AIP | Matters
-- -- April 15, 2013

Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Bookends at a library conference

BookendsFor any business to remain healthy, the relationship between supplier and consumer must be sustained. For the enterprise of scholarly publishing, the relationship between journal publishers and research librarians is a critical factor influencing the degree to which both parties benefit.

Early in my career at AIP, Congressman Bart Gordon, who then chaired the House Science Committee, asked me to help form a working group of stakeholders to recommend a path forward on the fractious debate within the academic community about open access journals. This led to the 2009 formation of the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable and its subsequent 2010 report to Congress. The Roundtable's recommendations are still playing out as US science funding agencies react to the February 22 OSTP directive calling for agencies to produce plans for making journal articles resulting from federally funded research freely available by August. The obvious thorny problem is how to achieve this without harming the publishing business, but possible harm to the library community must be factored in as well. The dominant subscription model for journals is managed by librarians. Their role will be affected by open access models that move the flow of funds directly to authors or to their research administrators. All stakeholders in this transaction will have to adapt.

T. Scott Plutchak, director of the Lister Hill Library for the Health Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been an important part of this developing story. We worked closely together on the Roundtable and shared the sentiment that the open access debate had been dominated by polarized and vocal segments of both the library and publishing communities. The worsening of this relationship had affected the ability of both parties to identify and build support for anything resembling a consensus solution. Plutchak played a crucial role, helping this multi-stakeholder group to find common ground and to compromise. He continues to help push the Roundtable recommendations toward practical policies that funding agencies could implement . . . with support from partnerships founded on strong publisher—librarian relationships.

Since the Roundtable, Scott and I have both been on the circuit in each other’s camps to help publishers and librarians understand each other’s viewpoints on the overlapping issues of public access to publicly funded research, open research, and open access business models for publications. We noticed that for routine business transactions, such as negotiating subscription and licensing arrangements or joint participation in publication standards meetings, both groups tend to interact reasonably to the benefit of both parties. But two-sided discussions on “open issues” at conferences tended to be weighted to the side that convened the meeting. Scott and I have made it a personal mission to change this dynamic at our respective gatherings. I have helped arrange for Scott to chair panel discussions of librarians at meetings of the two major publishing trade associations: the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, and the International STM Publisher’s Association. Scott invited me to talk at the Medical Librarian Association and moderated an interview between me and another Roundtable colleague, Paul Courant, university librarian and dean of libraries at the University of Michigan at the Charleston (Library) Conference.

Last March, Scott and I were seated at opposite ends of the witness row for the congressional hearing on public access and helped steer the discussions to the figurative middle. Last week we were invited to present the opening and closing plenaries at the largest meeting for librarians and publishers in the United Kingdom: The UKSG Annual Conference.

UKSG masthead

My talk was a requested review of the rapidly evolving public access policy situation in the US. However, I opened with emphasizing the need to return the publisher—librarian relationship to the healthy synergy that I witnessed during my days as a working scientist and before the irritations of the public access debate. Publishers, researchers, research funding agencies, and librarians all share the fundamental goal of widely promoting and curating the results of research. It would be counterproductive for these seminal products of research to be hidden and not widely accessible. In the conference’s closing plenary address, Scott reinforced this theme. As the conference closed with the three days of talks on the “conference shelf,” we both liked the metaphor and appreciated the opportunity of providing the conference “bookends.”

Physics Resource Matters

New AIP Publishing logo unveiled

AIP Publishing logoAIP Publishing's Marketing Department introduced a new logo last week. Identifying closely with the AIP brand, AIP Publishing's logo will use the same colors and typography. The new logo will start appearing on AIP Publishing's stationary and marketing collateral.

Physics Resource Matters

Interact with students at Six Flags Day

SPS Members at Six Flags
SPS members from local campuses prepare non-Newtonian fluids for one of the demo stations at Six Flags

Each year, high school teachers are invited to bring their physics, science, and math students to a nearby Six Flags theme park on a Friday when the park is not open to regular visitors for a chance to experience centripetal force, velocity, and gravity on a scale they can't replicate in the classroom. The SPS National Office will join with staff from several of the AIP Member Societies and undergraduates from SPS chapters in the region at the Six Flags facility in Bowie, MD, to host information tables, provide accelerometer stations near popular rides (and assist with analyzing fun roller coaster data), and show off a variety of physics demonstrations. Most importantly, this group of dedicated volunteers will spend the day talking to interested students about the benefits of studying physics.

If you are interested in interacting with the thousands of students who will take advantage of this amusement-park-as-science-lab on Friday, April 26, register here! Volunteers are briefed on all accelerometers and demonstration setups and receive a free t-shirt for their efforts. And yes, volunteers will also have plenty of time to play on the rides after the physics stations close! If you are unable to volunteer but would like to provide some giveaways for the information tables, please contact an SPS staff member.

Lake Shore video captures Physics Today

Randy Nanna at APSPhysics Today was featured in a video prepared by Bethany Lee from Lake Shore Cryotronics, capturing her company's experience at the APS March Meeting. Lake Shore is a strong supporter of and frequent advertiser in Physics Today. The video is available through Lake Shore's blog. See Randy Nanna's interview in the PT Exhibitor Lounge at 3:00 minutes into the video.

Physics Resource Matters

Let's do lunch!

To help staff members of the Physics Resources Center get to know one another better and to learn about the work accomplished by its various divisions, PRC is holding a series of informal lunches to discuss our programs and services and how they address the needs of different audiences. A secondary goal is to look for collaboration opportunities. Small group discussions will center on various groups of stakeholders, such as Member Societies, journalists, students, policy makers, etc.

Physics Resource Matters

IOMP announces International Day of Medical Physics

IOMP logoFrom the AAPM website: To raise awareness of our profession, the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) will celebrate this year, on November 7, the International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP). On that day in 1867, Marie Sklodowska-Curie, known for her pioneering research on radioactivity, was born in Poland. The theme of IDMP 2013 is “Radiation Exposure from Medical Procedures: Ask the Medical Physicist!” This is an excellent opportunity to promote the role of medical physicists in the worldwide medical scene.

Coming Up

Monday, April 15

  • Welcome breakfast for Roy Levenson, new Chief Financial Officer of AIP Publishing (Melville)

Tuesday, April 23

  • ACP Art Reception (College Park)

Thursday, April 25

  • Lyne Starling Trimble Science Heritage Public Lecture, 6-8 pm.
    Phil Schewe will discuss his new book, Maverick Genius: The Pioneering Odyssey of Freeman Dyson (College Park).

April 30-May 2

  • STM Spring Conference (Washington, DC)

Thursday, May 2

  • ACP Blood Drive