Fri 24 Jan 2020 6:15PM

Leaving COS

TN Tom Narock Public Seen by 93

As you may know, the Center for Open Science (COS) recently launched a new funding model to support their preprint initiatives. While we understand it costs money to keep preprints operational, the Advisory Council felt the new model was unsustainable and counter to the ethos of EarthArXiv. The Advisory Council has voted to discontinue using COS as the hosting platform for EarthArXiv. Many other communities have chosen to do the same. We are currently exploring alternative hosting options.

This thread is to allow everyone to view the letter we sent to COS, whichis available at https://eartharxiv.github.io/cos.html and to discuss this transition of EarthArXiv.


Victor Venema Fri 24 Jan 2020 6:32PM

Good. A very diplomatic letter. I found it impossible that COS lured us into a free services and then once locked in started asking for moon prices.

From building up a new peer review system, I have some experience with webhosting and WordPress programming. If those skills are useful do let me know.


Christopher Jackson Fri 24 Jan 2020 8:53PM

Agreed. Nicely phrased. I'm keeping an eye on the socials to see what, if any, reaction there is to this. Whether people think this is the end for EarthArXiv/preprints, or simply an evolutionary step we can take advantage of.


Christopher Jackson Fri 24 Jan 2020 8:19PM

Thanks Tom/All,

It’s already been tweeted about a couple of times, so I guess we may as well get involved in the discussion…


Professor Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson (he/him)

Equinor Professor of Basin Analysis

Basins Research Group (BRG ( http://www.basinsresearchgroup.com/ ))

Department of Earth Science & Engineering

Imperial College

Prince Consort Road




Email: c.jackson@imperial.ac.uk ( c.jackson@imperial.ac.uk )

Web: www.imperial.ac.uk/people/c.jackson ( http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/c.jackson )

Twitter: @seis_matters

Co-founder of EarthArXiv ( https://eartharxiv.org/ ), a preprint server and postprint archive for the Earth Sciences

My working day may not be your working day. Please do not feel obliged to reply to this email outside of your normal working hours.


David Sun 26 Jan 2020 1:39PM

Hi all,

Very nice, soft letter. After it was published in GitHub, we received some tweets commenting on it. So, I eventually thought it was important to take a proactive approach, and show it openly via twitter to inform our followers.

It is nice to see that our community is highly involved and eager to help and share their thoughts. We have now been approached by Figshare via a private message and some followers have come forward with some options on where we could continue hosting preprints. Would it be an idea to forward these ideas and messages to Tnarok for collection?

I believe it is important to move forward with posting several continuous tweets were we positively present the moving to another host and diminish any ambiguity and hesitation amongst our followers.

Do you think this the sensible way forward? Please, let me know your thoughts.

Have a good rest of the weekend,



Jamie Farquharson Mon 27 Jan 2020 1:03PM

I think it would be helpful to collate these messages, just to give us ideas moving forward


Jon Mound Mon 27 Jan 2020 4:07PM

I agree on the need for continued messaging about what the change in hosting means for people thinking of submitting (or that have submitted) to EarthArXiv. The re-hosting raises a bunch of questions, particularly if someone is already worried about the legitimacy of preprints (e.g. does this mean that preprints are going to disappear during the move? what about links to supplemental materials? will updating of old preprints with new versions after re-hosting be possible or will "ownership" be lost? is EarthArXiv going to keep re-hosting every couple of years? and basically is it a "safe" place for long-term sharing of work?). There might not be answers to all possible questions, but being proactive in anticipating, soliciting and answering questions might be helpful.


Victor Venema Mon 27 Jan 2020 4:46PM

The preprints have a doi, so also when the URL of the preprints changes the links are not dead.

If we move the existing preprints to another platform it will be hard to keep it possible to update them. At least doing that automatically would require an identity check with COS to ensure someone has the right to update. We do not have that many preprints yet and the number to be updated is smaller, so a moderator could also approve newer versions.

I would personally argue that COS offering a preprint service has the duty to keep on hosting the existing preprints (and any updates of them).


Tom Narock Mon 27 Jan 2020 3:43PM

I agree. I'm going to start a new Loomio thread to collate all our options. Feel free to post there or forward to me and I'll upload it to Loomio.


Tom Narock Wed 29 Jan 2020 4:25PM

I received a follow up email from the Nature reporter. There's a request to clarify points we made in our letter to COS. Here's exactly what they'd like to know:

  • Why did the EarthArXiv leadership find the COS funding model problematic?

  • Could you elaborate on how the fee structure proposed by COS hinders growing servers?

  • Which preprint groups would be most damaged by the fee structure and why?

  • Did Eartharxiv try to raise the funds requested by the COS?

  • Did the COS decision to change its funding model come at a surprise?

  • How do you propose that the costs of running a preprint are covered?

  • What has the response been among the Eartharxiv community to the announcement?

How does everyone feel about replying? Is answering these questions going against our original decision to not comment? Do you think I should reply? Should we start a Google Doc and collectively work through the replies?


Bruce Caron Wed 29 Jan 2020 4:36PM

We don't have any obligation to answer these questions. You could say we are not commenting further at this point. We are still working with COS on the 6 month extension.


Christopher Jackson Wed 29 Jan 2020 5:55PM

Agree. I think we’ll be in a better place to respond when we’ve secured a way forward.

Professor Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson
Equinor Professor of Basin Analysis
Basins Research Group (BRG)
Department of Earth Science & Engineering
Imperial College
Prince Consort Road

Email: c.jackson@imperial.ac.uk
Web: www.imperial.ac.uk/c.jackson

Twitter: @seis_matters

Co-founder of EarthArXiv, a preprint server for the Earth Sciences


Daniel Ibarra Thu 30 Jan 2020 5:05AM

Agree, I think we shouldn't reply until we hear from COS


Allison Enright Thu 30 Jan 2020 3:27PM

In agreement with @Bruce Caron , @Christopher Jackson and @Daniel Ibarra. I don't see how commenting on this Nature Piece helps EarthArXiv, and it could easily be viewed as a public attack on COS. Until we're sure of our next steps, not responding is a better strategy.


Domenico Chiarella Fri 31 Jan 2020 5:44PM

Hi, I would like to raise an additional point to be considered for the new EarthArXiv host. It would be good to ask to the potential alternative options what is their policy in terms of privacy. Every time we access and deal with a website, social media etc. we release a piece of information and we dont know how they will use (sell?) it in the future. It could be the case, that in the next future, Governamental organisations will use big data to select and fund specific research topics instead of others. Sorry, if you see this point out of the topic, I have just been involved in this discussion and my view might be wrongly influenced :). Thanks.