Archive for December, 2017

Some ArXiv stats for 2017

December 29, 2017

[Posted on december 29, 2017.]

Since the last batch of preprints on the arXiv got out today (european time, at least) here are a few things I’ve noticed in 2017.

The 5th digit for monthly paper numbers was used several times, the precise numbers being : january=9186, february=8910,  march=11008, april=9029, may=11194, june=10297, july=9980, august=9854, september=10517, october=11627, november=11589, december=10011.

That’s a grand total of 123,202 papers in 2017. Sadly the number of different authors is not easily obtainable.

There were 113,380 submissions in 2016, so it’s an 8.66% increase this year. The increase from 2015 to 2016 had been of 7.69%, but since two new sections (Economics, and Electrical engineering & Systems Science) were started last september, that’s not directly comparable.

See also this page for an official graph of monthly submissions starting in 1994, while monthly download rates are equally fascinating (note the spike this very december!).

Assuming individual authors between 2015 and 2017 had on average a stable number of yearly submissions (of course giving, for a given author, a weight of 1/n to his papers with n-1 coauthors), this would imply an increase of about 8% new authors both in 2016 and 2017.

Who are they? Surely new PhD students for some part, but there are also folks who stopped publishing after obtaining their PhD two years ago, so the 8% figure is a balance between those two populations.  This should be compared to an in-depth count of PhD offers worldwide over the past few years to confirm this scenario, but I don’t have the time to do it.

Should this fail (i.e. offers of PhD didn’t grow much between 2014 and 2016) then probably the initial assumption is incorrect, which would mean authors in fact are publishing more on average. I do wonder which alternative is the correct one…

[Edit (january 3): the official 2017 stats are now out.]

 Winter solstice sunset over Antler Peak,

by Yellowstone National Park on flickr

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Some december 2017 news

December 4, 2017

[Posted on december 4, 2017.]

In no particular order :

  • the paper of Mohan Ganesaligam and Sir Timothy Gowers appeared earlier this year in the Journal of Automated Reasoning (ironically, a Springer journal in which it appears they had to pay an APC to have it ‘open access’). Looking at papers which cite it I’ve stumbled upon ALEXANDRIA, a EU-funded project lead by Lawrence C. Paulson. There is in particular a detailed description of actions which shows that, if I understand well, while it finds the human-legible aspect of the G&G paper interesting, it finds the use of formal libraries important, and will directly in result in stuff usable in Isabelle. Lawson’s PhD student Wenda Li has several interesting formal proofs papers, again in the context of Isabelle.  Another paper citing G&G is this one by Joseph Corneli et al., which also looks extremely interesting and from an entirely different angle! If only days had 48 hours…
  • the Prizes season is in full swing. The 2018 Breakthrough Prizes have been announced : Christopher Hacon and James McKerman are the laureates for their work on the minimal model program (which previously earned them the Cole Prize in Algebra among others ; incidentally, this Cole Prize has just been won by Robert Guralnik this year). Also, 4 New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes went to Aaron Naber  (see e.g. this 3 part video on Yang-Mills Theory : part1 part2 part3), Maryna Viasovska (topically, Henry Cohn won the Conant Prize for his paper on the sphere packings story), Zhiwei Yun and Wei Zhang (both for their Annals of Mathematics paper in particular, see also Quanta Magazine).
  • the Fermat Prize went to Simon Brendle and to Nader Masmoudi.
  • Physicist Slava Rychkov (currently at ENS) has been named permanent professor at IHES
  • Edward Frenkel announced two weeks ago that Shinichi Mochizuki had sent the final versions of his papers for approval. I think I saw it said that it had been submitted to a Japanese journal, but this is probably not Pub. RIMS since Mochizuki himself seems to serve as its editor-in-chief. Time will tell…
  • Christie’s will look to sell next week for at least USD10,000 a 1952 copy of the issue of Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. which contains Turing’s paper on morphogenesis
  • if you are a mathematics student in France, you should go to the Forum Emploi Math next week.

Peacock dance display, by Marco Verch on flickr