President's Letter — October 2009
On 12 October 2009, the Resource Center for Associations (RC) took over the provision of management services for CSE. The leaders of CSE are excited about the opportunities this new relationship will afford our organization. We are confident that RC will support CSE as we work to achieve the goals of our strategic planning and will provide us with direction as we move into the future.
CSE officers and committee chairs have been working with RC staff to ensure a smooth transition. Our new executive director, and president of RC, David Stumph, has been closely involved in the transition process. Dave is supported by many other members of the RC staff, especially Carla Pacheco, association administrator and meeting manager for CSE. Feel free to contact Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carla (email@example.com) with your administrative questions. And, as always, if you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to contact me at dLang@press.uchicago.edu. I look forward to hearing from you!
Diane Lang, President
Recommendations of potential candidates are being solicited for the following positions on the CSE Board of Directors: Vice President, Treasurer Elect, and Director. To learn more about these positions or to submit a recommendation, go to the CSE Web site and click on the "Members Only" tab. Then choose "Send Suggestions to the Nominations Committee."
Recommendations will be sent to the CSE Nominating Committee for consideration, and the committee's nominations will be sent to the CSE Board of Directors for review. Self-recommendations will not be accepted. The deadline for receipt of recommendations is 30 November 2009.
Diane Scott-Lichter, CSE Past President and Chair, Nominations Committee
Recommendations of potential candidates are being solicited for the following CSE awards and honors: Award for Meritorious Achievement, Distinguished Service Award, and Certificate of Appreciation. To learn more about these awards and honors or to submit a recommendation, go to the CSE Web site and click on the "Members Only" tab. Then choose "Send Suggestions to the Awards and Honors Committee."
Recommendations will be sent to the CSE Awards and Honors Committee for consideration, and the committee's nominations will be sent to the CSE Board of Directors for review. Self-recommendations will not be accepted.
Ana Marusic, Chair, Awards and Honors Committee
With a theme as compelling as that of the 2010 CSE Annual Meeting, "The Changing Climate of Scientific Publishing: The Heat Is On," there had better be a program to match! While the keynote and plenary speakers will be discussing the actual global climate-change process and its implications, more than 2 dozen sessions will focus on the rapidly changing climate of scientific publishing. With topics ranging from the effective use of social media in our various disciplines, to marketing journals internationally, to the continuously evolving STM workplace, the meeting will leave you with ideas and practical tools to take home and immediately use to your advantage. Plan to join us in Atlanta in May 2010!
Ken Heideman and Denis Baskin, Co-Chairs, Program Committee
The Sixth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication was held 10-12 September 2009 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, BC, Canada. With the venue only steps away from Stanley Park, participants were treated to wonderful views of this city's mountains and waterways.
Each day started with a plenary address; the first day's speaker was Steven Goodman of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who discussed the meaning of statistical "significance" in biomedical research. Harold C. Sox, Jr, former editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, opened the second day with a report on comparative effectiveness trials. On the final day, Drummond Rennie of JAMA discussed the goals, history, and success of the quadrennial Peer Review Congresses.
After the plenary address each day, an international group of researchers and editors presented 10-minute talks on a variety of subjects connected with research and peer review. Ten minutes of lively questions and answers followed each presenter's talk. Topic areas included authorship and contributorship; peer review; data sharing and conflicts of interest; editorial training, decisions, policies, and ethics; publication pathways; publication bias; rhetoric; trial registration; quality of reporting; and post-publication citations, indexing, responses, and online publishing.
More than 60 posters were presented on Friday and Saturday, each representing research performed by journal staff around the world. In fact, the entire Congress was notable for the number of countries represented including, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, China, Russia, Denmark, Australia, Croatia, Norway, United Kingdom, and Spain.
Printable versions of the full program and the plenary session and poster abstracts are available on the Peer Review Congress Web site.
