Friday, July 28, 2006

Catching up with arXiv.org

I'm trying to catch up with all the papers posted this week to arXiv.org, and I was reminded of this discussion over at Nanoscale Views (Apparently he's from Mars, which, I suppose means the rest of us physics bloggers are from Venus?).

So many papers get published you can't read them all. What are my criteria?


  • Does the paper discuss topics I've researched?
  • Does the paper discuss work I might be able to followup on, or get into myself?
  • Is the paper by someone in my field (even if it is of no real interest, I want to know what close peers are working on)?


Not too many papers get selected by the above, so it's a good screen. What's left then whether the paper deals with on an interesting topic or an interesting result, but that can be hard to tell just looking quickly at the title and abstract, so I also look at the author. And here, all the ugly, but arguably necessary, prejudices come into play.

3 comments:

Doug Natelson said...

Ok - admittedly I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes, but why am I apparently from Mars?

FWIW, I do a similar filter as you. On things like the arxiv or vjnano, my first internal question is, is this something that I care about or know something about? If the answer is no, I move on.

Angry said...

The comments call you a Martian:

Congratulations for keeping this blog, a lone condensed matter voice in the pervasive noisy HEP/cosmo background. A Martian trying to work out what 'physics' meant from blogs might never realize that here on earth the majority of us are actually interested in things that can easily be measured in a lab.

Doug Natelson said...

Ahh. I think the idea in the comment is that if someone totally unfamiliar with what "physics" means (such as an alien) tried to deduce the meaning of the term from blog postings, they'd never realize that most physicists are not string theorists.