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May 31, 2004

ISI Adding Open Access Journals to Web of Science

:: Thomson ISI issued a press release in April, noting that of the 8,700 journals covered in Web of Science, 191 of them are open access titles.

Philadelphia, PA USA-London UK April 15, 2004—Today, Thomson ISI, a business of The Thomson Corporation, announced that journals published in the new Open Access (OA) model are beginning to register impact in the world of scholarly research. A significant number of Open Access journals meet the Thomson ISI selection criteria, which ensures that only the highest-quality content is indexed.

Of the 8,700 selected journals currently covered in Web of Science®, 191 are OA journals. Though small in comparison to the total number of journals indexed in Web of Science, the number is quite significant in terms of the progress made by the OA movement. The Thomson ISI editorial staff reviews nearly 2,000 journals annually, but only 10-12% of the evaluated journals are accepted. The same established set of criteria that is applied to traditionally published journals is also applied to OA journals as part of the selection process.

Also available is The Impact of Open Access Journals - A Citation Study from ISI. (Thanks, George.)

May 28, 2004

Electrochemical Journals, AIP's Scitation, Cost-Effectiveness - Commentary by Dana Roth

:: Nearly 40 years ago, in my first library job, I overheard The Electrochemical Society (ECS) disparaged as a 'Neanderthal' society, which might explain the initial popularity of the commercially published Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry (JEC), Electrochimica Acta (ECA) and Journal of Power Sources (JPS). This characterization certainly hasn't been true for many years(1) and, with the 2003 annual costs of JEC (nearly $10K for less than 4K pages), ECA over $3.6K (for less than 4.4K pages) & JPS (over $3.3K for about 4500 pages), one is hard pressed not to ruminate on the cost/page data, for these commercially published journals, compared with the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES), which was priced at only $692 for about 5400 pages.

The transition of the electronic versions of the ECS research journals -- JES & Electrochemical and Solid State Letters (ESL)-- in 2004 to AIP's new Scitation publishing platform (formerly OJPS), is very welcome news(2). Scitation currently includes 110 journals from 18 STM publishers, providing both forward and backward reference linking from over 600,000 articles (growing at a rate of 6,000 per month). Journals can be browsed by title, publisher or subject category. A wide variety of features for individualization are available (e.g. MyTOCAlerts) and new features are scheduled for 2004. Keyword searching of SPIN + Scitation articles is available for library or personal subscribers, with keyword searching of Scitation abstracts freely available with registration. Scitation's publisher list currently includes the expected (e.g. AIP journals, etc.) as well as: APS, ASCE, ASME, ACS Geochem. Div., ECS, ICDD, Maik Nauka, SPIE, etc. Fulltext articles can be displayed, by subscribers, as PDFs, HTML or sectioned HTML.

The Scitation abstract record may also include both: 1) References, which are linked to: fulltext, arXiv, INSPEC, ISI, Medline, SPIN, ChemPort (which can provide a SFX link to library services), etc. and 2) Citing Articles. This reference linking feature is based on the 12M citations in the CrossREF database. Data from Scitation can be exported into bibliographic management software (EndNote, BibTEX/RevTEX, etc.) or directly into manuscripts.

Society publishers, such as those represented in Scitation, are a significant factor in the STM publishing community and are responsible for about 50% of all peer-reviewed journals (3). As is obvious, from the quick comparison of JES, ECA, JPS & JEC above, society and commercial publishers have significantly different business models. Freed of the necessity of returning dividends to stockholders, societies are generally only answerable to their members (who are generally also their authors, readers and subscribers, albeit indirectly thru their libraries).

Authors are desirous of publishing in the highest quality venue that is able to communicate their findings quickly and broadly. In the example below (which also includes the commercially published Electrochemistry Communications (ECC), it is worth comparing the 2002 ISI Impact Factors for JES(2.33), ECA(2.078), JEC(2.027) as well as ESL (2.505), and ECC (1.906). This assists in differentiating these journals on the basis of their relative cost-effectiveness, the normalized cost per article per ISI Impact Factor.

Journal
2002 Sub $
# articles
ISI Impact Factor
cost/article/IF
cost effectiveness
JES
$600
721
2.330
0.36
1.00
JPS
$3,073
475
1.777
3.64
10.11
ECA
$3,682
417
2.078
4.25
11.80
JEC
$8,428
416
2.027
10.00
27.78
ESL
$250
199
2.505
0.50
1
ECC
$249
191
1.906
1.18
2.36

Assuming that this Cost Effectiveness measure results in a meaningful comparison, The Electrochemical Society's flagship journal (JES) is over 27 times, nearly 12 times and over 10 times as cost effective, respectively, as its commercial counterparts (JEC, ECA & JPS). Similarly ESL is over twice as cost effective as ECC.

Given this comparison, which can be generalized both to other societies and other scientific fields, it is highly unfortunate that society publishers are being included with their commercial counterparts as contributors to library budget problems. In addition, the questionable suggestion that scientific research should be freely available ignores the essential contribution of publishers in providing mechanisms for peer-review and sustainable publication. Proposals for authors posting their articles on the WWW (self-archiving) or paying substantial charges for publication (Open Access journals) are problematic in the sense that these two approaches are highly unlikely to produce a critical mass. Peer-review, editing and formatting, distribution and archiving are serious concerns that should not be dismissed or ignored. - Dana Roth

1. Pennington Corner: 2003 .. Best Year Ever? Electrochem. Soc. Interface (2004), 13(1), 7.
http://www.electrochem.org/publications/interface/spring2004/IF3-04-Page7.pdf
2. Society News: New Features for ECS Online Journals [Scitation]. Electrochem. Soc. Interface (2004), 13(1), 11.
http://www.electrochem.org/publications/interface/spring2004/IF3-04-Pages10-14.pdf
3. Yess, Mary E., State of the Union: Publishing ECS Content. Electrochem. Soc. Interface (2004), 13(1), 15-16,52-53.
http://www.electrochem.org/publications/interface/spring2004/IF3-04-Pages15-16,52-53.pdf

SLA Website Down - Bad Timing

:: With one week until the annual SLA conference in Nashville, SLA's website is essentially non-functional for the next one-two days. The SLA Conference page is down, although registration is still functional. But all you can do is register for the conference, or add more paid events if you registered previously. Registrants cannot get access to their personal planners, and all the division and chapter sites are down. SLA is moving their headquarters from DC to Alexandria VA this weekend, which is why this is happening, but the timing couldn't be much worse.

