This is fantastic news: starting this January, the Simons Foundation will provide the Cornell University Library with up to US $300k per year (for the next five years) of matching funds to help ensure the continued sustainability of arXiv.org. The funds are matched to donations by about 120 institutions in a dozen countries that are well funded and are heavy downloaders of articles from the arXiv. It is also providing an unconditional gift of $50k per year. Here’s the press release from the CUL.
I think it is pretty remarkable how an institution like the arXiv, which every reader of this blog will agree is absolutely indispensable for research, has struggled to make ends meet. This is especially true given that the amount of money it takes to keep it going is really just a drop in the bucket compared to other spending. Look at some of the numbers: in the last year alone, there were more than 50 million downloads worldwide and more than 76,000 articles submitted. To have open access to that kind of information for a total cost of about $1m per year? Priceless.