What is THOR?

If you haven’t heard about the THOR project, you’re missing out on a lot of changes in the open scientific community and the forces that drive these changes forward. THOR is a 30-month project funded by the European Commission. Its purpose is to establish seamless integration between articles, data, and researchers across the research lifecycle. This will create a wealth of open resources and foster a sustainable international e-infrastructure. THOR started this June and its goal is to improve the interconnection of the existent persistent identifiers so that a researcher will not have the need for multiple persistent identifiers that provide information only for a part of his research. Moreover, it aims to form economies of scale, enrich existing research services, and create opportunities for innovative solutions throughout the lifecycle of scientific research projects.

How does THOR work?

THOR’s main goal is to create sustainable services, not just prototypes or proofs of concept. These services will be built to be accessible to all researchers, no matter which discipline, institution or country they work in. The INSPIRE team at CERN, along with DataCite and ORCID, will collaborate with the British Library, EMBL, DRYAD, ANDS, PLOS, Pangaea and ELSEVIER, organisations and publishers from a variety of scientific fields.

All of THOR’s initiatives revolve around the following set of actions and proposals:

  • The leverage of two community-driven global persistent identifier (PID) initiatives for contributors (ORCID profiles) and scientific data artifacts (DOIs through DataCite) to build tools to serve the evolving needs of the research community
  • Deliver PID-based services to submit, identify, attribute, and cite artefacts, starting with four disciplinary communities: Biological and Medical sciences, Environmental and Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences and the Humanities
  • Create PID integration and interoperability solutions for research institutions, libraries, data centers, publishers, and research funders
  • Enhance the expertise of the European research community by running an intensive training program, and creating a knowledge base for practitioners integrating PIDs into research information systems.


Because of the nature of the community and the existing infrastructure that INSPIRE has built over the years, it is one of the most significant THOR project partners. INSPIRE’s database and author profiles are perfect candidates for the integration of the two PID-based services mentioned, ORCID and DataCite, which present a way to create a bidirectional connection with other scientific communities and repositories. These kinds of features improve the workflow of the users of INSPIRE by building seamless connections to other services such as HepData, which connects the author’s research papers with the corresponding data, and more importantly promote a new era of “open-access”-friendly scientific information services.

If you are interested in project THOR and/or have questions about the actions it promotes, feel free to contact us at [email-address], follow project THOR on Twitter, or leave your comments below.

In 2010 we moved the Jobs Collection from SPIRES to INSPIRE; 5 years later, this collection is one of the most visited and active on INSPIRE. Here are some statistics to illustrate how important the “Jobs Collection” appears to be to you.

Figure 1: Job posts through the last years

As you can see in Figure 1, the number of jobs that were posted in INSPIRE has increased a lot during the last 3 years. This is happening thanks to our colleagues’ efforts to scan all of the HR sections of the official webpages of the world’s scientific labs and universities to include related job postings. To make it easier for you to find the best job suited for you, we offer you compact and summarized information through features such as the job matrix.

Figure 2: Clicks on the Job Collection

In Figure 2, we notice that the use of the Jobs Collection continues to increase throughout the years and follows specific patterns. We can observe a seasonal growth of the traffic every fall, along with a general yearly 13% growth in traffic from 2013 to 2015. This only means for us that the service is an essential part of the scientific community’s workflow, a page that stays bookmarked for our users and is strongly connected to your quest for new opportunities and objectives. Our goal is to to serve the scientific community, so we will continue to gather more sources and to extend the coverage of this collection.

After analyzing this data, another interesting point that comes up is the scientific fields and the position levels that are offered through INSPIRE. In Figure 3 and 4 you can see the distribution of the offered positions, based on the field of physics and position level. As you can see, while INSPIRE is mostly useful for the HEP community, you can also find postings from many other fields of physics such as astro-ph. You find such job postings in an organized fashion by browsing the Job Matrix.

Figure 3: Positions offered through INSPIRE in different fields of physics

Figure 4: Positions offered through INSPIRE in different employee levels

Finally, it is very interesting to track the breathing cycle of academia (Figure 5). Even if there were some slight changes through the years, we can notice that almost every year during September, October and November,the number of Job posts increases. Keep that in mind when you consider starting your job hunt.

