AIP | Matters
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Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

A public eye on access to research results

For four days last week, the National Research Council of the National Academies hosted a public forum to discuss increasing access to the results of publicly funded research. This forum was set up to allow members of the research community, scientific publishers, representatives of the federal government, and the public to comment on the February 22 directive by the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy on this important topic.

This directive requires federal agencies that fund significant research (more than $100 million/year) to produce plans for making available the public versions of publications associated with agency funding, either upon publication or after a suitable embargo period. In addition, agencies are to provide plans for access to data related to publicly funded research.

Approximately 200 people participated in both forums, either in person or via web conferencing.

Plenary talks launched each forum, providing a brief history of scientific publications and associated data management. In the publications forum, Mario Biagioli of the University of California, Davis discussed the rich 350-year history of journal publishing. Jorge Contreras of American University followed with a presentation about how web-based technologies have significantly changed the production, form, and dissemination of scholarly journals. He also summarized the many forms of open access dissemination models, which are being applied to journal publishing to promote wider access to all audiences with varying needs, including the public. Meeting registrants—academics, librarians, university administrators, publishers, and volunteering members of the public—presented their comments over the next day and a half. In general, there was agreement on the primary goal of promoting wider access to journal literature, but disagreement over the best means of obtaining this goal without risk to the sustainability of the publishing enterprise.

NRC speakers

Included among those who presented remarks to the Academies in the publications forum were, from the left: Elizabeth Nolan (OSA), Joe Serene (APS), and Fred Dylla (AIP).

The publishing community was fortunate for the astute advocacy and strong support for scholarly publishing that resonated in the remarks of Elizabeth Nolan from OSA and Joe Serene from APS. By luck of the draw, I was given the last slot for comments in the publishing forum and used the opportunity to emphasize that publishers can meet the key requirements of the OSTP directive. For example, publishers were key drivers of the FundRef project, which will add funding information to the standard metadata that publishers collect from authors during the manuscript submission process. I also emphasized that if all stakeholders—the funding agencies, research community, librarians, and publishers—found productive ways to work together, the statutes of the directive could be met with little cost to the government, thus reserving precious federal research funds for research.

Public access issues are less controversial concerning access to data, because data are not intrinsically copyrightable (although a sophisticated database may have added value that would be subject to copyright). However, data management is more complicated because data comes in many forms compared to the relatively simple form of the journal article. In the second session that dealt with this topic, I offered the services of the publishing community, who should take the lead in arranging for persistent identifiers, formats, and assistance with archiving data associated with scholarly publications. I noted that many publishers are working with standards organizations such as NISO to develop data standards. Progress is being made. For example, DataCite is a new organization that assigns identifiers to data sets. I urged the government to proceed cautiously with the implementation of requirements for data management so as to minimize the already considerable administrative burdens on research grantees, and to keep the end-goal—increasing the use of data sets derived from scientific research—at the forefront.

I thank the Academies for the opportunity afforded for stakeholders and the public to voice their opinions, concerns, and advice over this very important matter. In the end, science stands to benefit.

Read the written statements and listen to the webcasts on “Public Access to Federally-Supported Research and Development Data and Publications”:

Physics Resource Matters

Librarians support AIP's Digital Archives Challenge at ACRL 2013

ACRL banner

The 2013 Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) conference was held in Indianapolis, IN (April 10-13). Librarians visiting the AIP Publishing booth in the exhibit hall were encouraged to participate in an interactive game: The AIP Digital Archives Challenge.

The Challenge, optimized for iPad display and participation, engaged librarians and allowed them to learn not only about Nobel Prize winners who had authored papers in AIP journals in the archives, but more specifically about the AIP Digital Archives' offering. The archives, previously only for lease under contract, are now available individually or as an online reference suite for a one-time purchase.

More than 100 librarians took the Challenge over the three-day exhibit period. They found it intuitive and a great way to learn. Librarians successfully completing all six questions received glow-in-the-dark t-shirts. All leads from the Challenge are presently being followed up by marketing and sales as part of a larger plan to create a lead-generation program for the Digital Archives.

Physics Resource Matters

US Women in Physics

US women in physicsIn an article for the recent SPS Observer special issue on women in physics, Statistical Research Center staff members Rachel Ivie and Susan White responded to frequently asked questions regarding women in physics. In 2002, 23% of physics bachelor's degrees in the US were earned by women. Six years later, 19% of US citizens earning physics doctorates in the United States were women. This drop-off is of great concern to the physics community. However, it is a smaller decline than the declines in biology (61% of bachelor's degrees in 2002 and 50% of doctorates in 2008) and chemistry (50% and 37%, respectively). For the answers to more commonly asked questions about women in physics, interested readers may download the article through the SPS Observer online (Winter 2012 issue), under the feature Women in Physics.

Contest for re-naming PT's marketing newsletter

Name meFor eight years Physics Today (PT) has sent a marketing newsletter to about 600 advertisers and prospects. Staff is working with a new vendor to make the newsletter more punchy and up-to-date with current marketing trends. The newsletter used to be called “Technical ADvantage.” What do YOU think it should be called?

Please take a look at some previous issues, and email your suggestions for a new name to Jeff Bebee, PT marketing director, by June 10. The best suggestion will win a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

PhysicMember Society Spotlight

APS augments its recognition programs

APS physicsThis year APS launched the Herman Feshbach Prize, named for a leading nuclear theorist from MIT, to recognize and encourage outstanding research in theoretical nuclear physics. Nominations are due on July 1. See the APS website for more details.

In addition, the new Reichert Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction will recognize outstanding achievement in teaching, sustaining, and enhancing an advanced undergraduate laboratory course. Nominations, also due on July 1st, will show positive impact on students and their subsequent careers in physics or applied physics. For more information, see the APS website.

Coming Up

May 21-22

  • Professional development and leadership training (College Park)

May 30-31

  • APS/AAPT Department Chairs Conference (College Park)

June 2-6

  • AAS 222nd Meeting (Indianapolis, IN)

June 2-7

  • ASA 165th Meeting/21st Int'l. Congress (Montreal, Quebec)

June 9-11

  • Special Libraries Association Meeting (San Diego, CA)

Wednesday, June 12

  • ACP Summer Picnic (College Park)
  • Staff birthday breakfasts (Melville and College Park)

June 9-14

  • CLEO (OSA) (San José, CA)
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