AIP | Matters
-- -- November 26, 2012

Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Who foots the bill for research?

Discussion and debate abound in academic circles over the “open” topic—be it open publications, open data, or open processes that underlie the research enterprise. Openness generally applies to the ease of access to information for the intended audience or to the transparency of a process for all involved. Two weeks ago, our community witnessed a boost to the openness of research with the public launch of a community-wide project to promote the identity of who funds research behind a publication in a scholarly journal. I introduced this initiative to you in the May 14 issue with the announcement of the “FundRef” pilot program. A half year later, we are seeing significant progress toward our goal of funding transparency.

Even though it is usually a professional courtesy, if not a requirement, for authors to cite who funded the research project that is described within their article, it is often not easy to find within the manuscript. CrossRef, a nonprofit corporation formed by a group of scholarly publishers in 2000, was uniquely positioned to standardize the treatment of this information. CrossRef has already helped to systematize and archive standard bibliographic data on every publication so that articles can be identified. It has also developed a standard electronic watermark—CrossMark—that identifies the official “Version of Record” to assist researchers in differentiating between various article versions that typically result from queries to web search engines. The protocols developed for the CrossMark project also allow a publisher to embed other useful information, such as funding sources. The FundRef project calls for manuscript submission platforms to require that authors expressly identify the funders of their research at the time of submission, and for publishers to deliver this information uniformly. Funding agencies will be able to offer to the public a straightforward link to the official Version of Record of an article that is maintained by the publisher.

I verbalized this opportunity during a brief talk to the members of CrossRef at their 2010 Annual Meeting. Two years later, at the 2012 Annual Meeting, I joined Kevin Dolby from the Wellcome Trust to present the results of the pilot project, a modest partnership involving seven publishers (including AIP) and four funding agencies that have worked together since March. My talk is available through the AIP website.

For funding agencies, the wide availability of this data provides an essential element of accountability. Enabling searches by funding agency, and in a second phase of the project by grant number, will enable funding agencies, researchers, and the public to sort publications by this new key identifier.

FundRef will fill an important missing link in the debate regarding the openness of scientific research. We now have a clear means of finding and identifying who paid for research when it is presented in its most valuable format—the archival, peer-reviewed publication.

Publishing Matters

Reaching out to the plasma physics community in China

Editor Ron Davidson and Journal Manager Benedetta Camarota at AIP’s Physics of Plasma booth at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics.

AIP Publishing representatives attended the annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s (APS) Division of Plasma Physics (DPP), held in Providence, RI, October 29–November 2. Authors and researchers who visited AIP’s Physics of Plasma (PoP) booth offered positive feedback. The booth was in a central location and generated a lot of traffic and interest in the journal, as well as interest in the PoP swag and a sponsored iPad drawing. Researchers also stopped by the booth to commend the work of the editor and editorial staff. When asked for feedback about their publication experience, authors who have published with PoP remarked that they were pleased with the fairness of review and expedience of publication. PoP held an author reception for the invited speakers of the DPP meeting. The speakers were invited to submit an original manuscript to be published in a special section of PoP next year. At the Associate Editors’ Luncheon, PoP Editor Ron Davidson provided information about the growth of the journal and discussed new ideas about how to add to the already-rich plasma physics content in PoP.

Physics Resources Matters

AIP's 2011 history of physics conference generates results

History of Science SocietyIn the Summer of 2011, 54 young historians of physics from 15 countries converged on ACP for an exciting four-day conference. This meeting of early-career scholars, the first in history of physics in 10 years, generated remarkable excitement. We are still seeing the results of that buzz. Just as the conference was organized completely by the young historians, they also have taken the lead to reinvigorate the history of physics. A University of Minnesota PhD candidate, Joe Martin, spearheaded the effort to bring physics back to prominence at the History of Science Society (HSS).

In the 1960s, physics was the preeminent science discussed at HSS meetings, but that has faded significantly since the 1980s. Martin and other young historians petitioned HSS in 2011 for a Physical Sciences Forum, a subgroup that could bring physics back. HSS approved the petition last week.
The forum held its first meeting with about 30 attendees, who decided on three programming goals. First, it will sponsor sessions on history of physics at every HSS meeting. Second, each HSS meeting will have a public lecture by a distinguished physicist or historian of physics. And lastly, the forum will bring back the biennial Seminar for the History of Physical Science, where young scholars will be able to present their first conference presentations in a supportive, mentoring environment. The first will occur in 2013, probably in Philadelphia. It is an exciting time for supporters of the history of physics!

Coming Up

Through November 27

  • Donations of food may be brought to the lunchroom to advance the efforts of Long Island Cares (Melville)

Thursday, November 29

  • Milestone awards presentation (College Park)

December 3–7

  • AGU 2012 Fall Meeting (San Francisco, CA)

Through December 10

  • Toys for Tots Drive—Donations of new, unwrapped gifts may be placed in the collection bin in the lunchroom. (Melville)

Wednesday, December 12

  • Staff birthday breakfasts (Melville and College Park)

Thursday, December 13

  • Milestone awards presentation and quarterly all-staff update (Melville)
  • Holiday party (Melville)

Wednesday, December 19

  • Holiday party (College Park)

Through December 19

  • ACP holiday gift drive, benefiting College Park Youth and Family Services—Staff may select a gift request from one of the pantries and place wrapped gifts in the collection box. (College Park)