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Oscar A. Silverman Library

Science & Engineering Information News


Archive for the ‘Journals’ Category

American Chemical Society Journal Supplemental Data Digitized

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More than a century’s worth of supplemental data and other information from published chemical research is now available from the American Chemical Society (ACS). The society has completed a project to digitize supporting information associated with 40,000 journal articles published by ACS from 1879 to 1995 that previously had only be available on microform, if at all. Material from 1996 forward was born digital and hence already available.

Supporting information can be critical understanding a particular research article by providing additional context, relevance, and a sound basis for comparing results.

Using the ACS Publications web site, the archived ACS data are searchable, can be downloaded for free from the abstract page of each paper, and have metadata associated with them. In total, the archive includes some 800,000 pages of tables, illustrations, diagrams, spectroscopic and crystallographic results, experimental procedures, software code, biological data, mathematical derivations, and other supplementary information

ACS publishes more than 40 chemistry-related journals as well as C&EN. [Information taken primarily from an ACS press release]

Impressions: Charleston Conference 2013

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by A. Ben Wagner, Sciences Librarian

The Charleston Conference focuses on electronic resources and collection issues such as open access, MOOC’s, altmetrics, citation metrics and management,  and copyright. Many of the presentations are freely available by going to the online program, hovering one’s mouse over the session title until the abstract pop-up window appears and then clicking on the “Slides” button, or in cases of multiple files, embedded links within the abstract text. There are some extraordinary presentations, and most of the slides clearly convey much of the content. http://2013charlestonconference.sched.org/

My impressions:

A)     Open Access is developing an air of inevitability what with the Federal funding agencies having submitted open article and open data proposals now under internal (confidential) review per the February 2013 White House directive and the major announcement by the American Chemical Society of 4 new/enhanced open access programs including a brand new open access (OA) journal, ACS Central Science.

B)      I was disappointed that there is no timetable for finishing the review of federal funding agencies OA proposals to provide open access.  Nor is there any guarantee or indication of what, if any, public review will eventually take place.

C)      There is a lively, continuing debate over if libraries should maintain a fund to pay article processing charges (APC’s) for open access publication. And if they do, what conditions should be place on it such as a cap on the fee, embargo period, and publications funded per author per year. One interesting criteria was a requirement that the item be deposited in the institutional repository. Much of the debate focuses on sustainability, given library budgets, and good will/tangible support for OA vs. administrative headaches. Fundamental issues include:

  1. Library forced into supporting two systems (subscriptions & APC’s).
  2. Will this just be the same publishers making more money?
  3. Are we biasing authors towards the minority of OA journals that charge APC’s vs. the majority that do not?
  4. Researchers are not taking ownership of the costs of dissemination so have we really changed the system. How can we encourage decisions based on price and bring competitive forces into play?

D)     Lots of talk about article level metrics (so-called altmetrics). More and more publishers and database vendors are setting up licenses with altmetrics firms such as ImpactStory, Plum Analytics, and Altmetric.com. Public Library of Science, Highwire Press, and the American Institute of Physics are just three of a rapidly increasing number of publishers now showing article-level metrics of some type, even if it is only downloads and reads.

E)      No surprise that MOOC’s (massive open online courses) were discussed.  Some observations that were made:

  1. The only reason our reference services work is that so few of our patrons take advantage of them. Scale is an old problem, but MOOC’s could instantly overwhelm our services.
  2. Obvious problems with copyright/use of materials. Although permissions are sometimes possible, MOOC content understandably gravitates towards public domain/Creative Commons licensing material.  This is especially true when students may come from scores of countries with varying copyright and fair use laws, or having no fair use recognized at all.
  3. MOOC’s will destroy traditional textbooks before they destroy higher education (the “college experience” is a value-added dimension not easily replicated).
  4. Educators and librarians who are supporters of open access publishing whereby publishers are threatened, suddenly have a different attitude when it comes to MOOC’s which threaten higher ed and libraries.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?
  5. WARNING: Most MOOC platforms treat you (the library/scholar) as publisher requiring you to warrant compliance with all intellectual property/copyright law.
  6. A tricky and uncertain legal situation where institution is non-profit and course/platform is for profit.  Be careful.

F)      Fair use strengthened and reaffirmed by recent court cases. There have been some “nuisance” or really picky cases, e.g. use of 9 words in a film, correctly attributed to Faulkner where overzealous copyright holders have been roundly defeated. Often victorious on the grounds of transformative use; this is becoming a key legal argument.

G)     A real concern among librarians and publishers that a somewhat recent change in Google Scholar ranking algorithms penalized journal articles behind pay walls. A few studies have indicated that this has a variable, but at times significant effect. JSTOR in particular suffered a significant drop in traffic from Google Scholar.

H)     Libraries are seeing a real mix of citation management tools in use on their campus and are trying to figure out how many and how to support all the tools patrons are interested in.  Some universities have developed detailed, yet summary, comparison charts such as Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Washington, and Penn State. We should either link to these or develop our own.  One presentation indicated:

  1. Individual work – RefWorks, EndNote, Papers
  2. Collaborative Work – Zotero & Mendeley
  3. Multi-language – RefWorks, Zotero
  4. Compatibility with BibTex – Mendeley
  5. Multiple OS – Mendeley

I)        Study of ILL requests after large journal cancellation projects at 3 North Carolina universities showed minimal impact on ILL operations with only 1%-4% of the requests in the subsequent year being from the cancelled journals.

J)       Fifteen new resources/innovations were highlighted in 5-minute presentations in a plenary product showcase:

  1. ACSESS DL – a digital library back to 1908 created by an alliance of three crop, soil, and environmental societies.
  2. ISNI – International Standard Name Identifier – real progress on a standard universal number for authors/scholars. ORCID will be a subset of the ISNI database.  This is operational (6.4 million individuals & 400,000 organizations), and they are doing retrospective assignments.
  3. Docuseek2 – streams social issue and documentary film videos.
  4. Elsevier Reference Modules – bundles reference works, book chapters, and articles by discipline using the ScienceDirect platform.
  5. Dictionary of American Regional English Digital (Harvard Univ. Press) – e-version greatly enriched with sound recordings, map interface, etc.
  6. AccessScience – McGraw Hill (not sure why this long-time product made the list)
  7. Proquest Research Companion – similar to our Research Tips web site, i.e. how to write a paper.
  8. ArtStor Shared Shelf – organizations can now catalog, upload, manage, and share loca media collections. Neat!
  9. SIPX – outsourced end-to-end solution for copyright and IP management for learning management systems and MOOCs.
  10. SPIE Open Access Program – 1/3 of authors now choose open access option at $100 per page.
  11. New Taylor & Francis Library/Info Science Journal Open Access Policy – full green OA, deposit in IR and use in LMS permitted, 50 tokens for free access that can be given out to anyone.
  12. ASM Science (American Soc. of Micobiology) – new digital library platform, books free of digital rights management restrictions.
  13. Thieme e-clinical platforms (Thieme eNeurosurgery, Thieme eOtolaryngology, Thieme eSpine) – comprehensive, multimedia platforms pulling together textbooks, books, videos, procedures, journal articles, and PubMed information.
  14. Browzine (Third Iron) – organizes both open access and subscription articles into a unified, composite journal which is placed on a common, library-branded newsstand and easily accessible from a tablet.
  15. Next Gen Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) – new “clean” interface, Google Scholar partnership whereby WOS citations show in Google Scholar results for WOS customers & full-text link to Google Scholar from WOS, more regional content.

K)      Readcube is making some waves in the rental/pay-per-article field.  3 levels of access: rental, cloud purchase, and PDF purchase. Currently 110 journals, but includes Nature Publishing Group, and they say they are growing.

New Sci/Tech Resources Acquired

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Thanks to some year-end money, we have been able to acquire nine new journal titles and two collections of electronic books requested by faculty in our departments. Access to all but one (noted below) has been activated. In some cases, the full-text of older volumes was already available to our university, but now we have access right up to the current issue.

  1. American Mathematical Monthly
  2. Cryptography and Communications
  3. Foundations and Trends in Computer Graphics and Vision (not yet active due to delay in publication of current volumes)
  4. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
  5. Nanoscale (Royal Society of Chemistry)
  6. Systems and Synthetic Biology
  7. The two most recent collections of Synthesis (Morgan and Claypool) books; these are “born-digital” books, ranging from 50 to 100+ pages in length, written by experts which synthesize important research and development topics in engineering and science.