May 26, 2004

When A Journal Ceases Publication - Commentary by George Porter

What happens when a journal ceases to produce new issues?

In the print environment, at least from the librarian/academician standpoint, the answer was perfectly clear -- no new issues arrived, but all received issues remain available until a collection management/space decision led to a conscious, locally determined change in that situation.

Local control over what happens to the material is a critical difference between the print and online environments. Online, authors, scholars, and libraries tend to be at the vendor's mercy, having no control the fate of the published archive.

Vendors have the unfortunate ability to conflate multiple titles and multiple ISSNs into a single web archive; i.e. Journal of Climate & Applied Meteorology, from the American Meteorological Society inhabits an archive with its successor, Journal of Applied Meteorology. Wiley is notorious for splitting titles and ignoring the rules for ISSN issuance. Whenever a journal changes title or splits into sections, from a cataloging/ISSN standpoint, multiple bibliographic records and ISSNs are required to track the changes. For instance, in 2003, Wiley split Journal of Experimental Zoology (JEZ) into JEZ A and JEZ B; however, Wiley insists that all 3 titles have the same ISSN, 0022-104X. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) goes further, insisting that the six sections of Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) are a single publication with ISSN 0148-0227. I've even seen the occasional conflation of multiple journals, not continuations of one another on the same web page. That won't/shouldn't happen in a library.

A title simply changing publishers is usually a nonevent to librarians and authors, but is a huge upheaval in the online publishing world. Catalogers will ensure that issues from one volume appear with issues of the succeeding volume. In the online environment, volumes may disappear, be transferred, have redirects, or a number of other variations which are yet to be discovered.

In the online environment the simple question, what happens to a journal...?, has a multitude of facets:

    * has the title merged or split to continue under a new title(s)
    * has the title changed
    * is the question being asked/answered by a librarian/academic or a publisher
    * has the title been transferred between publishers, thus possibly 'ceasing' from the point of view of the initial publisher
Here are a couple of examples to illustrate some, but certainly not all, of the ways in which a seemingly simple question is answered.

Nonlinear Science Today was published by Springer Verlag. The first three volumes appeared in print, 1992-1993. Volume 3 was the first volume of the title to appear in an electronic format. This was a pioneering position more than a decade ago. In 1994, the print run was discontinued, in favor of online only; initially via: http://link.springer-ny.com/link/service/journals/00333/

The journal struggled a bit. Volume 4 stretched four issues through 1994 and 1995. A single issue, comprising volume 6, appeared in 1996. At least, at this late date, that's the story I can piece together by examining Web of Science, MathSciNet and Ulrich's. No more issues appeared, but the existing content was freely available for several years. Ulrich's still has an active record for this title.

With the migration to the SpringerLink MetaPress platform in July 2003, the content vanished. The website vanished. No more content. Links to the online content, embedded in the MathSciNet indexing, are defunct. Springer has opted to take an Orwellian approach, acting as if the title never existed. The OpenURL syntax currently employed by Springer would yield a website that no longer exists. Springer's journal title list no longer acknowledges the former existence of the title. It's simply gone, without explanation, without a trace.

The Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) agreement to publish the online-only Geochemical Transactions, in partnership with the American Chemical Society Division of Geochemistry, recently ended. There is a new agreement for the journal to be distributed on the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) Scitation journal publishing platform .

Geochemical Transactions
Fulltext v1+ (2000+). Fulltext free through 1 June 2004
http://www.geochemicaltransactions.com/
Online ISSN: 1467-4866
RSC has opted to maintain the backfiles and website for the material which they published. The material is now freely available and is explicitly intended to stay that way.
Geochemical Transactions
Fulltext v1-4 (2000-2003)
http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/GT/Index.asp
Online ISSN: 1467-4866
Australian Journal of Physics was published by CSIRO Publishing, an autonomous business unit within Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The Australian Journal of Physics published its last issue, Vol. 53(6), in April 2001. CSIRO Publishing decided to open the backfiles for free access and has maintained their commitment for over three years now.
Australian Journal of Physics
Fulltext v50-53(6) (1997-April 2001). Ceased publication
http://www.publish.csiro.au/?nid=79&aid=69
ISSN: 0004-9506
ACM Letters on Programming Languages & Systems, not having been 'born digital', like the accessible volumes of the Australian Journal of Physics, is an entirely different case. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), recognizing the value placed on the stability and accessibility of the intellectual record, chose to digitize ACM Letters on Programming Languages & Systems when they created the ACM Digital Library. Access to this title, and the Digital Library, requires a subscription.
ACM Letters on Programming Languages & Systems
Fulltext v1-2 (1992-1993)
http://www.acm.org/pubs/contents/journals/loplas/
ISSN: 1057-4514
There are many different facets to this broad question in an online environment and many different answers exist in practice.

Authors, publishers, and librarians are philosophically united, I trust, on the value of the intellectual record. This is definitely broader than simply ceased journals, but the solutions, which address the broader issue, may have a dramatic impact on the narrower.

LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) just entered production in April 2004. The participating libraries are laudable and the list can be expected to continue to grow rapidly. The publisher community has some standout participants and some glaring holdouts.

Kudos:

    Annual Reviews
    Berkeley ElectronicPress
    BioMed Central
    Blackwell Publishers Ltd
    HighWire Press (and their contributors, including Oxford University Press)
    History Cooperative
    Institute of Physics
    Kluwer Academic Publishers
    Nature Publishing Group
    Project Muse
    Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
What publishers are not participating, and therefore placing online content at risk?

Wiley, Elsevier, IEEE, ACM, AIP, APS, the American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, AGU, Cambridge University Press, CSIRO, Taylor & Francis.

Time will tell if/when more publishers will discover enlightened self-interest. The prospects for growth in library participation are significant. I am less sanguine for the prospects of growth of publisher participation. - George Porter

May 25, 2004

Science.gov 2.0 Launches with New Relevance Ranking Technology

:: From Information Today, 25 May 2004:

Science.gov has served as the gateway to reliable information about science and technology from across Federal government organizations since its launch in December 2002. Now, the interagency alliance has launched Science.gov 2.0, hailing it the “next major step in government science information retrieval.” The new site offers additional content, technological enhancements, and a newly-developed relevancy ranking technology that helps patrons get to the best documents quickly. Science.gov 2.0 lets users search across 30 databases from 12 government science agencies (up from 10 agencies in version 1.0), as well as across 1,700 Web sites—that’s 47 million pages, with results presented in relevancy ranked order. (Article by Paula J Hane).

PNAS Introduces Open Access Publishing Option

May 24, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Bridget Coughlin, Managing Editor
202-334-1370, e-mail BCoughlin AT nas.edu

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) now offers an open access publishing option. PNAS authors may opt to pay a $1000 surcharge to make their articles available for free via PNAS Online (www.pnas.org) and PubMed Central (www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov) immediately upon publication. PNAS will offer this open access option as an experiment until December 31, 2005. PNAS will then continue to move toward an author-pays open access model, maintain the option in the same or modified form, or discontinue it. By introducing this option, PNAS strengthens its commitment to making the scientific literature more freely available than ever before, and hopes that its support of open access will encourage other scientific publishers to follow suit. PNAS will evaluate author participation and the financial impact of the open access option on PNAS revenue.

"The benefits to science of unfettered access to the literature are obvious," says Nicholas R. Cozzarelli, PNAS Editor-in-Chief. "Open access publishing offers the immediate release of scientific results to everyone without the delay and cost of obtaining research articles through journal subscriptions. The challenge of open access is how to pay for it. This is particularly important for PNAS, which operates as a nonprofit, break-even operation and does not maintain contingency funds or capital reserves. PNAS is starting by experimenting with an open access option for authors. It is a compromise between open access for all articles and doing business as usual." The first open access article is by Yang and Purves (1), published online in PNAS Early Edition on May 19, 2004.

The open access option was approved overwhelmingly by the PNAS Editorial Board and unanimously approved by the Publications Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, which has oversight over PNAS. The decision was informed by a survey of 610 corresponding authors of accepted papers conducted from August 22 to October 30, 2003. Of the 210 responses received, almost one-half (49.5%) of the respondents were in favor of an open access option. The open access experiment is PNAS's latest initiative to promote the broad dissemination of science. Since January 2000, PNAS has provided free access to back issues online, and makes PNAS content free at both the PNAS Online and PubMed Central web sites 6 months after publication. Special features and papers from the National Academy of Sciences colloquia, as well as multimedia online supporting information, are available for free immediately upon publication. In addition, PNAS offers 145 developing countries free and immediate access to all journal content.

Established in 1914 as the flagship journal of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS publishes high-impact research reports, commentaries, reviews, special features, colloquium papers, and actions of the Academy. PNAS is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal that spans the biological, physical, and social sciences. The journal is printed weekly (52 issues per year) and publishes new content online each business day. Ranked by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the world's most-cited scientific serials, PNAS Online receives more than 1.5 million hits per week. The journal is a self-sustaining operation that is not funded by the National Academy of Sciences or the government. For more information, please visit http://www.pnas.org.

1. Yang, Z. & Purves, D. (2004) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101, 8745-8750.

May 24, 2004

Rush Hour on the Information Superhighway

:: To feed my personal NYC obsession, I subscribe to Time Out New York. Although it arrives in my mailbox anywhere from 3-5 weeks after publication, I look forward to each issue. While its content keeps me up-to-date on All Things Pop Culture and All Things NYC, there are always well-written articles that pique my interest and result in further investigation on my part. In many cases, the articles are not necessarily NYC-centric either.

A recent example is the article, "Rush Hour on the Information Superhighway", by Clive Thompson, which appeared in Issue No. 445 April 8–15, 2004.

A funny thing happened on the road to utopia. The Information Age promised greater efficiency, allowing us to explore new worlds online and enjoy more free time. Instead, we're working longer hours and feeling more stressed as we drown in a tsunami of e-mail, blogs and Google searches. And nowhere is this pressure to stay connected more prevalent than in mediacentric New York.
Thompson succinctly addresses information bombardment and overload, focusing on four aspects: e-mail and spam, Google and googling, blogs, and TiVo (which, btw, isn't available in Canada yet). As librarians and information specialists, we are bombarded with information from many sides every day. How do we deal with it? Often, we don't - some, if not all of it flows over us like water off the back of a duck. We process a little of it. But being librarians, when we search for information we should know where and when to stop, and Thompson very correctly nails this in his discussion of searching:
That's another conundrum of our age: New technologies seem only to amp up our desire for more. Consider Google. It is by all accounts an informational godsend. But since it offers hundreds of hits for even the most quixotic query, many people have no idea when to stop parsing the endless results, says Joseph Janes, chair of library and information science at the University of Washington's Information School, who teaches a graduate seminar on the site and its impact on the culture. "It can make your life simpler, but it can also lead you down the path to perdition," Janes adds. "You find things that point to things that point to things that point to things, and you wake up two hours later. Or maybe you're looking for something that simply can't be found on Google, and it takes you 45 minutes to figure that out." Janes was trained as a librarian, and he says one thing librarians learn is when to stop: "We know when to declare victory—or to go home if the information just isn't there."
Consider that: knowing when to stop. It's one of the many characteristics that define us as information and library professionals, and I think we should be proud of it.

