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Written by Tim Brody, last updated on March 06 2001 11:20:25.
What was analysed
The Los Alamos Physics Archive is a publically accessible store of published and unpublished papers submitted by scientists from around the world. First established in the early 1990s the archive has grown to contain 130000 papers and to receive over 30000 "hits" per day. To alleviate pressure on the main archive there are a number of mirror sites around the world, including one at the University of Southampton. It is the data held at this mirror that we have analysed.
All analyses are based on two sets of data; the entire archive and a series of incremental updates to the archive (mirror updates). The entire archive has been running for 10 years, a period of time such that the way that author's use the archive may have changed. With little history embedded in the system to go with "what we see today", it would be difficult to attribute changes in behaviour over time - and equally to illimenate the effects of changing behaviour on analysis performed on the entire archive.
The data set of incremental changes has been gathered over a period of 7 months, covering around 20,000 submissions. This period of time is relatively short compared to the lifetime of published papers (when the time between initially submitting the article and having it published can be upwards of 8 months). It is especially short when measuring what happens to these articles over time - only around 2000 of those articles will have been monitored for 7 months.
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