Thanks to our colleagues at the Health Sciences Library, we now have subscriptions to the following additional journals:

  1. Biometals
  2. RNA Biology
  3. Science Signaling

Journal Impact Factors – New Edition Covering 2012 Data

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Thomson Reuters Research Analytics has just released a new edition of its Journal Citation Reports (JCR) providing impact factors and other citation and influence metrics for more than 10,000 journals from 83 countries. The University Libraries provides a site-wide license to this database.  The citation data comes from the Web of Science,  one of the largest and oldest citation databases.  JCR is issued in two editions: Science (& Technology) and Social Sciences.

According to the Thomson Reuters press release,  a total of 379 journals received their first Journal Impact Factor. Additionally, 37 journals were suppressed due to questionable citation activity. Note that Thomson is now referring to the new edition as 2013 (based on the year that it was released), but all the data is from 2012. In the Journal Citation Reports interface, it is still referred to by the year the data was collected; i.e., the 2012 edition.

Alternately, there are now a number of free web sites that evaluate the impact of journals including Eigenfactor, SCImago, and Google Scholar Metrics for Journals. Consulting these sites is useful in order to cross-check to JCR rankings and in cases where a journal is not covered by JCR.

Open Access Journal Directory – New Milestones

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Ever wonder whether there were any good open access journals in your field?  The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), launched in 2003, now lists over 8,000 peer reviewed journals.  Simply put, open access (OA) journals are freely available to all readers on the Internet and do not have subscription charges.  Many studies show that OA articles are downloaded and cited more than equivalent articles locked behind subscription walls.

Using DOAJ, journal titles can be searched using keywords and browsed by subject areas.  They just announced two important milestones:

1)    More than 1 million articles are now searchable in DOAJ. They expect this figure to increase significantly in the months to come.

2)    More than 50% of the journals are providing metadata at article level.

In February, the White House issued a new directive that open access will be mandated for most federally funded research within the next year. Visit our Scholarly Communications web site for more information.

Stunning New Open Access Publication / Data Directive from the White House

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On February 22, 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directed any federal agency spending more than $100 million per year on R&D to create open-access policies within the next six months.  The policy will require all research articles funded by these agencies to be made open access (free-to-read) within 12 months of publication.  In addition, digital data must be made publicly accessible. Naturally, classified research is exempted.

One option for fulfilling these upcoming requirements is to deposit your publications and data in our UB Institutional Repository.  Our new Scholarly Communications web site has sections on publicly archiving your scholarship and on data management.  These web pages contain the contact information for library staff that would be glad to discuss this new development with you.

Agencies covered by the new policy include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, and Transportation, as well as the EPA, FDA, NASA, and, mostly importantly, NSF.  The White House announcement contains a link to the actual directive. A 3/7/2013 Chronicle of Higher Education article discusses the impact these new policies might have.

What’s New in Web of Knowledge

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Earlier this month, Web of Knowledge began rolling out a series of new features and updates designed to give users a clearer and more complete view of scholarly material.  These changes provide greater context and searchability, which developers hope will allow users to retrieve articles and citations with more efficiency and accuracy.

In terms of improving search capabilities, Web of Knowledge claims to now display more complete bibliographic descriptions, which include added context and data, in addition to adding more comprehensive information to it’s Cited Reference Lookup Table.  The UK/US synonym dictionary has been expanded as well in order to pool results with more consistency.  All together, these features create a more accurate and comprehensive picture of a work’s citation information.

At the user level, developers have also added a number of interesting functions to make searches more flexible and organizing  retrieved works easier than ever.  Users can now:

  • Mark and export cited references from an article’s bibliography
  • Search for a cited article or title
  • Display all known authors (and their positions) listed in a bibliography
  • Truncate values in the Topic, Title, UID, and ID codes fields

In all, these changes should continue to make life easier for those who use Web of Knowledge to any large degree, and are likely to precede future updates and innovations as databases become increasingly user-centric.

Web of Knowledge is a collection of multi-disciplinary databases containing leads to citations with bibliographical references for articles from over 8,000 journals.  Many of the references include author-prepared abstracts, as well as links to the full-text of articles (when available).

Can We Afford This? The Elsevier Boycott

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If you follow publishing news sources or social media, you may have read about a scholars’ boycott of Elsevier, the largest science, technical, and medical journal publisher in the world. This boycott originated with a blog post by Timothy Gowers, a mathematician at the University of Cambridge, UK, and a winner of the Fields medal, mathematics’ highest honor.