BTW, the Time Out New York publishers and editors have quietly set a high standard for open access. They have uploaded the contents, except for listings of current events, of every issue since the magazine began publishing in 1995. New issues are archived online one month after publication. Issues can be browsed by date, and a search function is provided that allows keyword searching with the ability to restrict by section of the journal. As a good friend would say, totally brilliant.

May 21, 2004

Educating Patrons Re: Access Violations

:: Alice Trussel, Director of the Fielder Engineering Library at Kansas State U, posted a fascinating e-mail on ELDNET-L today, regarding the fallout from a patron committing an access violation (aka systematic downloading) on an ASCE journal last week.

We had a patron commit an access violation on an ASCE journal last week, quickly creating access havoc for engineering building IPs. We were able to quickly track down who, when and where, and the patron candidly admitted doing the deed. He had downloaded several consecutive issues of a journal to make access "handy." He had no concept that this systematic downloading was illegal, because in looking at the main page of the journal as well as any of our library pages, nothing was posted clearly saying "Don't do systematic downloading--it's illegal." I've been campaigning for our library to create a page that clearly states what constitutes an access violation, but I'm running into people who respond with "Of course it is on the publisher's page. All they have to do is click on the 'terms of use' link and read that systematic downloading is illegal." & "Everyone knows that is illegal."

The rest of us know that NOT everyone knows & we realize that patrons will NEVER click on the terms and conditions link, so this leads me to two questions:
1. Do any of you have a specific page devoted to defining what is and is not allowed in downloading journals? If so, could you respond with a URL so that we can see what you have posted? (NOTE: Alice's e-mail is alitrus AT ksu.edu)

2. Could we, as professionals, create some momentum to get publishers to put some noticeable line or warning on the main electronic journal pages so patrons can clearly see what is acceptable use and what will create an access violation? Something along the line of "NOTE: Systematic downloading of entire issues and volumes violates the rules of agreement and can cause your institution to lose access."

I think our situation was exacerbated by the fact that this was an international student, and feel that it is possible that international students may well have a different cultural concept of copyright issues and access violations. That makes it even more imperative that we clearly communicate what's allowed and what isn't.

Thanks for your thoughts and feedback.
The same thing happened to us last year, so I was interested in the responses. Here is the feedback so far:

1) Douglas Morton: We at the University of Waterloo had that happen about three times last year and it sure knocks the stuffing out of your work schedule!

We have license notes on our pages and ASCE does have a “terms of use” page, but as you said – who reads it. Also, in our case as yours most of the incidents involved international students; would you recognize what “no systematic downloading” meant if it were in a foreign language? (U of Washington Library has what I consider a well done usage guidelines page at http://www.lib.washington.edu/cms/usageguidelines.html)

After a couple of incidents happened close together I fired off a message to IOP (the server for ASCE & ASME) agreeing that it was their right to do this but that it disrupted their lives as well as ours. I suggested that they install a second counter that about the 75% mark of the shutdown threshold they send the (mis)user a warning telling them to slow down. All I got by way of response was “we’ll pass it up the chain”. Sigh.

2) Morag Mackie: Hi. Here at Glasgow (Scotland) we experienced this problem a couple of years ago. We made available the following web page http://www.lib.gla.ac.uk/Resources/downloads.shtml, and also publicised this quite a bit at the time. However, I don't think it's as prominent on our web site as it could be!

3) Mel DeSart: A common theme that we at UW have heard about the kind of usage guidelines that Alice has asked about (and this point was mentioned in Morag Mackie's reply from earlier today), is that even if you HAVE guidelines like we do (Doug, thanks for the plug of our page), it still doesn't do you much good unless you can get them to where users read them.

But, per a note from Diane Grover, UW's Electronic Resources Coordinator, and the person who created the UW guidelines page), Innovative Interfaces (our library systems vendor) is arranging so that something can be done about that. In III's Release Silver, scheduled for June 14th, a link to those guidelines will be added to catalog records that have 856 links in them, meaning thousands of links from individual catalog records to those guidelines, where now there are only a handful of links, and none from individual catalog records.

4) Randy Reichardt: I will echo what Douglas wrote. We had someone systematically download articles from an ASCE title last fall, and IOP shut down access to all ASCE journals in one IP range on our campus until we reported back to them about why it happened.

Like others, we have Conditions of Use information on our pages, and ASCE, for example, has a link to Terms of Use from each of their journal pages. But as Douglas says, who reads them? In our case, it was an international student from Asia who did was not aware that systematic downloading was not permitted.

I'm sure Alice would appreciate further feedback on this issue, so if you have comments, please add them here and/or send them to Alice.

Aside: Congratulations to Mel, who is the 2004 Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award recipient, presented by the Engineering Libraries Division of ASEE.

