AIP | Matters
-- -- May 13 , 2013
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Paul Guinnessy Director's Matters

Guest column by Paul Guinnessy, Strategy Manager, Physics Today

Innovations in publishing

“Everybody is a data scientist now,” stated Dennis Gannon, director of cloud research strategy at Microsoft, at the opening of his keynote speech at the STM Innovations seminar in Washington, DC, last month. There will be two particularly intriguing developments for scholarly publishers to look for in the next couple of years, said Gannon. The first is an automatic, scientifically accurate, translated journal abstract from English to other languages or vice versa. The second is real-time voice-to-voice translations, which will include adapting your own vocal “signatures,” such as tone and pitch, as part of the process. (Eric Schmidt’s new book, The New Digital Age, describes a similar interaction in the opening chapter.) The philosophy behind all these moves is to get scientists back to what they want to focus on—the science—rather than becoming part-time programmers or system administrators.

The seminar was a precursor to the STM spring conference, organized annually for scientific publishers and their colleagues, to discuss the trends and issues facing the industry. I outline just a few below:

Public identity. How do you actually tell that a scientist is who they say they are? How do you list all of the papers connected to an individual author? Micah Altman from MIT Libraries noted that current identifiers are split into a number of different pieces depending on their private, professional, or social usage. Nearly all of us have Facebook or LinkedIn pages; some researchers also have webpages and are listed in directories connected to their employer. The problem, said Altman, is that if you use a service like LinkedIn to identify an individual for a service, you’re linking your product to a single, commercial entity that might not be around 30–40 years from now. The most attractive solution, he said, was proposed by a group of publishers who came together to form the international nonprofit organization ORCID, which standardizes author identifiers across the board. So far, more than 100,000 researchers have claimed an ORCID ID, and many publishers are developing processes so that ORCID IDs can be used as part of the submission process.

To google or not to google? One of the more intriguing data points to come out of the meeting was that physicists use the general Google search engine for research more than scientists in any other field. Chemists love Google Scholar more, but other fields seem to use more authoritative research tools such as Web of Science or RSI Thompson’s Index to conduct their research, said consultant Simon Inger. His data, which was collated from 19,000 respondents (report), showed the importance of society web pages, table of contents alerts, and the growth of editor highlights as ways of researchers finding content.

Mobile mania. Julie Kane, from Sweet Briar College, described working in an environment in which the iPad was king. One of the most difficult challenges facing librarians and publishers is how to provide services to tablet and mobile devices without having to go through complicated authentication procedures. An iPad app called BrowZine seems a clever way to solve it. The college created a periodical library in the app that is automatically activated when a user opens the program in the college library and updates, no matter where the user is afterward, for a set time period.

What works for you? The last event of the conference was a flash session that showcased effective products, services, or strategies. Panelists discussed strategies to persuade researchers to buy or download articles through rental options or showing the first page of the article instead of the abstract. New online courses (MOOCS) could make use of copyright material from journals in an easy, cost-effective manner. A new product called ReadCube could allow a library to more easily disseminate funds for researchers to buy content connected to their research, a practice that very few authors—only about 3.6%—currently do. Building niche communities for certain publications strengthens links between authors and journals. Finally, delivering services that respond directly to user needs will increase chances of success. For example, doctors love aggregated information that is cut down into useful nuggets that they can use daily in their jobs.

The clear message from the events is that although the underlying content remains the same, the ways in which that content is accessed or used is still changing. Despite new models of payment, display, or licensing which will develop over the next few years, researchers will still need a publisher to manage it all.

Physics Resource Matters

Chemistry in New Orleans

JCP Managing Editor Kharissia Pettus engages with ACS conference goers at the AIPP booth. From the left: Former JCP Editor Don Levy, JCP Editor Marsha Lester, and former Associate Editor Horia Metiu

JCP Managing Editor Kharissia Pettus engages with ACS conference goers at the AIPP booth.

From the left: Former JCP Editor Don Levy, JCP Editor Marsha Lester, and former Associate Editor Horia Metiu

AIP Publishing staff attended and exhibited at the ACS Spring Conference in New Orleans in early April. More than 300 attendees signed up to receive e-alerts for The Journal of Chemical Physics (JCP) and were entered into a drawing to win an iPad. The Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) was one of the green pavilion sponsors. Marsha I. Lester, editor of JCP, hosted an elegant 80th anniversary reception at the Windsor Court Hotel. Don Levy, guest speaker and former editor of JCP, addressed a crowd of 100 who came out to celebrate.

Welcome new staff members

LevensonAIP Publishing has appointed Roy Levenson as its first chief financial officer. In this role, Roy will take the lead on financial planning, accounting, and human resources activities. He will also have responsibility for customer service and fulfillment. Roy brings with him a deep knowledge and understanding of strategic finance in a publishing environment. Prior to joining AIP Publishing, Roy worked for Access 360 Media. His earlier work experience included serving as chief financial officer for the Americas for Cambridge University Press, and as vice president of Finance and Operations for Barnes & Noble Publishing.

ButlerWaylon Butler is the new director of Business Operations for AIP Publishing. Waylon has more than 12 years of operations, customer service, fulfillment, and IT experience gained at NBCUniversal, The Jiraffe Group, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. As a certified project management professional, Waylon will lead the Customer Service and Fulfillment teams in the implementation of paperless processing, new accounts receivable and order systems, and will streamline operations.

Physics Resource Matters

Celebrating Women in Physics

History Cente Flickr page

In March, to help celebrate Women’s History Month, the Niels Bohr Library and Archives (NBL&A) staff created a set on our Flickr page. The set showcases some of the photos, oral histories, and archival resources about prominent women physicists in our collections and around the country. NBL&A staff promoted the set through Facebook and Twitter. Because of the excellent response, the Flickr page has been added as a regular feature of the NBL&A website. The set includes female pioneers in physics history, such as Melba Phillips and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, and women important to AIP and its Member Societies. These include past presidents Elsa Garmire of OSA, Janet Guernsey of AAPT, and Katherine Safford Harris of ASA. The Flickr page is now our most viewed set of photographs online and continues to get more views each day.

Welcome new staff members

BardiJason Bardi has returned to AIP as the director of Media Services. Jason has worked for the past two years at the University of California, San Francisco, as a public information officer at UCSF Medical Center and as a writer covering cancer, AIDS, neuroscience, global health, and biophysics. In 2012 he successfully launched UCSF’s first-ever blog and garnered major media attention for UCSF in places like the New York Times, WSJ, USA Today, Good Morning America, and NPR. Jason holds bachelor’s degrees in physics, mathematics, and English (University of Hartford, 1995), and master’s degrees in molecular biophysics and science writing (Johns Hopkins, 1998 and 2000).

GolembekDaniel Golombek is the new manager for SPS/Sigma Pi Sigma Membership and Leadership. An astronomer by training, Daniel has years of experience at the Space Telescope Science Institute where he held a variety of positions, including chief of staff and executive communications officer. Before joining AIP, he worked as a consultant for Associated Universities. Daniel holds a PhD in physics from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina (1995) and an MA from The Johns Hopkins University (1986). He has a passion for helping students achieve great things, and we look forward to his contributions to the SPS/Sigma Pi Sigma programs.

PhysicMember Society Spotlight

OSA, together with SPIE and MRS, announces their 2013-14 Congressional science and Engineering Fellows

OSA Fellows

Left: Carly Robinson, Right: Sydney Kaufman

From the May 7, 2013, OSA press release:

The Optical Society (OSA); SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics; and the Materials Research Society (MRS) are pleased to announce their 2013–2014 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows. Carly Robinson, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder), will serve as the 2013–2014 Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow co-sponsored by OSA and SPIE, and Sydney Kaufman, also a Ph.D. candidate at CU-Boulder, will serve as the OSA/MRS Congressional Fellow. Each will serve one-year terms working as special legislative assistants on the staffs of U.S. congressional offices or committees in Washington, D.C. (Continue reading the release.)

Coming Up

May 14 - 17

  • AGU Meeting of the Americas (Cancun, Mexico)

May 21 - 22

  • Professional Development and Leadership Training (College Park)

May 30 - 31

  • APS/AAPT Department Chairs Conference (College Park)
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