Monday, September 27, 2010

L-R:John Haynes, Eva Adams Director's Matters

Guest column by John Haynes, Vice President, Publishing and Eva Adams, Director, Strategy and Corporate Communications

On the pulse of the STM publishing industry

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) is a leading association for publishers, with 360 members in 36 countries. The ALPSP International Conference was held September 8–10, 2010. Only in its third year, the conference has rapidly established its position as a key conference for the scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishing industry. This year's conference sold out, with more than 250 participants attending three days of sessions. The rapid and successful emergence of the conference is due to its program–a well-balanced mixture of preconference workshops, plenary lectures, and parallel sessions, with engaging speakers and many opportunities for networking.

ALPSP International Conference

Richard Horton (Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet) kicked off the conference with a powerful keynote address in which he advocated for the research journal and its role in wider society. Horton took a strong stance on peer review, claiming that perhaps it was not the arbiter of scientific quality and calling for publishers to provide evidence that it was an effective method of screening research. Horton sees science as a catalyst for social change and journals as having a role in triggering that change. He called on publishers to work with librarians as partners, not customers—a theme echoed in other sessions. John Vaughn (Executive Vice President, Association of American Universities) delivered the second keynote of the conference. Vaughn focused on the work of the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable and the broader issues of scholarly communication. (At last year's conference, Fred Dylla presented the closing keynote, "A 360-Degree View of Scholarly Publishing," on a related topic.)

The closing plenary, titled "The Library of the Future," dealt with developments in technology, economic issues surrounding collection management, and the role of libraries as institutional repositories. There was also an opportunity to hear industry updates (for example, on DeepDyve, an article rental scheme that AIP journals are participating in, and CrossMark, a CrossRef initiative for 2011 designed to assist in the identification of the publisher's version of record). Attendees could dip into the Scholarly Kitchen Live, where the "chefs" were serving up many "dishes" from their blog, or hear an Oxford Union-style debate on the probability of web 2.0 technologies and post-publication review supplanting traditional peer review. Two sessions on the emerging economies in Brazil, Russia, India, and China drew a lot of interest. "Building BRICs – Selling into Emerging Markets" provided helpful information about the potential of those markets for scholarly publishers, and "How to Get Best Content from China," a preconference workshop, offered advice on navigating the political, cultural, logo collageand other complexities in China to establish a successful presence and capitalize on opportunities. John Haynes and Nicola Gulley (Institute of Physics Publishing) discussed the practical aspects and the benefits of establishing a local presence in China. A fascinating session was also presented on how publishers are transforming research outputs with projects such as ChemSpider (winner of the ALPSP Award for Publishing Innovation), Project Prospect, Utopia Documents (providing semantic markup for the chemistry and biochemistry communities, respectively), and DynamicBooks (a system that allows instructors and students to mark up online textbooks).

This account only gives a small taste of the meeting. For more, the presentations from the conference are available on the ALPSP website at www.alpspconference.org.

Physics Resources Center Matters

Ode to a summer job

The Nucleus, the undergraduate student collection of the ComPADRE digital library, is asking students to call upon their creative side and try their hand at scientific poetry. The challenge:  to describe their summer experiences in acrostic form; the first letters in each line spell out a message. Here's what two poets who found gainful employment had to say:

Didn't this code compile yesterday?
Error free and a breeze
But now I get this message on my screen
Unhandled exception and publish fail
Give me a break! I didn't change a thing
Go back to my code and - oh....
I should probably comment out this line I added as a test
Never mind.
Google, your help is not needed here today.

(x12179x)

Refreshing break from a pipeline job, an
Exploration of highly excited atoms included
Scanning pungent physics texts,
Extravagant with curvy greek letters.
Alluring, they beckon like sirens.
Resistance is futile! I'm
Captivated by their elegance,
Hopeful to invent a new configuration.

(Anonymous)

The Nucleus is supported by NSF, maintained by the Society of Physics Students, and houses the popular Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, a discussion board and blog, physics contests, textbook reviews, and more. SPS has been the prime developer of content for the Nucleus website since its beginnings; it is probably the only example of a federally-funded digital library in which students play a key role.

The Nucleus

The editorial team, led by David Donnelly of Texas State University, has rolled out some new features this year, starting with a new look—purple, edgy, and dynamic. Fun physics videos, popular among students of all ages, capture exploding stuff, imploding stuff, and demos that fuel excitement over what science can do. There are several recent career interviews in the Ask the Expert section, and a recent blog entry discusses Stephen Hawking's new book. The site is most active in the spring, when thousands of physics students come to The Nucleus to compare summer research positions. Although currently there are only a few listings, in December the clearinghouse will showcase research opportunities—in physics and interdisciplinary science—from more than a hundred campuses and institutions.

Around AIP

Oracle financials upgrade

Oracle logo Accounting and Business Systems and Operations completed a major upgrade of the Oracle Financials Suite of applications. In addition to an upgrade from version 11i to release 12 (R12), the application was migrated to virtualized servers running the Linux operating system. This was the last Oracle database to move to Linux virtualized servers. The VMWare virtualization suite provides more efficient resource management and protection against hardware failuresall for less cost. R12 includes a number of new features and facilities. These include greater integration with Excel for reporting and data transfer, enhanced data controls, and an improved user interface. The Accounting team is planning to utilize additional R12 functionality based on AIP business needs.

The marathon upgrade started on a Thursday evening and finished on Sunday with technical staff working around the clock to have the application ready for users on Monday morning.

Got blood?

The ACP Blood Drive will be held on Wednesday, October 6, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Conference Room A. Please contact Donna Jones to reserve a time for your donation. A drawing will be held from among all donors for a chance to win a gift card. Your donation can help save a life!

This week at AIP

Events at ACP (College Park, MD)

Monday, September 27

  • AIP Executive Committee Meeting

Thursday, September 30

  • ACP Green Committee brown bag lunch seminar, 12 noon. Representatives from WeatherizeDC will give a presentation on improving the energy performance of your home; Q & A to follow.

SPS logoSeptember 30 – October 2

  • Society of Physics Students Council Meeting

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

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