AIP's response to the NIH public-access mandate
I introduced an important matter affecting the scientific publishing community in my article Open Access—unfettered, but not costless (March 3 issue of AIP Matters). Since then, there have been some new developments of which you should be aware. A significant public law, with wide impact on the public accessibility to biomedical scientific information and the business of publishing scientific journals, went into effect on April 7. Henceforth, any journal articles resulting from research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) must be submitted for posting on NIH's free archive of life sciences journals—PubMedCentral—within 12 months of publication. On the surface, the reasoning behind public access appears quite sensible: the federal government paid for the research, and science itself benefits from having research findings made widely available.
However, federal research funds do not pay for the many components of the publishing process, such as peer-review management (to ensure the scientific integrity of the article), quality page composition and copyediting, accurate linking to bibliographic data, and reliable online access to the complete journal catalog (current and back file from the journal's inception). These value-added services incur an average of $3,000 in costs for each technical article. These costs are recouped predominately by subscription fees paid by institutional libraries. This is a question of public access vs. public value.
Also, the mandatory policy was adopted without beneficial consultation with scientific journal publishers. Thus, authors, publishers, and institutions that administer research grants from NIH are scrambling to deal with the mandate and the potential harm it presents to the scientific journal enterprise.
AIP has gone on record in public comments to NIH, objecting to the policy and the lack of NIH's engagement with publishers in addressing multiple concerns, such as devaluation of the publisher's investment after the 12-month embargo period; loss of primacy of the publisher's version of the research article, with secondary (and likely slightly different) versions appearing on PubMedCentral; and lack of assurance of protection from third-party commercial use of articles.
Despite these concerns, AIP has had to deal with the NIH mandate, since it is now a matter of public law and the first manuscripts having NIH-funded authors (submitted after April 7) are about to be published. On recommendation of the Publishing Policy Committee, the AIP Governing Board approved a new procedure for manuscripts subject to the NIH mandate: AIP will deposit the final published versions of articles directly into the PubMedCentral system on behalf of the authors. We will allow these manuscripts to become publicly available within 12 months of publication, unless the author pays AIP's "author select" fee, resulting in immediate public access. AIP will deposit final versions of such articles to NIH using the NIH language, NLM Archiving & Interchange DTD, to ensure the public-access version is the same as the published version. AIP is adopting the policy on an interim basis so our NIH-funded authors are not caught in the middle between their funding agency and their publisher. However, AIP will monitor this situation closely and will work toward building more constructive and equitable solutions: allowing increased public access in tandem with a sensible evolution of the scholarly publishing business.
New chief at the helm of JCP
Last week, AIP appointed Marsha I. Lester the new editor of The Journal of Chemical Physics (JCP). Lester received her PhD from Columbia University in 1981. Currently at the University of Pennsylvania, she is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor in the Natural Sciences and chair of the Department of Chemistry. Lester is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, and has served on several advisory and editorial boards, including that of JCP.
Cribbing from last week's AIP press release:
"In response to her appointment, Lester expressed her excitement in assuming leadership of this preeminent journal, which has played such an important role in the field of chemical physics. ‘I see a wonderful opportunity to expand the reach of the journal in interdisciplinary and emerging fields, in part, by adding new associate editors that complement existing strengths and engaging the community in the process of reinvigorating the journal. It will be exciting to interact with colleagues worldwide who are participating in the expansive and ever-changing field of chemical physics. I also look forward to working with the American Institute of Physics, which is deeply committed to the success of this journal.' "
Apple meets academia: U and the OU
The Open University is one of three European institutions that have started offering courses through the university version of Apple's iTunes. The iTunes offering is part of a wider strategy to engage with social media. This endeavor augments the university's ongoing work with YouTube and activity in spaces such as Facebook, Netvibes, and Twitter. These types of offerings are becoming a valuable component of online communities; rather than being driven to corporate websites, users can access content in their preferred environment and format. For more information, visit The Technology Blog.
AIP staff attended the May 31–June 5 meeting of the American Crystallographic Association in Knoxville, TN, where Media and Government Relations staff gave a presentation to the ACA Council on AIP's media and public policy activities and services. Before the meeting, AIP's media team studied the submitted abstracts and promoted items of interest in a news release. An item from the news release also became part of a story in the latest issue of Nature.
On very thin ice
From Physics News Update (PNU): "For the first time, scientists have obtained pictures of ice only a few nanometers [billionths of meters] thick in the act of forming bulk ice at the coldest of temperatures. The new images, showing ice sheets about 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, add to our knowledge of water, that remarkable molecular substance that is common on Earth, and found in significant amounts in other places around the solar system." Approaching absolute zero, water molecules do not form hexagonal shapes, but rather cubic crystal structures. Learn more about Konrad Thürmer and Norman Bartelt's work in exploring the early formation of ice and the growth of crystal films. Their work was published in Physical Review B, but PNU describes it wonderfully in "lay language."
Recently posted employment opportunities at AIP
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Visit AIP Human Resources' job openings webpage for more details about these positions and a complete list of current openings. Don't forget about AIP's employee referral bonus program. You can earn money just for referring the right person to fill a job.
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