Special librarians, special customers
Librarians constitute one of AIP’s most important customer groups. The health of AIP’s business as a publisher of scholarly journals largely depends on their buying power. Every year, AIP plans for a strong presence at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) meeting, to stay well connected to the needs, challenges, and expectations of these customers. SLA, which celebrated its centennial at the 2009 meeting held last week in Washington, DC, attracted 5,600 professional librarians from across the US and abroad.
Of particular interest to AIP are librarians responsible for maintaining collections for the physical sciences. Consequently, most of AIP’s interactions at the SLA meeting are with the PAM (physics, astronomy, and mathematics) division. AIP hosted the PAM “Open House” reception on Sunday, June 14, which gave us strong visibility at the beginning of the conference and helped open the channels of communication for more meaningful interactions. AIP also sponsored the PAM-wide roundtable on Monday, June 15.
|PAM members enjoy the AIP-sponsored Open House|
Doug LaFrenier, AIP's director of publication sales and market development, spoke on the PAM Vendor Update panel. Paul Guinnessy, manager of Physics Today’s website, participated in the Physics Roundtable, discussing PT’s efforts to complete its digital archive, with online files going back to the magazine’s very first issue in May 1948. AIP used its exhibit booth to collect important data: librarians were asked to take a survey on their use of emerging technologies. The SLA gathering also allowed AIP staff to hold valuable meetings, with major subscription agents such as Kinokuniya, EBSCO, and Swets, with customers of our publishing services such as American Society of Mechanical Engineers and SPIE, and with Member Societies such as the Optical Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Physical Society.
AIP management worked with the AIP Publishing Policy Committee and the Executive Committee to approve AIP 2010 subscription prices ahead of the usual schedule, so that these prices could be announced at SLA. With our advisory committee’s input, AIP held our portfolio’s price increases to about 3%. We used this meeting to remind librarians of the high value of the AIP family of journals relative to that of competitors in the physical sciences. Conversations confirmed that librarians and higher-education institutions face serious challenges as a result of the current recession, including department closings, library consolidations, layoffs, and so on. On average, libraries’ budgets are down by about 8%, with some as much as 15%–20%. AIP’s 3% price increase is being received with appreciation and the understanding that this modest increase means a decrease in net revenue for AIP, which is also affected by the economic downturn. Nevertheless, AIP is committed to supporting university and corporate libraries through the recession.
Chaos editors and advisors at SIAM conference
At the SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems May 17–21 in Snowbird, UT, editors and advisory board members for AIP's journal Chaos took the opportunity to discuss the future direction of the journal. Led by editor-in-chief David Campbell of Boston University, the discussion covered timely issues in nonlinear science for promotion via the popular Focus Issues, published regularly by Chaos. Also on the agenda was the journal's newest section, entitled Controversial Topics in Nonlinear Science. The first installment in this new section, "Is the Normal Heart Rate Chaotic?" will appear in the June 2009 issue.
Photo by Chaos editor Louis Pecora. From the left: advisory board members Ulrike Feudel, Tasso Kaper, Lora Billings, Thomas Carroll, and Tamas Tel, and editor Stefano Boccaletti.
Both John Haynes, vice president of publishing, and Mark Cassar, acting publisher of journals and technical publications, participated. AIP hosted a table featuring Chaos posters, copies of the journal, and materials about other AIP products and services. The goals of this conference were cross-fertilization among various fields of applications and promotion of communication between mathematicians who develop dynamical systems theory and the scientists who apply it. This provided an ideal venue for the interdisciplinary journal Chaos to reach out to the diverse community it serves. Watch the Chaos website for its newest addition - Controversial Topics in Nonlinear Science.
PTCN hosts job board meeting at ACP
On June 11, Physics Today Career Network hosted the first-ever Employment Website Networking Meeting for Science and Engineering Associations at ACP in College Park, MD. Representatives from each of PTCN’s job sites—Physics Today, American Association of Physics Teachers, American Physical Society, AVS, and IEEE Computer Society—attended, along with several invited speakers and assorted participants from four additional Member Societies, six affiliated societies, and five other association-run job sites. The discussion addressed the current state of employment websites, including the latest tools, trends, and business opportunities available, and the possible directions the industry may take in the future. Participants shared their goals, challenges, and strategies, and exchanged ideas for improvement and growth. For AIP, this meeting offers the opportunity to remain at the forefront of the employment industry, and to serve as a resource to the greater science and engineering community.
