Automating the Horae: Boundary-work in the age of computers

Author : Luis Reyes-Galindo

This paper describes the intense software filtering that has allowed the arXiv eprint repository to sort and process large numbers of submissions with minimal human intervention, making it one of the most important and influential cases of open access repositories to date.

The paper narrates arXiv’s transformation, using sophisticated sorting-filtering algorithms to decrease human workload, from a small mailing list used by a few hundred researchers to a site that processes thousands of papers per month.

However there are significant negative consequences for authors who have been filtered out of the main categories. There is thus a continued need to check and balance arXiv’s boundaries, based in the essential tension between stability and innovation.