May 19, 2004

Engineering Librarians Collaborate on Three Mile Island Book

:: Word just came by that TMI 25 Years Later: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant Accident and its Impact, by Bonnie Anne Osif, Anthony J. Baratta, & Thomas W. Conkling, has been published by Penn State University Press. From the publisher's web site:

Three Mile Island burst into the nation’s headlines twenty-five years ago, forever changing our view of nuclear power. The dramatic accident held the world’s attention for an unsettling week in March 1979 as engineers struggled to understand what had happened and to bring the damaged reactor to a safe condition. Much has been written since then about TMI, but it is not easy to find up-to-date information that is both reliable and accessible to the non-scientific reader. TMI offers a much needed “one-stop” resource for a new generation of citizens, students, and policy makers.

The legacy of Three Mile Island has been far reaching. The worst nuclear accident in U.S. history marked a turning point in our policies, our perceptions, and our national identity. Those involved in the nuclear industry today study the scenario carefully and review the decontamination and recovery process. Risk management and the ability to rationally and understandably convey risks to the general population are an integral part of implementation of new technologies. Political, environmental, and energy decisions have been made with TMI as a factor, and while studies reveal little environmental damage from the accident, long term studies of health effects continue. TMI presents a balanced and factual account of the accident, the cleanup effort, and the many facets of its legacy twenty-five years later.

The authors bring extensive research and writing experience to this book. After the accident and the cleanup, a significant collection of videotapes, photographs, and reports were donated to the University Libraries at Penn State University. Bonnie Osif and Thomas Conkling are engineering librarians at Penn State who maintain a database of these materials, which they have made available to the general public through an award-winning website. Anthony Baratta is a nuclear engineer who worked with the decontamination and recovery project at TMI and is an expert in nuclear accidents. The book features unique photographs of the cleanup and helpful appendixes that enable readers to further investigate various aspects of the story.

Of note is that Bonnie Osif and Thomas Conkling are both engineering librarians: Osif is the Engineering Reference and Instruction Librarian, and the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University, and Conkling is Head of the Engineering Library at the Pennsylvania State University.

A short interview about the book, with co-author Anthony Baratta, is available for viewing here. The introduction to the book is also online.

Congratulations to Bonnie and Thomas on the publication of their new book!

Cites & Insights and The Open Access Debate

:: The v4 n7 June 2004 issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Incites: Crawford at Large, is worth a look (for that matter, so is every issue, but I digress...) Walt provides coverage and analysis of the continuing debate on open access. In "Library Access to Scholarship", he brings us up to date on the latest developments at U Maryland, Stanford U, and Indiana U Bloomington, and comments on H.R. 2613, the Public Access to Science Act, aka the Sabo Bill, (which would exclude copyright for the publication of results of US-federally funded research) and PLoS. Also covered, in "The Empire Strikes Back", Walt discusses the investigations into the state of scientific publishing currently underway in the UK, providing analysis and commentary on Elsevier's position paper, responses from BioMed Central (including its (Mis)Leading Open Access Myths, and The Open Society Institute, and more.

What's New @ IEEE in Computing, May 2004

WHAT'S NEW @ IEEE IN COMPUTING, VOLUME 5, NUMBER 5, MAY 2004

CONTENTS:
1. Aiding Seniors: From Mainframe Healthcare to Personal Wellness (and
More)
2. Try the New Full-Text Search Prototype in Latest IEEE Xplore Release
3. DNA Computers Work as "Smart Drugs"
4. In the Eye of The Beholder: IEEE Spectrum Reports
5. New Standard Offers Systems Approach to Computer Battery Reliability
6. Budapest to Host Conferences on Fuzzy Systems and Neural Networks
7. New Web Page Helps Researchers Purchasing Articles Through IEEE Xplore
8. PERCOM Proceedings Address Seamless Mobility
9. 2005 IEEE Election Candidates Revealed
10. Zero or One: Just the Beginning?
11. Backscatter: The Collyers and the Web

May 18, 2004

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter - New!

New edition of Sci-Tech Library Newsletter (05/17/04):

This newsletter is available to the public at the following locations:
http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/swain/nsflibnews/
http://www.eevl.ac.uk/scitechnews/
http//avel.edu.au/scitech.html

------------------------------------

1. "CrossRef Search" PILOT Free federated search engine!
2. SCIENCE POLICY
3. AROUND DC AND ON THE NET
4. NEW E-BOOKS AND REPORTS
5. INTERESTING WEBSITES AND NEWS FROM THE INTERNET
Exploring Search Engine Overlap , Magnetic Storm , Progress in the Study of the X-Ray Background , Biological Sciences: The Cicadas Are Here! , Two on Animal Encounters , Highveld.com , Education and Human Resources: International Education Indicators , Engineering: Engineering Conference International, Golden Gate Bridge , The IDE Virtual Design Museum , Engineering Is a Dream Career , Geosciences: GISS: Goddard Institute for Space Studies , Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Molecular Origami , Polar Programs: NOAA Arctic Theme Page , Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: The Portable Antiquities Scheme , Black Ships and Samurai , Caveman Challenge ...and more... plus news items from Edupage

May 17, 2004

Electronic Scientific, Technical, and Medical Journal Publishing and Its Implications: Report of a Symposium

:: The Symposium on Electronic Scientific, Technical and Medical Journal Publishing and Its Implications was held on 19-20 May 2003, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. The conference papers, Electronic Scientific, Technical, and Medical Journal Publishing and Its Implications: Report of a Symposium, are now available from National Academy Press. The publication can be read online at no charge. From pviii of the Preface:

The symposium brought together experts in STM publishing, both producers and users of these publications, to: 1. identify the recent technical changes in publishing, and other factors, that influence the decisions of journal publishers to produce journals electronically; 2. identify the needs of the scientific, engineering, and medical community as users of journals, whether electronic or printed; 3. discuss the responses of not-for-profit and commercial STM publishers and of other stakeholders in the STM community to the opportunities and challenges posed by the shift to electronic publishing; and 4. examine the spectrum of proposals that has been put forth to respond to the needs of users as the publishing industry shifts to electronic information production and dissemination.