Figure 5: Job posting per month through the last years

We hope that we’ve cleared up some things concerning the Jobs section. We wish the best of luck for all of you who are currently seeking a job. For further information do not hesitate to contact us at jobs@inspirehep.net.

INSPIRE cares for its community and always tries to find the best ways to address people’s academic and research needs.
“Jobs” is a very important collection because it provides a solution both for Institutions who are searching for new staff and for people who are searching for a job.

How to post Job openings on INSPIRE

If you have openings for positions in High Energy Physics and related fields, you can post your vacancies on INSPIRE. This is a quick and easy procedure. For students, postdoc, junior, senior, temporary and staff positions in the general field of physics, INSPIRE is a great place to search for candidates.

If you want to post a job, go to INSPIRE Jobs and “Add a posting” (Fig.1).

Figure 1: Add a job posting on INSPIRE

The next step is to fill out a form (Fig.2) that will provide us with all the necessary information about the job you want to post on INSPIRE. This form will help you specify your exact needs for an employee and inform people of all the required qualifications. Not all fields are mandatory; however, the more information you provide, the easier it will be for people to find the posting and for you to attract more applications.

Figure 2: Form for Job Vacancies

Finally, after submitting your job, a confirmation message will be sent for your submission. You cannot spot the job you submitted immediately, as it will be visible only after being approved by our staff. When this procedure is completed you will receive an e-mail, so make sure to provide a valid email address.

How to search for a Job in INSPIRE

If you are interested in searching for a job or studentship in physics, we have implemented a search algorithm that will help you find the right job for you. You can refine your search by level of the job, (junior, senior, phd, etc.), region (Europe, Asia, etc.) and field (astro-ph, cond-mat, physics, etc.) as you can see in Fig.3.

Figure 3: HEPJobs search

With the Job Matrix (Fig.5), you can see how many positions exist at the moment that match your specifications and start applying. You can stay updated for new vacancies by subscribing to the RSS feed or by signing up to our mailing lists, which you can find at the bottom of the result pages or at the orange box (Fig:4).

Figure 4: Subscribe to RSS feed

Figure 5: Job Matrix

If you found this blog post interesting, stay tuned with our blog and twitter to read our next blog post about the importance of the “Jobs” collection to INSPIRE!

The INSPIRE Advisory Board counts eight experimental and theoretical physicists from participating laboratories and the community at large, plus the manager of INSPIRE’s sister service NASA Astrophysics Data System. The Board meets yearly, and the 2015 meeting took place at CERN on May 7. INSPIRE’s staff reviewed the team’s work during the previous year, and discussed with the Board the present challenges and the path ahead. The meeting of the Advisory Board is always a great opportunity for the INSPIRE team to reflect on last year’s achievements. After the meeting, we interviewed the chair of the advisory board, Michael E. Peskin, to hear his opinion on INSPIRE’s recent progress and its near future.

What is your impression of INSPIRE as an academic information service?

Michael E. Peskin. I have a long history with INSPIRE, I came to SLAC in 1982 and soon after that began interacting with the staff of the service. At that time it was the SPIRES information system, which I actually had used even before that. SPIRES first went online in the 1970s as a kind of terminal/command-line based service, where you hooked up on the internet, and put in some command-line statements that began with “q”, and out came a long list of bibliographic references. And this actually saved my life. In 1981. I was asked to give a review lecture at one of the big international conferences on composite models of quarks and leptons, a subject about which I knew very little. I put some queries into SPIRES, and out came reams of paper with 800 references, and I actually looked through most of them. Since then I have found it to be a very reliable service. It provides information on four high-energy physics areas (hep-th, hep-ph, hep-ex, hep-lat). It is as complete and correct as a bibliographic service can be. It is user-based so it is constantly being checked by all the users. It is multi-faceted, so it gives you direct keyword searching but also citation search. The citations are also used by people to construct stories about their careers. So that means that there is an incentive for people to very carefully check that all the links are correct and everything is provided. And actually citation searching is the most effective way of searching for any topic that you are not familiar with. The method is simple: you find a review paper, look at the papers that cite that review paper, and work your way back up the chain that presents itself. I have found this to be the most effective way of getting familiar with a scientific topic. But it requires that you have complete and detailed coverage of the field. INSPIRE has the level of coverage that is required.

