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Brave New Web: Welcome To The Publishing Revolution

.: Physics World (2007), 20(1), January is a special issue: Brave New Web: Welcome To The Publishing Revolution

Although the Web has made accessing papers much easier and faster – trips to the library are largely a thing of the past – the science-publishing model remains essentially unchanged. The Web is, however, forcing commercial scientific publishers to think hard about how they operate, as reported in this special issue.

"The open-access debate", still considers scientific publishing in terms of conventional papers. A bigger unknown surrounds the increasing use of the Web as a social network, or what is loosely known as "Web 2.0", through novel publishing tools like "wikis", "mash-ups" and "social tagging". These facilities allow any information – including scientific information – to be shared, commented upon and adapted online, which could lead to new ideas and forms of thinking, particularly in interdisciplinary research.

The vast majority (84%) of physicists have no idea what social tagging is, and only 14% have ever contributed to a work-related wiki. That lack of awareness is broadly mirrored by Physics World's own informal survey (see "Talking physics in the social Web").

No doubt many physicists will look down their noses at the "social Web" as a gimmick ... but as today’s young physicists grow up, working in an open and collaborative fashion on the Web will, for them, soon be second nature. (Edited extraction from the editorial, Brave New World)

Issue Contents:

Editorial: Brave new Web (**free)
Welcome to the publishing revolution.

Critical Point: The lost art of the letter (**free) by Robert P. Crease SUNY and historian BNL)
The historical importance of personal correspondence and attempts to archive important digital documents.

Forum: Blogging for physics (**free) by Sean Carroll (Particle Theory Group Caltech)
Why I like to blog .. By the 'author' of Cosmic Variance .

Feature: A revolution in bits by Matthew Chalmers (Features Editor Physics World)
Why the Web is changing physics publishing.

Feature: The open-access debate (**free) by Rüdiger Voss (CERN) and John Enderby (IOP Past President)
The pros and cons of free-to-read papers. Voss extols the virtues of open access, Enderby advocates caution.

Feature: Talking physics in the social Web (**free) by Martin Griffiths (Reviews and Careers Editor Physics World)
From "blogs" to "wikis", the Web is now more than a mere repository of information. Martin Griffiths investigates how this new interactivity is affecting the way physicists communicate and access information.

Feature: Peer review steps out of the shadows by Edwin Cartlidge (News Editor Physics World)
How the Web can open up peer review - "open peer review" has yet to catch on in the physics community.

Feature: The rise and rise of citation analysis by Lokman I Meho (SLIS, Indiana University)
Using the Web to quantify scientific output - the Web is allowing physicists and information providers to measure more accurately the impact of both papers and their authors.

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