In naming Paul Ginsparg, the selection committee cited him "for his paradigm-changing contributions to physics information sharing by inventing, developing and managing the arXiv system for electronic distribution of pre-publication (or preprint) papers. This system provides equitable world-wide access to the forefront of physics research activity, both pre- and post-publication in refereed journal, and has since been emulated by a number of other scientific fields".
"We are proud to present Paul Ginsparg with the 2020 Karl T. Compton Medal for Leadership in Physics", stated Michael Moloney, chief executive officer of AIP. "Dr. Ginsparg's development of the arXiv has provided an invaluable resource to the physics community. As the first open-access preprint repository, the arXiv system has served as a model followed by many other research fields."
"Before the Mosaic web browser and before I even had an e-mail account, Prof. Ginsparg recognized the need to drag paper preprints into the digital age by creating arXiv", added David Helfand, chair of the AIP board of directors. "Open, global communication drives science forward. No longer is the broadcast of a lab's results hostage to its preprint budget, the number of envelope stuffers it employs or the limited distribution lists that result. The Compton Medal for statesmanship in science is an appropriate recognition of Prof. Ginsparg's paradigm-changing work to enhance scientific communication worldwide."
In 2020, Paul Ginsparg will receive the Compton Medal, a certificate of recognition and a check for $10.000.
Paul Ginsparg was born in Chicago. He received his bachelor of arts degree in physics from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his doctorate in theoretical particle physics from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he has been a professor of physics and information science since 2001.
Prior to returning to Cornell, Paul Ginsparg served in the Society of Fellows and as a faculty member at Harvard. From 1990 through 2001, he was a technical staff member in the theoretical division of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). It was at LANL that Paul Ginsparg started the arXiv - initially called the Los Alamos E-Print Archive - as a free and open repository of preprint articles in physics. It has since expanded to include articles in other related fields.
For his work on arXiv, Paul Ginsparg has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a MacArthur Fellow and a White House Champion of Change, among other fellowships and honours. He currently serves on arXiv's Scientific Advisory Board and Physics Advisory Committee.
Throughout his career, Paul Ginsparg's academic focus has been in the quantum sciences, most recently in quantum information and quantum computing. His current projects include studying the research applications of quantum computing to high energy physics as well as the impacts of machine learning on both quantum physics and information science.
"It's an incredible honour to have my name appear alongside a distinguished group of physicists, many of whom I've known, all of whom I've regarded as role models since early in my career", Paul Ginsparg stated.
Paul Ginsparg's development of arXiv began while he was a staff member at LANL. At the time, authors of research papers mailed photocopies of their preprint papers to a short list of colleagues. Anyone else that wished to see the paper likely had to wait for its official publication. This, according to Paul Ginsparg, led to unintentional unfairness in preprint distribution, as newer researchers or those at less elite institutions were often kept out of the loop. The Los Alamos E-Print Archive was a way to level the playing field.
After receiving its first submission August 14, 1991, the Los Alamos E-Print Archive experienced continued growth. By providing an online platform for papers before most journals had an internet presence, it allowed for the immediate widespread dissemination of work, on top of serving as a one-stop shop for researchers from diverse subfields.
When Paul Ginsparg moved from LANL to Cornell in 2001, the Los Alamos E-Print Archive, since renamed to arXiv, moved with him to be hosted by the Cornell University Library. Though he continues to maintain a level of involvement with the repository, it is now owned and operated by Cornell University and chiefly funded by the university and the Simons Foundation.
ArXiv remains the largest manuscript repository of its type. It surpassed 1 million submissions in 2014, and its submission rate has increased by 40% in the past three years to include more than 155.000 new submissions received in 2019.