What is your opinion about INSPIRE Labs?

M.P. There are some capabilities that I felt were much needed by INSPIRE. One of the strong motivations for the new framework of INSPIRE is the ability it gives for users to communicate back to the service. I think it is still true that, if you want to correct an error or add a reference, you fill a form or write an email, and then someone at INSPIRE has to parse that email, interpret it, and then take the correct action. This just wastes effort for everybody. The correct way to do this is to have a form submission that drives the user to enter information in the way that the database would like to receive it. Then it will be possible to act on user requests in just a few minutes. In that way we can build bibliographic entries, correct citations, give new citation links, and update the author pages and HEPNames data. I believe this is really the way the user input to the service really should work. And it is not only cool to provide such a service, but it is also a method that makes it much easier to maintain the integrity of the database with limited resources.

As part of INSPIRE Labs we are trying to test new features. What do you think should come next apart from the submission form?

M.P. The other part that really matters is the back end of the new framework. This gives the curators more effective tools to examine records. Eventually INSPIRE will incorporate machine learning to suggest changes in the records and, eventually, to fix things automatically. This also deserves a high priority. Besides that, everyone wants more effective searching.

How satisfied are you with INSPIRE’s operational improvements since the last 5 years?

M.P. Before the transition from SPIRES to INSPIRE, the old search engine had difficulty with the steadily increasing size and complexity of the database. Five years ago, the system was breaking down during periods of stress. Things have come a long way since then. You can still see some glitches but it is very rare that you see a serious problem.

And what about the content?

M.P. The content has increased, and this is amazing. A recent trend, aligned with the increased interest in our community in dark matter and dark energy, has been the expansion of the coverage of astrophysics. This is still an issue energetically discussed with the Advisory Board. Another trend has been the incorporation of informal public notes from the large collaborations, such as the CMS Physics Analysis Summaries. These often contain more information than the journal papers based on them and ought to be found in general INSPIRE searches. In any case, it is amazing how deep coverage of the different subjects have grown.

Which do you believe are the weakest areas of INSPIRE that should be improved?

M.P. I’ll give you two different answers: From the point of view of someone doing casual searching and trying to find a particular article or review, the size and coverage of the collection is very important. It is important to include the informal literature, as I have already noted. But, also, I use INSPIRE when I write evaluation letters for grant proposals or for appointments. I want to look everything a certain person has done,. People applying for positions or gants would like to have their personal records clear and easy to obtain. For that you need unique author identification, which is a big project. This is especially a problem for people from Asia. Recently I wrote an evaluation letter for a friend of mine born in China who has a very common last name. You cannot expect to simply put in his name and not get reams of garbage. INSPIRE gives authors the capability to claim papers and edit their profiles on their HEPnames page. He had not done that exercise, at least not recently. This led to his publications being mixed up with the publications of many other persons with that same name. The process of cleaning one’s personal record, and of identifying authors and citations has always been somewhat tedious. I hope that, with INSPIRE Labs and its new features, this problem will be reduced.

And, last question, in which direction do you see INSPIRE’s future heading towards?

M.P. I think the big question is, “Can we make machine learning algorithms sufficiently powerful that they can take over almost all of the burden from human curators?” The thing that makes INSPIRE so powerful right now, is that we start from arXiv, where authors type in the essential bibliographic information for their papers. But, still, people are human, and sometimes this information is ambiguous or incomplete, so we need to check it against other resources. Since this input is essentially imperfect, a lot of the effort must go into improving this stream of information so it can be used reliably by the academic community. There are not so many people that are willing to work as curators, but there is a lot of data in machine memory that with correct manipulation could revolutionize the way in which information is organized and managed. We are not there yet, in INSPIRE, Google, or any other service, but the situation continually improves.

