H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

Valued advice on AIP publishing policy
Last week the Publishing Policy Committee worked diligently for two days at the Melville Publishing Center for its semiannual review of the full range of AIP's publishing activities. The committee members include publishing experts from many of our Member Societies and an observer from one of our most important customer groups—the university librarians.

There was no shortage of material for the committee to review. When the committee last met, in December 2007, AIP had just embarked on several initiatives delineated in the newly completed three-year strategic plans. For the Publishing Center, this included the first phase of upgrades to AIP's key digital product: Scitation, the online publication platform, which currently hosts 180 scientific journals. With a little more than six months invested in the project, the Scitation crew has already introduced upgraded abstract pages for AIP Journals and incorporated many Web 2.0 networking tools.

When we take a first critical look at the Publishing Center's new ventures, we often take advantage of the experiences and interests of the Publishing Policy Committee members. So last week we reviewed plans for the start-up of several new journals and Web services that will leverage AIP's rank as the most cited publisher of scientific articles in applied physics.

A traditional task of the Publishing Policy Committee at the spring meeting is the review and evaluation of pricing for AIP journals and magazines for the coming subscription year. The committee takes this task seriously, especially in light of the economic pressures that constrain the buying power of institutional libraries—our primary customers and the dominant source of income from our publishing program. The committee's careful review of our proposed prices constitutes an essential recommendation to the AIP Executive Committee, who will meet next month to approve those prices.

We are proud to report that the proposed journal price increases for 2009 are the lowest in the past 21 years, a testament to the business acumen of our publishing staff, who keep the costs down while maintaining the high quality of AIP publications.



A new home for ASA meeting abstracts
In early May, Publishing Technology released a new meeting abstract submission website for the Acoustical Society of America. The new "look and feel" of the site provides many improvements over the previous one. ASA logo Some of the most significant new features are XML compatibility, controlled data entry, and PDF proofs of abstracts. In addition to the new abstract submission site, a Web-based scheduling tool, which facilitates management of meeting abstracts and session changes, was also released for ASA staff.

Studying the students of astronomy
AAS logo The AIP Statistical Research Center (SRC) recently completed data collection for the first phase of the American Astronomical Society/AIP longitudinal survey of astronomy graduate students. The project, which began in early 2007, will track astronomy graduate students over the course of several years. The study will collect data on the following:

  • People who obtain graduate degrees in astronomy,
  • Attrition rates for men and women,
  • People who leave the field of astronomy, and
  • Astronomers who work outside the traditional employment sectors of academe and the observatories.

AAS worked with SRC staff to develop the questionnaire and a targeted list of astronomy graduate students who would receive the survey. The SRC received about 1500 responses, and of those, more than 800 students volunteered to participate in future data collection efforts. Once preliminary results are available, the AAS and SRC working group will seek additional support for the next round of data collection, which should begin in 2009 or 2010.

AIP board chair discusses role of scientists in politics
Lou Lanzerotti On May 10, AIP Governing Board Chair Lou Lanzerotti was one of several scientists and engineers who spoke to a group of about 100 scientists and engineers interested in becoming civically engaged and running for public office. Lanzerotti was first elected in 1994 to the local governing board of his township in New Jersey and served last year and this year as mayor. He also served on his local school board for nine years in the 1980s. AIP Media and Government Relations participated in organizing the day-long workshop at Georgetown University. Sponsors included AIP, APS, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Society of Civil Engineers, Consortium of Social Science Associations, and IEEE-USA. Lanzerotti spoke about his experiences while serving in local office and about how scientists and engineers can contribute importantly to understanding and deciding many local issues that require technical analyses. The communications director of the electoral campaign for Representative Vernon Ehlers of Michigan (a physicist) also shared his experiences, along with other electoral and professional campaign experts.

Bag it...
With "green" efforts in mind, consider how you "bag it." Before you trash those plastic grocery bags, think of recycling them. Many grocery stores have collection bins for used bags. You could also check with the Maryland (ext. 3015) and New York (ext. 2215) on-site daycare centers to see if they could use bags for diaper disposal. Some of the moms and dads whose children are at the centers bring in their extra bags, but sometimes demand exceeds supply! Also consider bringing your own bags, such as those made from recycled materials, to transport your purchases.

We invite your feedback to this newsletter via e-mail to aipmatters@aip.org.

For past issues of this newsletter, visit the AIP Matters archives.