This triggered the creation of a web site, the Cost of Knowledge,  by others that encourages scholars to join the boycott to not edit, write, and/or review for any Elsevier journal. The rationale for the boycott as given by the web site is the high cost of Elsevier journals, the bundling of journals into large “Big Deals”, and their support for certain legislation designed to limit free access to scholarly materials. Over 8,000 people have signed up for the boycott, though the only verification is a one-time email message to the registrant.

This boycott has been widely reported on the internet including in Nature magazine and the Chronicle of Higher Education. One tangible result of the boycott seems to be that Elsevier withdrew its support of the Research Works Act which  contains provisions that would prohibit  open access mandates for federally funded research. To be fair to Elsevier, it should be noted that:

  • Elsevier publishes an immense spectrum of journal, varying greatly in cost, cost per page, and prominence in the field.
  • Other publishers such as Taylor and Francis have journals with high prices (in excess of $8,000 per year) and high cost per page.
  • Elsevier disputes the allegations and undoubtedly is unhappy about being singled out. [Read the Chronicle article cited above.]

One can search the Cost of Knowledge to see which scholars have signed up from any given city or institution. Although it is not the intention of the library to, in any sense, dictate where our scholars should publish, the boycott does call attention to the long developing, but extremely serious crisis, in journal pricing. Over the past few years, journal price increases have finally moderated slightly, inflating an average of about 8% per year, but they have inflated annually at an unsustainable double-digit rate for over three decades. This graph shows the trends from 1986-2003.

Whether you personally decide to join the boycott or not, we suggest that affordability, which can directly affect the availability of your scholarly work, be a regular part of your decisions as to where you publish. Many disciplines now have peer-reviewed open access options where anyone in the world can read your material freely with no subscription barriers.

Predatory Online Journal Publishers – Be Careful

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Have you received an email soliciting manuscripts or offering an editorial board position from a publisher you have never heard of before?  The journal may have a great sounding name and you may recognize some prominent names already listed on the editorial board.

Unfortunately, it may be from an unscrupulous publisher whose main goal is to publish as many papers as possible while exacting high publication charges (article processing fees) while providing minimal if any peer review and exposure. Some of the people on the editorial board may not even know they have been listed or may be trying unsuccessfully to have their name removed. The fact that manuscripts require publication fees may be buried in the fine print or communicated only after acceptance of the manuscript.  There have even been reports of flawed manuscripts being published despite the author’s objections.

A March 4, 2012 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Michael Stratford highlights this problem, discussing the publisher OMICS in detail, http://chronicle.com/article/Predatory-Online-Journals/131047/. We know such email solicitations are occurring here at UB as a number of our faculty have made inquires about these publishers. One of our librarians with a business background received an email asking him to join the editorial board of a “new peer-reviewed, open access journal titled Conference Papers in Oncology” published by Hindawi which is based in Egypt.  Be aware that some publishers use U.S.-based address to disguise their true location. To add to the confusion, some publishers like Hindawi actually do publish some reasonably well established journals. However, there are concerns about how effectively Hindawi and other publishers can effectively oversee scores if not hundreds of new titles.

If you have any questions about a publisher solicitation, feel free to contact your subject librarian listed at http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/askalibrarian/inperson/index.php#subject. You may also want to check out a list of predatory open access publishers maintained by Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Unfortunately, a few disreputable OA publishers reinforce the persistent myth that all open access (OA) journals are low quality and have no peer review. In fact, rigorously peer reviewed OA journals with respectable journal impact factors now exist in many disciplines. This post is a follow up to a December post noting that there are many high quality, reputable open access (OA) journals http://libweb.lib.buffalo.edu/blog/faculty/?p=733.

Database Snapshot: ACM Digital Library

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The ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Digital Library provides access to bibliographic information, abstracts, reviews, and selected full-text for articles and papers appearing in ACM publications including journals/transactions, magazines, conference proceedings and newsletters for 1947-present. It also provides access to selected works published by affiliated organizations.

Tips for using ACM Digital Library

Enter your terms in the upper search box. In the results list, full-text is noted with PDF or HTML icons. Refine your search using the left column of refine options. Bibliometric information is given for each item.