The INSPIRE Advisory Board meets once a year to hear about progress in the services and feedback from the user community. We recently took stock of progress in our service, its hardware, software, and the new areas we are starting to focus on.
Our Advisory Board counts seven experimental and theoretical physicists from the participating laboratories and the community at large, plus the manager of our sister service NASA Astrophysics Data System. The 2014 meeting took place at Fermilab in May. INSPIRE staff from the five participating laboratories (CERN, DESY, IHEP, Fermilab and SLAC) presented to the Advisory Board an extensive overview of the team’s work during the previous year, along with current challenges and future directions. Among the topics were the organization of our service, the user feedback, the content selection and processing.
The meeting of the INSPIRE Advisory Board is a great opportunity for the INSPIRE team to reflect on the last year’s achievement. We are proud to share some highlights with our entire user community:
- We made extensive operational improvements to the INSPIRE infrastructure, including new hardware and architecture, major refactoring of the INSPIRE code base, and significant process improvements. While invisible to users, these improvements ensure continuing speed and reliability and allow us to prepare for future development.
- We mused about future directions for the design of INSPIRE and how to bring together our classic search experience with interaction design and modern web design standards, especially for new services such as author profiles and a more efficient submission of corrections and feedback.
- We realized how much effort we were able to devote to support open research data. In addition to helping make the ATLAS Higgs likelihood available in a citable way, we also started to link papers to code from GitHub, and integrated third-party data repositories.
- We reviewed all new content we have been adding to INSPIRE: daily upload of the LHC experimental notes CMS-PAS, ATLAS-CONF, and LHCb-CONF, increased coverage of nuclear physics, and the upload of the PDFs of approximately 10,000 relevant articles from Proceedings of Science, which are now searcheable.
- We invested additional resources to meet expectations of a timely update of references, authors, and other information of articles we receive from arXiv and beyond. Parts of this process are still manual. During the last year we cleared over 10,000 existing tasks. Our ongoing backlog is now around 1,500 tasks, the lowest in several years. It usually takes us between a day and less than a month to process these tasks.
- The meeting was an ideal opportunity to welcome IHEP as a new member of the INSPIRE collaboration.
The meeting was an enjoyable, lively exchange, providing lots of food for thought as INSPIRE moves forward.
During the course of our conversations, John Beacom, Advisory Board member, was “impressed with the significant efficiency gains for internal processes and author disambiguation, and strongly encourages further co-operation with ADS to improve coverage of astrophysics and cosmology.”
Our recent efforts in handling experimental data within INSPIRE are being appreciated by the Advisory Board. Kyle Cranmer remarked that “data and code are becoming increasingly important as research products, treating them as first class citizens within INSPIRE is an exciting new direction for the field.” Michelangelo Mangano was “impressed by the rapid response of the INSPIRE team to all suggestions from the community and the Advisory Board, and look[s] forward to continued progress in streamlining the access to the experimental data, also in cooperation with the HEPdata project.”
The INSPIRE Advisory Board is an invaluable source of insight and a trusted representative of the community we serve. Its input, together with the hundreds of e-mails and suggestions we receive from our community make sure that INSPIRE stays true to its course: to be an indispensable service for the High Energy Physics community worldwide.