CHP mini-exhibits online
The Center for History of Physics (CHP) has developed a well-deserved reputation for its web exhibits, which tell intriguing physics stories about Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, the history of scientific cosmology, and global warming. These dozen exhibits cover expected topics on relativity and quantum physics, but also stories from geophysics, astronomy, and solid-state physics. Online exhibits provide an appealing way for students of all ages to learn more about the diverse possibilities of a life in physics.
|Mary Elizabeth Mills, SPS intern|
The Center, always on the lookout for new, interesting stories, is beginning work on two "mini-exhibits," limited to a half-dozen pages, to bring an even greater diversity of physics histories. Spencer Weart, former CHP director, is producing a mini-exhibit on the history of the laser, to be unveiled in 2010 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its invention.
The current director, Greg Good, is helping SPS summer intern Mary Elizabeth Mills research and design a mini-exhibit, “Physics at the Edge of Space: Early Exploration of Earth’s Magnetosphere.” Mary will draw on collections in the library and archives to produce a historical vignette of an exciting period of space physics history. The collections include photos from the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, oral histories, and autobiographical manuscripts.
Finnegan is prepared for disaster
Stephanie Finnegan, manager of business continuity and computer operations, recently obtained her CBCP (Certified Business Continuity Professional) certification from the Disaster Recovery Institute International. The certification acknowledges her professional competence and years of experience in the industry. Finnegan passed a rigorous exam, and her application and related experience were evaluated by her peers in the industry. AIP values Stephanie’s expertise in helping AIP prepare for unexpected business disruptions, and congratulates her on her achievement.
If you have an award or other professional achievement to tell us about, write to Human Resources@aip.org.
Who we are – Publishing Operations’ Team 3
In these past weeks, this column has been introducing the people who drive AIP’s Production Operations. With four teams of production editors in all, the combined group is small compared to the incredible volume of material the team members prepare for print and online publication. This week we take a closer look at Team 3 (see the organizational chart, page 35). Led by Jackie Beggins, Team 3 produces nearly 100,000 pages a year, dedicated to the journals of the American Physical Society. Titles include: Physical Review series A, B, and E; Reviews of Modern Physics; and Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research. Most recently, the team has successfully transitioned to a paperless work flow.
Publishing Operations’ Team 3 staff, from the left:
Member Society Spotlight on ASA
More than 1300 scientists and engineers gathered in May at the Acoustical Society of America’s 157th meeting in Portland, OR, to discuss the latest developments in acoustics. Acoustics—the science of sound—covers many diverse fields including physics, biology, and most engineering disciplines. Over 1,100 presentations covered a broad range of topics involving architecture, underwater research, psychology, physical acoustics, animal bioacoustics, medicine, speech, noise, and music. Perhaps the latter two areas are the most widely encountered in our daily lives. Sessions addressed noise in hospitals and from wind turbines, and the establishment of standards on the effects of noise on marine mammals and birds. There was a special lecture and performance on the art and science of unique musical instruments, and talks on the acoustics of wind instruments.
|Portland, OR, with Mt. Hood in background|
To cite a few examples of the breadth of current research in acoustics, participants reported on progress in using sound to treat disease, detecting instability in bridges by listening to vibrations, harvesting piezoelectric energy, and measuring the elastic properties of soft solids (with implications in both food and health). ASA members held a demonstration for local high school students who were treated to hands-on experiments in acoustics. Workshops covered grant writing for young investigators and the new National Institutes of Health peer-review procedure. The meeting was followed by a three-day workshop on second-language speech perception, which covered the complex science of how humans learn and perceive a second language, both as infants and later in life. Abstracts of the papers presented at the more than one hundred technical sessions can be found at http://asa.aip.org/ and lay-language versions of some of the presentations can be found at the ASA World Wide Press Room. The AIP media relations team prepared five press releases to promote the meeting and wrote several stories for Inside Science News Service about animal-related research.
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