted into other repositories.
  • Even research which contains many errors can nevertheless contain useful insights too. A good example from history was the work of Georg Ohm which was based on a very poor understanding of theoretical physics. Nevertheless it also contained a report of careful experiments that established Ohm’s law. Even papers that are seen to have many errors are worth keeping publically available in case they also have valuable ideas.
  • Even if many papers on viXra turn out to have little scientific value, at viXra we believe that everyone should be encouraged to think for themselves and be given the opportunity to learn by their mistakes. It is also the case that you can never predict what crazy idea may inspire someone else to think of something else of real value.
  • viXra is not “a way round peer-review” which is an important part of scientific evaluation. However, some scientists now agree that peer-review and publication should be formally separated. Traditional peer-review is often seen as flawed because of the role of publishing houses often motived by business interests. despite much discussion scientists and mathematicians have so far failed to implement a viable alternative to peer-review controlled by journals.
  • One other way to access the value of papers over time is by looking at citations. Sadly viXra is now censored by all services that count citations such as Google Scholar, InspireHEP, CiteSeer etc., so it is impossible to evaluate viXra papers this way unless they are also published elsewhere.
  • Despite the opposition from institutional science, we at viXra are encouraged by the support from our authors and will allow future historians to be our judge.

22 Responses to A Good Year for viXra

  1. Robert L. Oldershaw says:

    Are JJW and JH the unavoidable price of an open forum?

    Could there be a way to distinguish weird but potentially useful papers from those on a par with astrology?

    Upon further thought, I think the answer to the first question is “Yes!”

    The reader can be selective.

  2. ervin goldfain says:

    “Despite the opposition from institutional science, we at viXra are encouraged by the support from our authors and will allow future historians to be our judge.”

    Well said Phil! Keep up the good work in 2013 and beyond!

    Cheers,

    Ervin

  3. Wonderful post… Perhaps the world has entered a new era.

    The PeSla

  4. Wes Hansen says:

    The following quote is from an Associated Press article, “How far could Einstein get today?,” (www.msnbc.msn.com/…/just-how-far-could-einstein-get-today…Cached) which I found on The Resonance Project blog (http://theresonanceproject.org/bob-a-thon). I thought it relevant to your post …

    “Less tolerance for renegades?

    ‘…Maybe there is an Einstein out there today,’ said Columbia University physicist Brian Greene, ‘but it would be a lot harder for him to be heard.’

    Especially considering what Einstein was proposing.
    ‘The actual fabric of space and time curving? My God, what an idea!’ Greene said at a recent gathering at the Aspen Institute. ‘It takes a certain type of person who will bang his head against the wall because you believe you’ll find the solution.’

    Perhaps the best examples are the five scientific papers Einstein wrote in his ‘miracle year’ of 1905. These ‘thought experiments’ were pages of calculations signed and submitted to the prestigious journal Annalen der Physik by a virtual unknown. There were no footnotes or citations.

    What might happen to such a submission today?

    ‘We all get papers like those in the mail,’ Greene said. ‘We put them in the crank file.’”

    Not long ago I submitted a proof of the Goldbach Conjecture, as reformulated by Euler, to the American Journal of Mathematics (http://atomicdecompositions.blogspot.com/2012/09/autognosis-psychodynamiccomprehension.html). The proof was based entirely on the Principle of Mathematical Induction . . . yeah, I was making a point. The first three submissions were ignored (sent to the crank file), but the final submission was formally rejected; in their rejection letter they referred to me as “Professor Hansen,” Ha, Ha, Ha, . . . I would have been better pleased had they of referred to me as “Professor Crank.” When one engages this “Through the Looking Glass” world one must do so with a sense of humor and a proper perspective.

    The day will one day come when the “Proto-World Hypothesis” serving as the foundation for scientific epistemology is shaken to its very roots by an idea found to have germinated from some crank file! I can’t wait . . . for certain viXra provides an invaluable service and should be so commended. I am, quite frankly, surprised at the shortsightedness of Google Scholar . . .

    • Robert L. Oldershaw says:

      The persistent ignorance of ideas that challenge the prevailing paradigm, aptly described by Brian Greene as being in full effect today, has always been the case and always will be.

      New ideas must battle against the prejudice them, the overwhelming numbers of opponents and the scarcity of suitable venues for making one’s case.

      But the diamonds in the coal bin of bad ideas have an important and powerful ally: nature. Observational and experimental evidence will eventually show the limitations of the old paradigm and the rich potential offered by the new paradigm.

      It may take decades or even a century, but the diamonds will eventually be differentiated from the coal.

  5. Dear Philips,

    I do believe that viXra will become stronger over time. The peer review process has become a shame in too many cases. Sometimes a stupid referee just says that ‘the paper is not suitable because it is speculative’ and just rejects the paper. According to this view extra dimensions are speculative, as well as strings, superstrings, inflation, dilaton and so on. Also it has become a business of close peers or may I say close pals or even better close buddies. That is, some papers that have origin in certain institutions are immediately accepted. If the same papers come from institutions from third world countries, they are rejected outright. This just hinders Science because the full truth will come out some day, anyway.
    Best wishes,

    M. E. de Souza

  6. Congratulations to Phil Gibbs and colleagues – your vision is superb, you service immaculate…

    Phil Carter

  7. Ivar Nielsen says:

    Hi Phil,
    Thanks for your fine works giving equal opportunities for all.
    Happy New Year for vixra.org!
    Ivar Nielsen, Denmark

  8. amateur_researcher says:

    One example of relation between mainstream science and amateur science are forums without moderators. One example is

    http://www.physforum.com/index.php?showforum=30

    For instance, defenders of mainstream science are bullies, and rarely use arguments.

    • Ivar Nielsen says:

      Tanks for linking – it´s a very good idea with forums without guard dogs ;-)

    • Orwin O'Dowd says:

      “Lies, damned lies, and statistics,” the “damned” factor being always tyranny/monopoly, which results in aggressive line-pushing.

      It got so bad long ago that a whole class of medical conditions were treated from the Book of Common Law! You can still use the common law: personal attacks harming reputation and/or career prospects can be charged as “crimen injuria”.

      And the Book is still there, in the Celtic archives in Ireland: the Luagh na Cert. “Cert” in this sense is cognate to “il certo” in Vico, the arena of possibilities in human action, where he found..consciousness.

      Lacking this useful factor, Arthur Koestler famously thought them all… “Sleepwalkers”!

    • mitchellporter says:

      There has been some discussion in the past about the need for a “vixra forum” (not necessarily hosted on vixra.org or officially affiliated with it) where discussion of vixra papers can occur. What I think would be ideal is a combination of a forum and a wiki.

      I never heard of http://www.physforum.com before. Is it the promised land for discussion of vixra theories, or is there still a need for a vixra-branded forum? What is the history of physforum, who is behind it, it is an enterprise that will be stable in the long term?

  9. quoting Wes Hansen
    ———————————
    Perhaps the best examples are the five scientific papers Einstein wrote in his ‘miracle year’ of 1905. These ‘thought experiments’ were pages of calculations signed and submitted to the prestigious journal Annalen der Physik by a virtual unknown. There were no footnotes or citations.

    What might happen to such a submission today?

    ———————————

    Einstein propably would be rejected

    and i tell more….had the referee of Annalen Der Physic be Robert Milikan and Einstein would be rejected

    quoting from Wiki

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Andrews_Millikan

    ——————————————————-
    When Einstein published his seminal 1905 paper on the particle theory of light, Millikan was convinced that it had to be wrong, because of the vast body of evidence that had already shown that light was a wave. He undertook a decade-long experimental program to test Einstein’s theory, which required building what he described as “a machine shop in vacuo” in order to prepare the very clean metal surface of the photo electrode. His results confirmed Einstein’s predictions in every detail, but Millikan was not convinced of Einstein’s interpretation, and as late as 1916 he wrote, “Einstein’s photoelectric equation… cannot in my judgment be looked upon at present as resting upon any sort of a satisfactory theoretical foundation,”
    ——————————————————-

    so the Einstein of 1905 in equal circunstances of today transplanting the Einstein of 1905 to 2013 Einstein would appear here on viXra….because i guess well stablished scientists like Milikan would perhaps act as arXiv moderators classifying Einstein as a paper of no-scientific value

    viXra is very important..because do viXra not censor scientific information…..i do not have to afraid moderators awakening in bad-mood deciding to censor all the submissions of the day

    i told this before but i want to outline this again anyway

    people think viXra is for cranks….not exactly..i have my papers here too

    if a paper appears proving that 2 + 2 = 5 the responsability is of the author not viXra. and if the author is wrong is the author that must be blamed not viXra…viXra remains an excellent e-print server

    All Hail viXra

  10. This is great place! I don’t have time to find an endorser. I have done all my research and theories after day time job and family time. I stick with viXra.org.

  11. marni says:

    A great service in the interests of progress cannot but do well. Hear, hear.

  12. Dirk Pons says:

    Phil, Thanks for your vision and tenacity. You are doing a great job.

  13. carla says:

    Congratulations on the success of vixra.org and may it continue!

    Just one thing though. On moderated physics forums such as physicsforums.com and physics.se, they don’t allow people to ask questions concerning speculative fringe science:

    Do you have plans to create a more open and speculative physics Q&A site similar to Physics Stack Exchange?

    There are many ways of doing this, the most obvious being to copy Mathoverflow and use the StackExchange 1.0 software engine.

    Of course, this is going to cost money in the long run, so how much?

    Ravi Vakil of Stanford University is the generous benefactor of Mathoverflow so perhaps he has the answer ;)

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      I dont want to get into an even bigger IT project otherwise I will never have time to make the great discovery in maths and physics that will secure my immortality :)

      As Mitchell Porter suggested we could create an open discussion forum for viXra topics. This can be done relatively easily because there are sites that host free forums just as wordpress hosts free blogs. I am not sure which is the best but a quick search finds freeforums.org for example. If someone wants to have a go and set up some forums in the name of viXra and grant me some moderation rights I would be happy to work with it.

      • carla says:

        It’s really impressive how you managed to get this site up and running:

        Did you do it by yourself?

        Is the software freely available?

        How do people get involved in the project?

      • Philip Gibbs says:

        viXra is a pretty simple setup with third party systems for forms, comments, blog, forum, e-mail etc. The pages are all static and regenerated at each update and uploaded, so it is very simple and robust. I just had to write basic Java code to get it working.

        I have help with admin processes but now that almost everything is automated it mostly runs itself. Light moderation makes life very simple.

        A peer-review ssystem would be a bigger project because it would have to be more interactive and would require a database running in the web server. I could do it but I would have to know it was going to be worth the effort.

  14. JinHe says:

    Dear Philip,
    You could write a biography of yourself and enlighten other young people. We expect it.

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