spobooks5621225.0001.001 in

    2.9 New forms of scholarly communication

    A popular destination on the AT&T Labs - Research Web server is my colleague Neil Sloane's On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, accessible from his home page, at http://www.research.att.com/~njas/. In January 2000, it attracted more than 6% of all the hits to the AT&T Labs - Research site. This "encyclopedia" is a novel combination of a database, software, and now also a new online journal. The integer sequence project enables people to find out what the next element is in a sequence such as

    0, 1, 8, 78, 944, 13800, 237432, ...

    This might seem like recreational mathematics, but it is very serious, as many research papers acknowledge the assistance of Sloane's database or, in earlier times, his books on this subject. It serves to tie mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists. chemists, and engineers together, and stimulate further research.[15] It represents a novel form of communication that could not be captured in print form.

    Table 2.4: Requests to Neil Sloane's sequence server.
    month requests hosts
    Jan. 1997 6,646 550*
    Jan. 1998 33,508 2,294
    Jan. 1999 58,655 3,996
    Jan. 2000 135,843 7,851
    Jan. 2001 222,795 11,105
    NOTE: *Hosts for 1997 estimated.

    Another popular site that is also a locus of mathematical activity is Steve Finch's "Favorite Mathematical Constants" page at http://www.mathcad.com/library/Constants/ . It also shows rapid growth in usage although one that is harder to quantify, since monitoring software was changed less than a year ago, so comparisons are harder to make. Just as with Sloane's integer sequence page, it is becoming a form of "portal" to mathematics, one that does not fit easily into traditional publications models.