INSPIRE has already brought a new way of accessing scientific resources. Today, journals are mainly used for historical data and publications. Papers from the 1980’s are still important, and they are accessed through journals. But a paper written in the past couple of years was probably issued as an eprint on arXiv. As an author, you don’t want to wait months for a journal to publish it, in order to make it public. As a reader, you want to find this in a literature search the day after it hits the internet.

But now we would like to go beyond the paper as a means of communication. I have already mentioned the fact that INSPIRE is now indexing public notes from large experimental collaborations that amplify the discussion in their papers. The next step is to provide numerical backup to these and other papers – digitizations of figures and even data sets on which the analysis is based. These data sets would not be the whole Petabyte data sets of the LHC experiments, but they could be considerably more than simple tables and lists of a few high-significance events. People who want to play with publicly released data will, more and more, be able to find it. If you write a paper based on a data set, you ought to cite the data. INSPIRE is now making it possible to index data sets directly, to provide citations for them, and to have links to the data sets appear in relevant searches.

These are two are the main directions in which INSPIRE should be reaching. High-energy physics is quite far in front of other fields when it comes to scientific information services. Being on the edge benefits us in our research, and I hope that we can stay in the front as this edge moves outward.

Personal names are neither unique nor permanent. You can write or transcribe them in different ways. You can get married and change your family name. You can even find colleagues in HEP with the same name, e.g. John Smith. What happens when the John Smith you are looking for writes a paper? How do you tell him apart from his namesakes and find his articles? And does that article written by J.C.Smith in 1993 on [Nuclear Physics Revolution], belong to your colleague John, or Jim C. from Stanford?  This is something INSPIRE has been working on for a long time. We introduced INSPIRE IDs to uniquely establish your identity in our HEPNames database and more recently Author Publication Profiles, such as J.Q.Physicist.1 to collect all your papers together. But this is only for HEP, what about the wider world? Publishers introduced their own identification systems, so you probably have noticed that you have ended up with many IDs that describe your academic publications and CVs. These disparate identifier systems suffer from only partial coverage of a researcher’s corpus and interoperability issues.ORCID to the rescue!

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a non-profit organization supported by a global community of organizational members, including research organizations, publishers, funders, professional associations, and other stakeholders in the research ecosystem which  has developed a unique researcher identifier that distinguishes you from other researchers. ORCID ID can hold a record of all your research activities, variants of your name, affiliations, etc. You can also use it for manuscript submissions to most of the major publishers.

It helps you centralize your information and sign your work unambiguously, no matter how your personal details, affiliations or field of work change. It is also an invaluable tool to track impact and grant credit to authors. It is a single identifier that follows you throughout your career. Having an ORCID ID gives your professional circle the ability to see your publications and your work experience. To sum up, ORCID can provide you a detailed professional record, something that can be a very useful tool for researchers that want to keep their publications and research in the spotlight. Moreover, some of the biggest research libraries as INSPIRE are collaborating with ORCID, to offer one unique and widely accepted ID.

How does ORCID work?

To begin with, an ORCID ID is a unique 16-digit code (e.g.0000-0002-5769-7094), given to you upon the registration of your ORCID account. After registering you can manage all your information from your profile page. You can add as many details as you want and set the level of privacy you desire for the information you enter (public, limited, or private).

Fig 1: ORCID profile page

What makes ORCID special is its ability to synchronize content with other platforms and services. That means that you spend less time (re)entering data and have more time available to conduct research. At this time, well-known services collaborating with ORCID are Scopus, Nature, APS, Faculty of 1000. In case you are wondering what your publication page would look like in ORCID let’s have a look at a typical example in Fig. 2. You can also see that this person has connected  his ORCID with ResearcherID and Scopus:

Fig 2: ORCID publication page

If you are interested in creating your own ORCID, just click here.

INSPIRE has been working on some exciting new features! Publications are leading to their respective authors  but with help from ORCID, INSPIRE is going to be sure about the author’s identity and the procedure to claim your own publications will become easier.

Keep an eye on the INSPIRE-HEP blog and twitter for our next blog post, to better understand ORCID’s significance and use for INSPIRE and INSPIRE Labs!



As you might have read in our previous blog post, the new INSPIRE Labs website is the place where we will deploy and let you test new features.

Let us show you one of our new features: check out the Suggestion Forms on Labs!

Do you know about any publication (articles, proceedings, thesis) that is not on INSPIRE but could be an interesting addition? You can help us by letting us know about it via our new suggestion form. We will be happy to review it and include the content as soon as possible if it falls within our collection policy.


Fig 1: Submit publications automatically

To make it simple, we included an automatic import tool (Fig. 1). If you enter an arXiv number and/or a DOI to the form, INSPIRE Labs will automatically pre-fill as much publication information as possible.

You can also fill out or complete it manually (Fig. 2). Only a few fields are mandatory, but the more information you provide us, the more useful it would be for the readers. It is particularly important that the Author fields contain all the co-authors who wrote the publication, with each name in a separate input field, one on each line.

Fig 2: Submit publications manually

All the suggestions received will be reviewed by our team manually, to verify the content and complete the information following INSPIRE standards. This procedure can take a few days. Once the submission is approved, you will receive a confirmation e-mail and it will appear automatically in INSPIRE as a temporary record that will probably get further curation afterwards. Moreover, please do not worry if some processes like reference extraction and indexing may take some time.

You can find more information about how to use our suggestion form in our Help page.

We hope that you will find this new feature useful. As always, we are waiting for your feedback. You can send us an e-mail or try out the new Send Feedback widget on the right side of every INSPIRE Labs page. Let us know what you think about our new forms!

What is INSPIRE Labs and why are we creating this platform?

INSPIRE Labs will be a new place where you can test new features and interact with our team of programmers and designers through various methods of feedback so that the finished result will be as close as possible to your needs and expectations. INSPIRE Labs is not a replacement for INSPIRE, but is used as an incubator for features and suggestions that might help the community to evolve its current tools and workflow. With a modern look and responsive design, INSPIRE Labs is going to facilitate your everyday academic, HEP related activities.

Figure 1: INSPIRE Labs logo

What we are currently working on  

INSPIRE Labs uses new technologies to build advanced features and intuitive interfaces in order to provide you with a better and faster service. The first feature that will be introduced is the suggestion form that will help you suggest publications easily and effectively, suggestions that could be included to INSPIRE. You will find more information and tips in our next blog post! Another part of this effort is a fresh redesign and revisit of INSPIRE’s services as individual blocks of a single information architecture. Our core collections will stay the same, with one significant addition though the data collection, which will provide you a centralised search point to find data sets, software and other supporting material.

And there are plenty more things to come…

In the near future, you will see more and more features appear in Labs! You can expect visually and functionally upgraded versions of some of the already known features of INSPIRE as part of this effort. We will make changes to evolve the interface and functionality of one of the most basic aspects of INSPIRE, the search tool! Our main goal is to improve the look and the functionality, so that you can search better and faster in the future.

However, your feedback is vital in this process. We have developed an easy to find feedback button at the right side of INSPIRE Labs. Feedback is easier than ever!

Do not hesitate to share with us all of your ideas and concerns. Let’s try to bring INSPIRE closer to your needs. Stay up to date for sneak peaks on new features and other news on our blog and twitter and don’t forget to check our blog next week to find out more about our new suggestion form!

We know you appreciate searching based on citations, so let us provide you with some handy search tips to make use of INSPIRE’s functionality:

With the search term “topcite” you can search by citation count, like papers with a given number of citations or within a range such as “100->500″ (just be careful not to include any blank spaces) or you can use another popular  range, “100+”, instead. For example, you can search for publications authored by Bando with 100 to 500 citations using “find a bando and topcite 100->500”  

Using “find c” you can search on the number of citations from papers in INSPIRE to an article, even if the article itself is not part of INSPIRE. To search for all the papers citing a certain Physics Review Letters publication you would use “find c Phys.Rev.Lett.,28,1421”.

