Monday, July 19, 2010

H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Roundtable update and three viewpoints

Readers of this column know that, as a publisher of scientific journals, AIP pays particular attention to public policy issues that can influence or affect the health of the scholarly publishing business. Within this forum, I have reported on the progress of the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable, which was convened in 2009 to review the issues surrounding the desirable goal of increasing access to scholarly publication especially for publications that result from public funding. The formal release of the Roundtable report in January of this year was significant for our industry. Despite completing the official commission by the US House Science and Technology Committee, members of the Roundtable committed to continue their work to chart a path forward by 1) helping various segments of the scholarly publication community—publishers, academics, and librarians—to understand the basis for our recommendations in the report; and 2) working with federal agencies for the adoption (at some level) of the Roundtable recommendations.

Roundtable members are addressing their first goal by attending various meetings of scholarly publishers and librarians to give summary presentations and take part in discussion sessions. To further expand the reach, Roundtable members have extended similar efforts to inform scientific society leadership. For instance, officers and staff from our Member and Affiliated Societies who attended the AIP Assembly of Society Officers in March participated in a lively panel discussion led by four members of the Roundtable. Last week, I joined Roundtable member Scott Plutchak, a librarian with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, for a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives in Pittsburgh. Scott and I summarized the reactions thus far from the community: As is typical of a report that attempted to build a consensus among communities that hold highly polarized views, some members of the community felt the report did not go far enough in one direction or the other. That sentiment was often tied to the role of the federal government in regulating or motivating access mechanisms for publications. However, most felt that involving representatives from the publishing, academic, and library communities in the Roundtable process had helped to change both the nature and the tone of this contentious, decade-long debate. Learned Publishing An article in the July 2010 issue of Learned Publishing reinforces that notion: Report and Recommendations from the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable. I urge you to read the article; it offers three viewpoints and reactions to the report—one from each of the communities at the center of this issue.

We recently reported on progress in shaping the government's response to the Roundtable. †In the June 7 issue of AIP Matters, I noted that the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (HR 5116), passed by the House in late May, contains language that is directly traceable to the Roundtable report. It directs the federal agencies that fund scientific research to continue a deliberative process of soliciting stakeholder input as they develop and implement public access policies. A companion bill (S. 3605) released by the Senate late last week increases the chances that the final bill will become law before the start of the new fiscal year. This legislation's primary purpose is the authorization of funding of physical science R&D for the next five years, but in addition, it provides useful guidance on the important issue of public access to scholarly publications.

Publishing Matters

AIP supports PAM at the SLA annual conference

Each year the Special Libraries Association (SLA) annual conference has proved to be an excellent venue for AIP staff to connect with librarians who make collection development decisions regarding the subject areas covered by AIP journals. AIP sent several representatives to the 2010 conference, held June 13–15 in New Orleans, LA, including: †Lori Carlin (Director, Fulfillment and Marketing Services) Paul DeCillis (Director, Online Publishing), Bernadette Garcia (Manager, Membership and Customer Service), Alison Loudon (Senior Product Manager, AIP Journals), Bruce Shriver (Senior Marketing Manager), and Julie Zhu (Senior Project Coordinator, Online Services).†

AIP booth AIP ran an exhibit booth and sponsored events for the SLA's Physics, Astronomy, and Math (PAM) division, including the PAM-Wide Roundtable and the PAM Open House. (Click here to view photos of the Open House.) Loudon gave a presentation on trends in applied physics at PAM's Physics Roundtable. Staff also conducted a focus group on journal pricing models. Twelve invited physics librarians discussed their views on AIP's journal pricing model and those of other publishers. AIP announced its 2011 pricing and new backfile policy at the conference. Librarians seemed happy and relieved to learn of AIP's nominal price increase of less than 3% on average and generous backfile policy.

Alison Loudon (center back, in gray blazer) participates in PAMís Physics Roundtable.

Beacon of Hope Zhu and Shriver took advantage of informal networking opportunities to help build personal relationships within this important customer group, and they supported the local community in the process. They participated in an SLA service project coordinated by Beacon of Hope, in which they joined 21 librarians to paint the home of a family that had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Physics Resources Center Matters

What do physics bachelors do?

employment sectorsMore than 40% of new physics bachelor's degree recipients enter the workforce after graduation. Among the core studies the Statistical Research Center (SRC) conducts is tracking the types of employment that new physics bachelors accept. The SRC recently posted focus on Physics Bachelor's Initial Employment, which presents the common career paths of recent physics bachelors. The publication describes where physics bachelors work and how much they earn and gives special attention to those employed in industry, civilian government, the active military, high-school teaching, and universities. It details the extent to which physics bachelors in different types of positions are satisfied with critical aspects of their jobs, such as the level of intellectual challenge, salaries and benefits, and opportunities for advancement.

The majority of new physics bachelors work in the private sector, and most of those individuals have positions in engineering and computer science. This focus on contains exciting new data on a broad range of knowledge and skills that the physicists regularly use in their jobs. You can find this focus on and related publications on the SRC website.

Member Society Spotlight

AAPT 2010 Summer Meeting: "50 Years with Lasers"

AAPT meeting logo, Portland 2010 Educators and students from around the country have convened at Portland State University in Portland, OR, for the AAPT 2010 Summer Meeting, July 17–21. Several AIP staff are participating. Amid a robust program on topics and issues close to the physics teaching community is a special set of offerings celebrating a half-century of laser-based innovation. Today, July 19, has been dubbed "Laser Day" and features plenary presentations on uses of lasers in precision frequency measurement, biomedical imaging and diagnosis, and treatment of the eye. Also in store is the premiere of Celebrating 50 Years of the Laser, a new documentary on the development and applications of lasers. The film is produced by SPIE, an international society advancing light-based researcht.

As a show of support, Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski declared July 18–24, 2010, "Physics Education Week." According to the AAPT press release, Kulongoski recognized the importance of physics to the global economy and called on state residents to encourage others to learn more about physics education.

AAPT will be tweeting and posting updates to the AAPT Facebook page before and during the meeting. Plug in for more information!

This week at AIP
  • July 17–21 – AAPT 2010 Summer Meeting (Portland, OR)
  • July 18–22 – AAPM Annual Meeting (Philadelphia, PA)
  • July 24–29 – ACA Annual Meeting (Chicago, IL)

We invite your feedback to this newsletter via email to aipmatters@aip.org.

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