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2016 Chinese Institutional Repository Conference

Jim Entwood

On September 21, 22 & 23 I represented arXiv at the 2016 Chinese Institutional Repository Conference at Chongqing University. China’s use of arXiv is rapidly growing; they are now 2nd to the US in terms of arXiv site traffic. This was a great chance to meet with librarians from Chinese Universities as well as from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to give an update on arXiv and discuss potential collaborations.

Among the presenters there were many common threads: the desire to reduce library costs; motivating researchers to post to repositories; interoperability; standardizing meta-data; various software options used among different institutions and challenges to keep software updated. One of my favorite talks was by Dr Alan Ku who focused on the psychology of the repository and the libraries ability to engage researchers. The three main ways to get researchers to use repositories he said was with a pistol, money, or education. However the librarians do not have pistols. Nor do they have money to offer the researchers. Education he pointed out takes a long time. Alan emphasized the importance of training data librarians that can find ways to connect with researchers on the meaning and value of the repositories. I also learned a great deal from the other invited speakers about open access, metadata harvesting, research data management, and IR approaches in other countries that have more centralized approach than the US.

With regard to arXiv I had assumed everybody in the audience was familiar with what arXiv was and so my talk focused more on updates, future plans, statistics, and behind the scenes operations rather than giving a clear definition and overview. Most of the speakers referred to arXiv during their presentations including those that were given in Chinese. However based on a couple of the questions there is still a need to clarify what arXiv is, the role it can play as a tool for these libraries, and the distinction between arXiv as an international resource versus Cornell’s own institutional repository. Fortunately the conference organizers had prepared a beautiful 100 page brochure about arXiv that was translated into Chinese and handed out to all the 300+ attendees. After my talk I met with the Chinese arXiv service group and had some interesting discussions about quality control of articles, outreach to researchers, the emergence of various “Xiv”s, and how libraries can support arXiv.

The food provided by the conference hosts featured local cuisine called a ‘hot pot’ which features a central bubbling vat of intensely spicy broth full of peppers. Around this we were served a variety of options that you cook yourself in the hot pot before eating so that you can vary the time and intensity (at least somewhat). The vegetables, tofu, and fish was excellent. I was not as adventurous as the others with the duck intestine and chicken feet. One of the invited guests accidentally bit into a hot pepper and had his tongue go numb for the rest of the day.

A personal account of the trip with additional photos is at: 


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