The search term “refersto” can be very helpful if you are looking for articles that refer to other sets of articles. If you want papers that reference articles of a particular journal (e.g. Phys.Rev.Lett) you can type “find refersto j Phys.Rev.Lett.”. The same applies to other sets, for example, to search all the articles that reference the ATLAS Collaboration you could use “find refersto cn ATLAS“.

Another interesting term is “citedby”. With citedby, you can find all the publications that were cited by a certain set of articles or by specific authors, e.g. by searching “find citedby a maldacena”, you can find all the publications that Maldacena has cited.

An additional search syntax: How to search with INVENIO

At this point we should mention that INSPIRE also supports an alternative search syntax that you could find more convenient depending on your preferences. You can find all of the examples that were used previously in both search  in the table below.

topcite find a bando and topcite 100->500 author:bando and cited:100->500
find c find c Phys.Rev.Lett.,28,1421 reference:Phys.Rev.Lett.,28,1421
refersto find refersto j Phys.Rev.Let refersto: journal: Phys.Rev.Lett
citedby find citedby a maldacena citedby: author: maldacena


And what about “self-cited”?

In our previous blog post, we explained how to use the self-cite search syntax. It is time to clarify what the self-cited really is so that you can fully understand the potential of self-cited.

Many times authors of scientific papers use their previous publications as a basis for expanding on their research. When an author cites his/her own past publications in a paper, these publications are referred to as “self-cited” in INSPIRE.

Keep in mind that self-citations are gathered only from the papers in our database that have reference lists and they apply to all the (co-)authors involved, citing and cited.

For example, there is this article  written by a 4 researchers and some of the writers decided to make a reference to it in their future publications. So this publication is included in the citations section as self-cited. Keep in mind that if a paper has more than one authors, then self citation is any citing paper written by any of these authors. If you want to remove self-cited from your INSPIRE queries, check our previous post on how you can combine the syntax to obtain the exact results you are looking for.

Let us know what you think in the comments below or send us an e-mail to feedback@inspirehep.net  with your comments and suggestions!

For more helpful tips and information about our features follow INSPIRE’s blog and tweets.

Citation metrics are one of the most used features on INSPIRE. We are always looking for ways to enhance the options to search through citations and references.
We introduced three new search terms you can use to refine your search results and exclude self citations:

Note that ‘M.E.Peskin.1’ is an authorID.

If you have more requests for search syntax that might make your life easier, take a look at our search guide and tips and don’t hesitate to contact us at feedback@inspirehep.net

For more helpful tips and information about our features follow INSPIRE’s blog and tweets.

In the world of topcited papers, 2014 looked a lot like 2013 and not just because the Review of Particle Physics is once again at the top. The effects of 2012’s discovery of the Higgs boson continued to be strongly felt and many of the related papers from the 2013 topcite list appeared again in more or less the same position. Along with the discovery papers themselves [1,2], the original theory papers [34,35] and the detector description papers [17,19], a host of papers relevant to event simulation at the LHC [4,7,9,12,14,20,22,28,31] have featured prominently; interestingly, the PYTHIA paper [4] is now the first paper from the 2000s in the All Time Topcite list. The AdS/CFT papers [5,10,16] and Randall-Sundrum [26] continue their 15+ year run on the Topcite list. Planck [3], WMAP [11,24] and the 1998 supernova cosmology papers [13,15] again represent observational cosmology on the list.

So what was new this year? The March announcement [6] by BICEP2 of the results of a search for inflationary gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background had an immediate impact and the paper had 100 citations within two weeks and 500 by July. This got people thinking about inflation and brought back a number of inflation papers from the 1980s to the topcite list [23,29,36,37] in addition to Guth’s perennial paper [21], which climbed twelve places in the rankings, and the Planck inflation paper [8], which climbed twenty one.

The remaining inductees were the October 2013 LUX constraints on dark matter paper [18] (that joined the similar XENON100 paper [27]) and the March 2013 Planck overview paper [38].

Rounding out the list were the electron antineutrino disappearance papers [30,33], Hawking’s black hole radiation paper [25], the dark energy review of Copeland et al. [32] and Minkowski’s sleeping beauty [39].



-Heath O’Connell