From p7 of the Introduction:

The main focus of this symposium was how different business and distribution models for scientific, technical and medical (STM) information publishing are changing in the face of digital technology developments. How do the emerging models address the need of the scientific community for the widest possible long-term access to such information? In developing the symposium's program, the planning committee was mindful of the broad, ongoing changes in scientific research, funding and goals--changes that stimulate, and are stimulated by, new forms of scholarly communication. The challenge was to identify issues and problems that the STM communities need to control and resolve in order to exploit the remarkable and growing opportunities offered by the rapidly evolving computer and networking technologies.
(From: Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog, May 17, 2004)

May 14, 2004

Commentary: The Crisis In Scholary Communication, by George Porter

The crisis in scholarly communications is now well into its third decade by many accounts. I was discussing journal cancellations with a faculty member when we touched on Henry Barschal's seminal analysis of commercially and society published journal prices. Stanford and Yale have collaborated to document the entire case of Gordon & Breach v. American Institute of Physics and American Physical Society.

Library-publisher dynamics have not changed greatly in the intervening years, but the broader awareness and concern with the topic has undergone a sea change in the last few years.

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) petition did not result in a massive boycott of journals. PLoS did make a significant splash with coverage in the broader news media at the time. The emergence of PubMed Central, BioMed Central, and PLoS as publishers has not gone unnoticed, perhaps due to the sensitization of faculty and the media through the earlier effort.

The latest example, though, drives home to me just how much things have changed. I've been tracking the ripples caused by Donald Knuth and the editorial board of Journal of Algorithms (Academic Press/Elsevier) resigning en masse on December 31 and launching ACM Transactions on Algorithms (TALG), as noted on The Sci-Tech Library Question? and in the PAM Bulletin. The latest ripple:

At What Cost? As the price of scholarly journals skyrockets, Stanford fights back. Stanford Magazine May/June 2004. A couple of pages of glossy alumni magazine coverage devoted to Stanford's difficulties with journal costs and library and faculty efforts to change the system.

Of course, the changes are not confined to alumni magazines. The Knuth/JoA shock wave is being noted within the academy, as well. Caltech Library System's Online Journal Database (OJDB) has had a place holder entry for TALG since word broke of the new journal. A similar place holder can be observed in the working journals collection of Algorithms and Complexity Research at Glasgow.

The Report of the Seventh Meeting of the Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) of the International Mathematical Union, page 2, makes note of the Knuth/JoA/TALG situation:

3. COST OF JOURNALS

3.1. Knuth's Letter. A little wile ago, Donald Knuth invited his fellow editorial board members of the Journal of Algorithms to consider jumping ship (http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/joalet.pdf). The upshot is a new journal, ACM Transactions on Algorithms, to be edited by the entire former editorial staff of the Journal of Algorithms. The letter and its aftermath raises some interesting issues and led the CEIC to write a comment on its Best Practice statement touching upon related matters.

The CEIC issued its Recommendations on Information and Communication in August 2002, and revised Section 3: Best Current Practices, as of April 2004. Item 8, under "For Librarians and Mathematicians", reads:

Journal Price and Policy. Libraries have limited budgets, which often grow more slowly than the prices of journals, forcing libraries to cancel subscriptions. The cumulative effect of cancellations goes beyond individual institutions because it shifts costs to an ever smaller number of subscribers, accelerating the process of price increase and cancellation. Journal prices matter to all mathematicians.
When deciding where to submit a paper an author may choose to be aware of a journal's standing and impact, but an author also should take account of a journal's price (as well as its general policies, including archiving). In addition, one might consider a journal's price and policies when considering whether to referee or serve on an editorial board.
Of particular note are the compilations of time series mathematical journal prices:- George Porter

May 13, 2004

Information Literacy in the Sciences Task Force

:: Virginia Baldwin is circulating the following e-mail on a number of listservs. It concerns scitech information literacy, and is worth a look:

The proposed Standards for Information Literacy for Science and Technology, developed by the STS Task Force on Information Literacy for Science and Technology, have been posted to the Task Force Web Site at http://sciencelibrarian.tripod.com/ILTaskForce/ILIndex.htm

We want this document to describe information literacy in the sciences and technology as completely as possible. We seek the collective knowledge representative of the broad background and experiences of the STS membership. Please look through the proposed standards on the Web site and make comments and suggest additions relative to your discipline and experiences. There is a form on the Web site for you to submit your comments electronically or you can e-mail them to sciencelibrarian@hotmail.com.

We have given a deadline of May 25th for comments to be incorporated before their presentation at ALA Annual.

The proposed standards are annotated as follows:

1. Underlining denotes changes in wording from the original ACRL document.

2. References to quotes from standards documents and various articles are
indicated at the end of some standards, performance indicators and outcomes.

3. A file, QUOTES FROM REFERENCES USED IN THE PROPOSED STANDARDS, is linked from the main page of the task force and gives the sources or actual wording of most of the quotes.

Members of the Task Force look forward to your comments.

Virginia Baldwin (Ginny)
Chair, STS Task Force on Information Literacy for Science and Technology
Head, Engineering Library
Patent and Trademark Depository Librarian
W204 Nebraska Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0516
Email: vbaldwin2 AT unl.edu

Charleston Advisor Reviews

:: The Charleston Advisor publishes reviews of web-based electronic resources. Recent reviews of interest include:

An active subscription may be required to view some of these reviews.

