What keeps scholarly publishers up at night?
Several senior AIP staff members gathered with publishing colleagues for the STM Spring Conference last week, held near the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. The meeting drew nearly 100 publishers to listen to noted industry speakers address the theme "What Keeps Scholarly Publishers Up at Night? Political Environments: Threats & Opportunities, Copyright Challenges & Web 3.0."
Why does AIP participate in STM? The formal title of the organization makes it clear—the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers. This is the one association for scientific publishers that truly has global reach, and STM member institutions represent both nonprofit and commercial publishers. I am the third AIP executive to serve on the STM board. AIP has now been represented on the board for more than 10 years—the longest continuous period of service for any scholarly society. STM monitors copyright and other legislative actions of interest to AIP in all parts of the world except for North America, where the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers takes the lead in full cooperation with STM. AIP also participates in two key STM committees—the Copyright Committee and the Future Lab Committee. The latter monitors key developments and trends in publishing standards and technology.
Eric Massant of Reed Elsevier moderated a panel of speakers, who addressed the subject of how to work with government. They covered issues such as public access from the user and publisher perspectives, innovative information technology breakthroughs that are driven by the government and how they translate into scientific research and publishing, and communicating with the government. Another well-received panel addressed a series of copyright challenges, including online piracy, subscription fraud, and the relationship of publishing to the scholarly academic community. The meeting concluded with several forward-looking presentations about the innovations promised by Web 3.0—the Semantic Web. Perhaps Web 3.0 will finally make sense of the new Web 2.0 developments that we are all dealing with today!
Renewable energy lights up San Francisco
Even with the sunny San Francisco weather, attendees seemed pleased to be indoors at the 2009 MRS Spring Meeting, participating in technical sessions and socializing around materials in the exhibit hall. Almost everyone who stopped by AIP's Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) booth appeared to be working in (or planning to work in) the rapidly expanding field of renewable energy. Many researchers indicated that their departments were restructuring and creating renewable-energy-focused groups and, as a result, were seeking the best journals in which to publish their new work. Several conference organizers visited the booth to solicit JRSE's presence at their upcoming meetings. There was great interest in the journal's recently launched newsletter, JRSE News, amplified by the raffling off of a Flip camcorder. Also, while in San Francisco, AIP staff held a productive meeting with the JRSE editors. If the interest from meeting attendees and the enthusiasm of JRSE editors are an indication, the journal will certainly continue to grow. Through the JRSE blog, Clean, readers can keep up with news about how the journal is meeting the needs of researchers working in this exciting field.
Where thrills meet physics
On Friday, April 24, thousands of high-school students descended on Six Flags America in Bowie, MD, for a day of gut-wrenching, free-falling, thrilling rides—and the Society of Physics Students was there to greet them! Every April, local schools are invited to bring their physics students to Six Flags, when the park is not open to regular visitors, for a chance to experience gravity, centripetal force, and magnetic induction on a scale they can't replicate in the lab. The SPS National Office has been involved with the local Physics Day for many years, but stepped up its presence this year by bringing nearly 25 volunteers from colleges and universities in the Maryland area—some driving more than three hours each way to participate. In conjunction with the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, SPS engaged students with demos, accelerometers enclosed in vests that students could take on the rides, a presentation by "Galileo," and rolling experiments that involved ramps, salt, canned corn, a car tire, and more. To learn more about amusement park physics, visit www.learner.org/interactives/parkphysics.
There is no substitute for blood—which has a short shelf life of 35 days—so patients count on every life-saving pint donated by volunteers. On April 16, AIP employees in Melville rolled up their sleeves to donate blood and thus help fellow human beings in need. Twenty-six pints of blood were collected.
The ACP Events Committee in Maryland is having a blood drive on May 6. If you have not already done so, please sign up. Contact Donna Jones or visit the HR department to schedule a convenient appointment.
We thank those of you who have donated or are scheduled to donate.
Who we are—Education Division
Providing undergraduate students with information and services, building educational programs through organizations and partnerships, and advocating for educational excellence in policy and practice—those are the essential goals of AIP's Education Division (see the AIP organizational chart, pages 55–56). The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional society for physics students and their mentors. The Education staff serves 4,200 SPS members in over 700 chapters on college campuses across the country. Member benefits include subscriptions to the quarterly SPS Observer and to Physics Today, and eligibility for research awards, outreach programs, scholarships, and travel awards. In partnership with several AIP Member Societies, SPS maintains The Nucleus—the national digital library for physics students—which also serves as a clearinghouse for physics scholarships and summer research opportunities. Undergraduates who join SPS also get free membership in the Member Society of their choice, thus providing these societies with a large new member pool. Housed together with SPS is Sigma Pi Sigma (ΣΠΣ), the physics honor society. Membership in ΣΠΣ is for life and many of the more than 40,000 members who were inducted in decades past provide donations to support SPS programs.
Education staff supports Member Society programs that prepare physics teachers, promote undergraduate research, and provide information about physics and science-related careers. Many partnerships, such as PhysTEC, and the Physics Teacher Education Coalition, work to shape and influence national science education policy and practice and advocate for dedicated funding for improving science and science education. Jack Hehn is the director of the Education Division; Gary White serves as associate director, as well as director of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma.