Monday, February 1, 2010
H. Frederick Dylla

Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Following the Roundtable

Three weeks ago, the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable released its report outlining its recommendations to the federal government on how to accomplish public access to federally funded research. The Roundtable was set up in 2009 by the US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). On the day of the report's release, I summarized its key recommendations in AIP Matters (January 12 edition).

So what has been the reaction to the report since its release? The response, although measured, resulted in wide-ranging opinions. For example, advocates of a legislative mandate for immediate free public access to any publication resulting from federally funded research were disappointed because the Roundtable did not advocate such a solution. Publishing organizations (both commercial and nonprofit) expressed some reservations about the government's attempt to regulate the property (i.e., publications), which involves publisher investment and value added. Many organizations have expressed respect for the Roundtable's approach to this delicate issue (aptly described in Science magazine) and agree with the recommendation to involve all parties—the government, publishers, and the academic sector—in charting a path forward.

In a related development, one week after release of the Roundtable report, the OSTP closed the public comment period on the issue of public access to scholarly publications, allowing little time for those commenting to consider the Roundtable report before offering their commentary. Nonetheless, several thoughtful remarks on the Roundtable's recommendations were submitted to OSTP, all of which will eventually be posted online. In the interim, you can view comments submitted by AIP; the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers; and many other scientific societies on the DC Principles site.

Over the course of the last three weeks, I have been presenting and discussing the report's recommendations in numerous forums. On January 20, I was invited to the Academic Publishing in Europe Conference in Berlin, Germany, to summarize the report. The heads of the International Publishers Association and the International Federation of Library Associations moderated subsequent discussion and commented that the report represented a welcome shift in both the tone and the substance of the public-access debate. Last Wednesday, I discussed the report before the University Library Council at the University of Maryland—where the reaction was similar.

This week, I will join a forum on public-interest issues that will kick off the annual conference of the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers. Two other Roundtable participants will join me: Jim O'Donnell, Georgetown University provost (who will also give the keynote address), and Phil Davis, a PhD candidate from Cornell University whose research involves access issues in scholarly publishing. On March 25, AIP Member and Affiliated Society executives and Governing Board members will hear from three Roundtable participants at the Assembly of Society Officers in College Park.

In keeping with the Roundtable's expectations to establish a forum for continuing the discussion, I and my Roundtable colleagues have been asked to participate in numerous other forums this spring. I will keep you informed as this engagement continues.

Publishing Matters

MMM—polarizing the US Capitol

MMM logo In mid-January, the 11th Joint Magnetism and Magnetic Materials–Intermag Conference was held in Washington, DC. Mirroring the excitement of this expanding and robust field, the conference achieved the largest number of both submissions and paper presentations in its 27-year history. In addition, it had the second largest number of attendees ever, at 1,707—bested only by its 1998 joint conference in San Francisco. Every third year, AIP and the IEEE Magnetics Society team up to cosponsor a joint meeting for scientists and engineers in all branches of fundamental and applied magnetism, with programs consisting of invited and contributed papers. Program co-chair Professor Hiroaki Muraoka of Tohoku University (second from right) addresses the conference's advisory committee. Emphasis is placed on experimental and theoretical research in magnetism, the properties and synthesis of new magnetic materials, and advances in magnetic technology. Volunteers from the magnetism research community manage the conference and make outstanding contributions to its success. This year's special symposia explored topics such as large-scale facilities for magnetic research, recent advances in microscopy of magnetic materials, magnetic medical imaging technology, and magnetism on the international technology roadmap for semiconductors. Journal of Applied Physics was well represented in the exhibit hall at the 11th Joint MMM–Intermag Conference. Pictured at right are Janis Bennett and Bill Burke. Martin (Bill) Burke, AIP's former journal publisher, attended the meeting as the AIP representative and voting member of the committees. Janis Bennett—AIP's managing editor, editorial operations—oversaw the publications traffic and participated in planning for future conferences. The 55th Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials will take place in Atlanta this November, and the next joint conference will be convened in January 2013 in Chicago. For more information about the MMM conference, visit www.magnetism.org.

PRC Matters

focus on data that matter

focus on
The Statistical Research Center is pleased to announce a new publication series called focus on. As of November 2009, these online-only publications have replaced the printed reports that the SRC had traditionally produced. In addition, what was once a single printed report is now a set of focus ons. This new serial format allows the SRC to release findings in a more timely manner. Since each focus on highlights a particular topic of interest, these new publications will also help users find the data they need more quickly.

The first focus ons are now posted on the SRC website. Two examine enrollment and degree trends in physics and astronomy:
focus on Physics Undergraduate Enrollments and Degrees
focus on Astronomy Enrollments and Degrees
Two provide the latest data on physics and astronomy faculty:
focus on Astronomy Faculty
focus on Number of Physics Faculty

Fundraising rebounds

After a difficult year of fundraising in 2008, primarily due to the economic meltdown that crippled the global economy in the fall of 2007, AIP's development efforts resurged in 2009. While we wait for the final fundraising results for 2009, preliminary numbers show that nearly a half a million dollars was raised on behalf of the Center for History of Physics. More than half of this amount was generously given by the Avenir Foundation, with the aim of establishing more robust development capabilities in the coming years. In addition, the History Center saw a modest bounce back in its direct mail campaign in 2009. Fundraising results for Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, also recovered. Sigma Pi Sigma raised 52% more in 2009 than in 2008—a substantial increase. The vast majority of these funds resulted from direct mail efforts.

Around AIP

Physics colloquia at UMD

physics UMD Once a week during each semester, the University of Maryland Physics Department hosts physics colloquia that are open to the public. Prominent scientists from around the country are invited to speak in the series, which provides an excellent opportunity for faculty, students, and the local science community to learn about some of the most intriguing topics in the field of physics today. Colloquia are held Tuesdays at 4:00 pm in the Physics Building, Room 1410 (preceded by refreshments at 3:30). On Tuesday, February 2, Tony Heinz of Columbia University will present a lecture, "Seeing Electrons in One and Two Dimensions: Optics of Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene." For more information and to see what's on the horizon, see the spring 2010 colloquia schedule.

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.