May 12, 2004

BioGeosciences

:: The European Geosciences Union publishes Biogeosciences (BG), and the related discussion forum, Biogeosciences Discussions (BGD), on a non-profit basis. Internet access is free to the general public:

Biogeosciences (BG) is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications and review papers on all aspects of the interactions between the biological, chemical and physical processes in terrestrial or extraterrestrial life with the geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. The objective of the journal is to cut across the boundaries of established sciences and achieve an interdisciplinary view of these interactions. Experimental, conceptual and modelling approaches are welcome.
What's interesting is the wide-open, open access approach, so to speak:
In the first stage, papers that pass a rapid access-review by one of the editors are immediately published on the Biogeosciences Discussions (BGD) website. They are then subject to interactive public discussion, during which the referees’ comments (anonymous or attributed), additional short comments by other members of the scientific community (attributed) and the authors’ replies are also published in BGD. In the second stage, the peer-review process is completed and, if accepted, the final revised papers are published in BG. To ensure publication precedence for authors, and to provide a lasting record of scientific discussion, BGD and BG are both ISSN-registered, permanently archived and fully citable.
George Porter notes that the first paper submitted to BSD is now online and available for viewing and comment.

May 11, 2004

Electromagnetic Field Theory - Another Online Textbook

:: Thanks to Tom Grydeland, Dept of Physics at the University of Tromsø, for sending an e-mail about another online textbook. Electromagnetic Theory, written by Bo Thidé, is available for downloading and use, free of charge:

Intended for the advanced undergraduate or graduate student, Electromagnetic Field Theory is a textbook on the theory of electrodynamics, at roughly the same level as the well-known textbooks by Jackson and Panofsky&Phillips. The book is written mainly from a classical field theoretical point of view, emphasising fundamental and subtle properties of the EM field and includes a comprehensive appendix on the mathematical methods used. It treats relativistic covariance and the Lagrangian/Hamiltionan formulation of electromagnetic field theory, with an eye on modern ideas of duality and unification of theories, and includes a rigorous, comprehensive and detailed treatment of EM radiation phenomena. The book does not treat the elementary and technological aspects of electromagnetism to any significant degree since these matters are already covered in intermediate-level textbooks such as Roald K. Wangsness, Electromagnetic Fields, John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0471859125 (1987).

Electromagnetic Field Theory is intended as an Internet source which is freely available to physics students, at the advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level, and research workers anywhere. The current version of Electromagnetic Field Theory is being used in higher education at several universitites in Europe and the US.

Bo Thidé is the Program Director of the Institutet för rymdfysik, IRF (Swedish Institute for Space Physics)

May 7, 2004

A Heat Transfer Textbook: A Free Electronic Textbook

:: The third edition of A Heat Transfer Textbook, written by John H Lienhard V (MIT) and John H Lienhard IV (U Houston), has been made available on the web. The book is an introduction to heat transfer, geared towards engineering students. It may be downloaded free of charge. The authors explain:

We are placing a mechanical engineering textbook into an electronic format for worldwide, no-charge distribution. The aim of this effort is to explore the possibilities of placing textbooks online -- effectively giving them away. Two potential benefits should accrue from doing this. First, in electronic format, textbooks can be continually corrected and updated, without the delays inherent in printed books (second and later editions are typically published on a five-year cycle). Second, free textbooks hold the potential for fundamentally altering the economics of higher education, particularly in those environments where money is scarce.

May 6, 2004

Science and Engineering Indicators 2004

:: Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 has been released:

The Science and Engineering Indicators, a biennial report series published by the National Science Board, is designed to provide a broad base of quantitative information about U.S. science, engineering, and technology for use by public and private policymakers. Because of the spread of scientific and technological capabilities around the world, this report presents a significant amount of material about these international capabilities and analyzes the U.S. position in this broader context. [via ResourceShelf]

Annals of Botany Backfiles Now Available

:: George advises that the Annals of Botany, published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company, a non-profit educational charity established to promote plant science worldwide, has opened their fulltext for free access, following a 1 year period of exclusive use by subscribers.

Annals of Botany
Fulltext v71+ (1993+) 1 year moving wall
Print ISSN: 0305-7364; Online ISSN: 1095-8290

A complete list of titles to which Highwire provides free online access to full-text articles, either upon publication, or after a certain time period, is available here.

May 5, 2004

PSIGate Offers RSS Feeds

:: Teri Vogel notes the following in an e-mail:

PSIGate has recently added RSS feeds for the new records they add to their collection. There are feeds for each subject (astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, policy and materials), plus a feed if you want to keep up with the latest additions regardless of subject.

http://www.psigate.ac.uk/newsite/about.html

PSIgate (Physical Sciences Information Gateway), part of the Resource Discovery Network, selects and annotates quality Web resources in the physical sciences.

Teri Vogel contributes to Science News, a "library weblog for the science faculty and students at Georgia State University."

May 4, 2004

American Physical Society Announces a Price Decrease for 2005!

:: Proving that the unthinkable is still possible, the American Physical Society (APS), in a letter to "The Library Community", has announced it will decrease prices for all tiers of its journals:

The Council of the APS has established journal prices for 2005 and APS will be DECREASING PRICES for all tiers. The publications of the APS include Physical Review A-E (PRA-E), Physical Review Letters (PRL), Physical Review Online Archive (PROLA), and Reviews of Modern Physics (RMP). PROLA, with journal content back to 1893, will continue to be available at no cost to subscribers of the APS packages (PR-All and APS-All) and at a very modest cost to those subscribing to portions of the package. In keeping with the Society's goal of moving towards a pricing structure, which reflects the diversity amongst its subscribers, the larger decreases will be for the smaller institutions, as follows:

Tier 1 institutions prices will decrease 3.0% (35% of all subscriptions)
Tiers 2 and 3 institutions prices will decrease 1.0% (54% of subscriptions)
Tiers 4 and 5 institutions prices will decrease 0.5% (11% of subscriptions)

The price decreases are in the presence of continued growth in journal size and in manuscript submissions. They reflect a long and intense development of new technology both by the Society and its vendors as well as persistent attention to cost control by all of the staff. They also represent the Society's commitment to returning the advantages of technology to the community. The same percentage price decrease will apply to print-plus-online and online only. APS sees the new technology as an exciting challenge to end the period of unsustainable price increases.