Rebecca S. Benner, Secretary, CSE Board of Directors
The Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) held its annual international meeting in September in Oxford, England. Attendance was up over 40% on last year, with 30% from overseas. Roughly 40% of participants represented society publishers or university presses, 10% academics and librarians, 20% commercial publishers and 30% publishing service providers and consultants. Reflecting its increasing international membership, especially in North America and Australasia, ALPSP elected its first out-of-UK chair, Toby Groves. Toby is head of publishing at the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Marketing strategies in the 21st century
A preconference workshop dealt with tools and services to help publishers keep up to date with advanced up-selling, cross-selling and techniques such as mapping individual subscriber data and IP address turnaways to identify new subscription opportunities. Speakers included Charlie Rapple (TBI Communications) and Helen Henderson (Ringgold Inc). Helen described her company's solution to tracking potential subscribers using institutional identifiers and constructing the Ringgold Identify database to assist publishers to match their own data against a reliable external yardstick. James Culling (DataSalon) presented a tool for marketing campaigns, MasterVision, developed with input from OUP and BMJ. Amongst other applications, it holds base data, creates customer profiles, allows flexible searches and creates statistical information such as cost per download; it matches "affiliated individuals" such as authors or online registrants to institutions for use in marketing campaigns.
Ian Russell (CEO, ALPSP) reported the organisation's membership survey on the nature and extent of preservation strategies in a digital environment where many publishers have yet to develop an archival strategy for their electronic content.
Ruud Vermeulen (SWETS) discussed ALPSP's learned journal collection (ALJC), which now encompasses 49 publishers with 774 titles. The aim is to assist smaller publishers sell combined journal packages to consortia and other large buyers. Ruth Jones (Ingram Digital Ltd) examined the analogous ALPSP e-Books Collection (AeBC) launched this year on the MyiLibrary platform, starting with 1200 titles from 15 publishers.
The main conference opened with a plenary session by John Blossom (Shore Communications Inc) entitled "Evolving with content nation: Changing the DNA of society through social media publishing." He was followed by Fred Dylla (CEO, American Institute of Physics [AIP]), who looked at the changing landscape of the scholarly publishing process. He reminded participants of how "pdf warehouses," initiatives like arXiv, and institutional repositories now coexist with conventional scholarly publishing models. Currently, AIP is participating in a roundtable set up by the US House of Representatives' science and technology committee to involve publishers, libraries, and academia in managing issues such as expanded access, interoperability, and re-use. To coincide with this conference, AIP has just announced AIP UniPHY, a new Web tool that allows researchers to find collaborators in their work (http://www.aipuniphy.org/Portal/Portal.aspx).
Credit crunch and publishing
Richard Gedye (OUP) chaired a panel discussion with senior librarians from four countries to report on ALPSP's survey on the impact of the global economic downturn on libraries. Seventy-eight percent of respondents had negotiated helpful big journal deals, but problems remain with challenges from price rises, problems of being locked in to deals, and institutional pressure to cut costs by reducing services.
Rights & permissions
A parallel session dealt with rights and permissions in a digital age. Alicia Wise (Publishers Licensing Society) led the session with contributions from Mark Bide (EDItEUR), Liam Earney (JISC Collections), and Jenny Pickles (John Wiley & Sons). The greatest challenge is in managing traditional rights and permissions in the new environment. Collaboration between rights holders through their trade bodies and their user community is vital. Although the Copyright Clearance Center and Publishers Licensing Society will continue to be influential, new infrastructures are taking shape, such as ONIX for licensing terms and Creative Commons as a consensual approach to licensing, as well as eClips, iCopyright, and OZMO.
Stuart Taylor (Royal Society) led a session on defining quality of scholarly publications. The journal impact factor is still a central metric, but usage-based measures might offer more clarity in rewarding authors and their institutions by persuading funders to pay for the next piece of research.
Richard Gedye, (OUP and chair of the usage statistics organisation COUNTER) reviewed current deployment of usage statistics and what might be needed to elevate them to a level of acceptance equal to that of citation statistics. Jevin West (Washington University) described how to use the Eigenfactor algorithm, which takes into account not only how many citations a journal receives but where they come from, thus permitting mapping of scientific communication over time (see Eigenfactor.org).
As a practical example of how funders are responding to new bibliometric opportunities, Pam Macpherson-Barrett (HEFCE), detailed that body's move to a research excellence framework, which will contain a single unified framework for assessment of and funding UK government funded research across all subjects. It will make greater use of quantitative indicators than its predecessor, the research assessment exercise.
Michael Jubb (Research Information Network) emphasised the many governmental and other bodies that are advocating the broadening of access to information, application of research results and deriving economic benefit from research. Open access clearly allows wider dissemination of research, but the costs of transition and the sustainability of current, hybrid, and future business models are still unclear.
Claire Bird (Biosciences, Oxford journals) reported the many experiments with both hybrid and fully open access; author charges are rising, averaging $2500 for hybrid journals and more for fully open access. Author uptake of hybrid open access is low, but full-text downloads of open access papers are 40% higher than for subscribed papers.
For some of the journals quoted by Bird, there have been substantial increases in submissions, but the frequently resulting lower acceptance rates must result in higher author charges. BioMedCentral, PLOS, and Hindawi have all reported considerable growth, and all are said to be sustainable or profitable.
Phil Davis (Cornell University) presented results from a multi-journal, cross-disciplinary experiment designed to isolate and measure the effects of access type on article downloads and citations. There was no statistically significant difference in citations.
Toby Green (OECD) headed the parallel session It's never been a better time to publish scholarly books. Traditional squeezing of library book funding in favour of serials has been accentuated by the activities of Amazon, Google, and so on. However, e-books permit new business models such as subscription bundling, e-book vending and rental, open access monographs, linkage, datasets, and so on. Less capital is tied up in inventories. Joachim Engelland reminded attendees that aside from aggregators, increasing numbers of publishers are offering e-books from their own platform.
A session on "Brand X: Trust and authority in scholarly publishing," chaired by Adrian Stanley (Charlesworth Group) started from the premise that "associating brands with content is arguably the most important thing we do as publishers." Readers must be reassured that the content they have identified is both relevant and trustworthy; trusting material that is not trustworthy can be dangerous (Geoff Bilder, CrossRef).
Carol Tenopir (University of Tennessee) reported a continuing study of university faculty members that uses contingent analysis to direct them to choose between attributes such as speed of publication, price, perceived quality of the journal, and author reputation and affiliation.
Publishing & the developing world
"Optimizing opportunities: Access and authorship in the developing world" was the session chaired by Tag McEntegart (INASP). That organisation's earlier work has focused on initiatives to help access publications, but there are still a variety of access barriers for researchers in developing countries. These include inadequate IT infrastructure and lack of bandwidth and of training and mentoring. Julie Walker (INASP) reported on AuthorAID, a support scheme for authors in the developing world to help increase their success rate in obtaining international publication. It runs training courses on preparing research results for publication, offers a mentoring network to bring researchers from the two worlds together, and supports other means of knowledge and skills transfer.
Alan McNeil Jackson (Aptivate) illustrated simple guidelines used in its workshops for Web designers working with low-bandwidth that make a dramatic impact on download times.
Blogs, wikis, and all that
Rhonda Oliver (Portland Press) led a session on "The transformation of scholarly practice." Her theme was how to maintain trustworthiness of content and brand integrity. Nicholas Jankowski (University of Nijmegen) cited innovations that might begin when journals publish reader comments and author-reader exchanges, which are then "locked down" at some stage and revised articles published; Cell Press and Elsevier are now at the second prototype stage of a project that introduces value-added material such as highlights, author interviews, enhanced visuals, thumbnail illustrations, hyperlinking, and citation ranking for references (http://beta.cell.com/).
Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus UKOLN) talked about the use of blogs and wikis by researchers to exchange and promote ideas, provide critiques, and make contacts, thereby producing a scholarly rather than a social network.
In the last paper of the conference, Barend Mons (Leiden University) decried the mass of data production outstripping our capacity to cope with it. He explored a future in which readers will have to be assisted to seek the nuggets of new knowledge buried deep in the conventional scientific publication. The core of his approach is the development of messages made up of three "concepts," for example, "Malaria/is transmitted by/ mosquitoes." The message does not need the verbiage normally present in a scientific paper and can be expressed as an "annotated statement," with links to context, strength of the relationship provenance, time stamp, and so on.
In a world of communication through mobile devices, with limited immediate user handling, such short cuts may prove irresistible, albeit that conventional papers may continue to serve purposes where the argumentation needs to be more complex and the discourse is as important as the conclusion.
This year's ALPSP awards are as follows:
Best new journal
Best e-book publisher
ALPSP award for contribution to scholarly publishing
I am grateful to ALPSP for permission to extract material from a report of the conference by rapporteur Kurt Paulus (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Harvey Markovitch, Director, CSE Board of Directors