A full list of institutional prices for 2005 is available, as is an explanation of the five tiers of pricing. The APS is to be applauded for taking this initiative. Now that the bar has been set, will another publisher raise it higher? Will the sun go nova this weekend? Stay tuned.

IBM Journals Available Online

:: In the long tradition of major corporate research operations publishing journals of their own results (think Bell Labs Technical Journal), IBM has been publishing peer reviewed in-house research for almost 50 years. For the last seven years or so, this literature has been freely distributed via the Internet.

IBM Journal of Research & Development
Fulltext v41+ (1997+); Tables of contents and Abstracts v38+ (1994+); ISSN: 0018-8646

IBM Systems Journal
Fulltext v35(3/4)+ (July 1996+); Tables of contents and Abstracts v33+ (1994+); ISSN: 0018-8670

- George Porter

Geochemical Transactions

:: The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has released Geochemical Transactions (2000-2003) for free fulltext access
http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/GT/Index.asp [via George Porter, STS-L].

Quoting from the blurb at RSC:

Geochemical Transactions is an electronic only journal covering all aspects of chemistry as it relates to materials and processes occurring in the Earth's aquasphere and geosphere.

Geochemical Transactions
Fulltext v1-4 (2000-2003)
http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/GT/Index.asp
Online ISSN: 1467-4866

Geochemical Transactions is a SPARC Alternative journal
<http://www.arl.org/sparc/core/index.asp?page=c1>, sponsored by the American
Chemical Society's Geochemistry Division
<http://membership.acs.org/g/geoc/>. Initially published in partnership
with the RSC <http://www.rsc.org/>, the journal has mounted the
aforementioned backfiles on AIP's Scitation platform
<http://scitation.aip.org/>, where the first article of 2004 has just been
released.

Geochemical Transactions
Fulltext v1+ (2000+)
http://www.geochemicaltransactions.com/
Online ISSN: 1467-4866

AIP is providing free access through 1 June 2004
<http://gt.aip.org/gt/announcements/access.jsp>, although the clock is
ticking. Institutional subscription for 2004 is $100.

The permit for the journal is a bit more fully explicated on the new website
<http://gt.aip.org/gt/staff.jsp>:

Geochemical Transactions is intended to provide a medium for the rapid
publication of high-quality research in all areas of chemistry as it relates
to materials and processes occurring in the Earth's hydrosphere and
geosphere, including:

* organic geochemistry,
* inorganic geochemistry,
* marine and aquatic chemistry, including chemical oceanography, and
* biogeochemistry, including geomicrobiology.

An online-only service of the Division of Geochemistry of the American
Chemical Society, the journal publishes reports describing the results of
novel investigations of:

* geochemical or biogeochemical processes,
* molecular and isotopic analyses of geologic and hydrologic products,
* molecular and elemental cycles,
* relevant instrumental or analytical techniques, and
* relevant numeric or computational models.

Reports on both fundamental and applied research are welcome.

The Journal publishes articles, communications, and technical comments on
published research. Invited topical reviews may also be published from time
to time. Published material may include electronic "enhancements," such as
animations (e.g., of global circulation models or geologic flow and
convection) or data that can be downloaded for a reader's use.

ISI began indexing Geochemical Transactions in 2003, although,
unsurprisingly, Chemical Abstracts began inclusion upon the initial journal
launch. Currently, ISI's Web of Science includes all (17!) articles
published in volumes 3 and 4, 2002-2003. ISI's shortsightedness (failure to
include the journal more quickly; failure to go back to volume 1 when the
decision to index was finally made) has helped to contribute to the short
shrift this title has received.

I spoke with one of my faculty members in mid-April. He had given a keynote
address in March for the Geochemistry Division when ACS met in Anaheim in
March. He was reviewing the manuscript of an article, largely congruent
with his address, which was intended for publication in a major commercial
journal. The manuscript was not going to Geochemical Transactions simply
because the professor, a long time member of the Geochemistry Division, was
unaware (or only marginally so) that the Geochemistry Division has/had a
journal. A large portion of the blame for the stunted growth of this title
lies in the failure of ACS, the Geochemistry Division, the RSC, SPARC and
the library community to adequately communicate the existence of alternate
publication pathways once they've been created.

RSC's release of the backfiles, combined with the free access period at the
new website <http://gt.aip.org/>, will hopefully help to raise awareness of
this title. Here is my contribution to the process.

May 3, 2004

Open access could reduce cost of scientific publishing

New report reveals open access could reduce cost of scientific publishing by up to 30 per cent

The Wellcome Trust report shows for the first time that the open access model of scientific publishing - where the author of a research paper pays for peer reviewed research to be made available on the web free to all who wish to use it - is economically viable, guarantees high quality research and is a sustainable option which could revolutionise the world of traditional scientific publishing. Currently researchers are obliged to give the copyright to their research to publishers who then charge researchers to use that work through subscription fees...

The report, produced by SQW, is available online at www.wellcome.ac.uk/publications and will be passed to the inquiry being conducted into this issue by the Science and Technology Select Committee in the House of Commons. [via OLDaily]