The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a major US publisher of open-access journals. PLoS Genetics, the newest addition to the company’s offerings, made its inaugural appearance on July 24. The journal contained an article offering a possible explanation for the indifference all cats seem to display toward sweet things. The authors state that the sweetness receptor is formed from the products of two genes, and that in all cats one of these genes is not expressed. This defect makes cats “sweet blind” although in all other respects felines’ sense of taste is normal. PloS Genetics got extra publicity on its kick-off, because the cat story was picked up major media outlets. A long report on the findings was aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, and the Houston Chronicle also described the research.
PLoS is now offering four titles: Biology, Medicine, Computational Biology and Genetics.
Inspect the first number of PLos Genetics:
Go directly to the Sweet/Cat story:
NATURE carried a special report in the May 19 issue on the reaction of journal editors to apparently increasing instances of self-plagiarism on the part of contributing authors who seek to get more publication mileage out of previously published material by “recycling” it into later submissions. While even the definition of what should count as plagiarism can be surrounded by uncertainty, many editors are convinced that efforts to republish previously accepted material are on the rise, and they are pressuring journal publishers to assist in combating this trend with the help of some software solutions. Two of the biggest publishers, Elsevier and Blackwells, are about to introduce countermeasures, which, they claim, will fit easily onto existing reviewing software. The article describes several packages which might be effective in combating both self and direct plagiarism.
Read the Report in NATURE:
At the American Library Association meeting in Chicago last month, Cell Press announced a new policy called the Affiliated Subscription Program. Persons associated with institutions subscribing to the Electronic version of CELL can receive free copies of the printed version without charge, simply by completing an online registration form.
The Press has an FAQ page at:
Cell Press FAQ
The registration form is available at:
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has been in existence at the University of Lund for over two years. Lund, in the southern province of Skane, just across the straights from Copenhagen, is Sweden’s second oldest city dating from 1000 or so. But there’s nothing musty or backwaterish about the Uni there, and that goes for the Library also. The Director became aware of the possibilities of the Open Access publication model at an academic conference in 2002, and realized that a central online clearinghouse for the many newly emerging OA journals would be very useful in guiding readers to the scholarship contained in this new publication format. For librarians, doing this is as old as trees. Doing it on the web, however, and in partnership with the Open Society Initiative, is an interesting new wrinkle. The DOAJ has been growing very nicely. There are now 1642 journals in the system and 432 of them are searchable at the individual article level. A useful subject classification scheme allows readers to focus on topic areas of interest.
A summary of how DOAJ came about can be read at:
The Research Councils of the UK (RCUK), an umbrella organization of the various administrative agencies supervising research activity in Britain, has framed a policy on access to the results of investigations funded with public money. The position statement has been in preparation for over a year, and has been promulgated for public comment to end on August 31. The draft of the policy states: “ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable.â€ The policy also requires researchers so funded to deposit reports of their activity in openly accessible repositories.
View the statement and supporting docuemtation:
One of the most impressive demonstrations of the transforming nature of web-based information networks can be seen at the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division. In the past, only a few libraries held certain books, and any scholar who needed to consult them had to go there, or do without. The time, expense and difficulty involved in travel were often too much for many researchers, and in any case, often the library in question had less than generous arrangements for working with its rarities. But with systems such as “Turning the Pages”, at the National Library of Medicine, and at the British Library in London, an investigator can now examine some extremely important and rare works of historical importance without leaving home. “Turning the Pages” simultates a human user’s interaction with the book, allowing the reader to page forward, page back, enlarge certain portions, and in some cases listen to or read added explanatory content. NLM has three landmark works in the history of medicine available for consultation: Conrad Gesner’s HISTORIAE ANIMALIUM, the surgical works of Ambroise Pare and the FABRICA of Vesalius.
Test this feature:
Turning the Pages
Web of Science (WoS) is known to many investigators and students as the best tool in tracing how researchers have used a publication in the time after it has appeared in the literature. Originally a printed resource called the Science Citation Index, WoS has become a sophisticated web-based product. Authors can track the number of times other researchers have used a particular article, or they can review the citation history of other scientists. But WoS can also be used as powerful general scientific searching tool. Since it monitors the contents of over 8,500 important journals in many branches of science, a topic search in WoS can be very productive, especially in those cases in which the subject may not fit neatly into the domain covered by MEDLINE, CHEMICAL ABSTRACTS or other databases.
To use the topic search function of WoS from the Library web page, select DATABASES, and then click on the link to WoS, at the left. Once in the database, select GENERAL SEARCH, and use topic key words or author names as search points.
Serials Review is a professional journal devoted to that branch of librarianship concerned with the acquisition and management of journals and other periodicals appearing at intervals. In volume 30, issue 4, Serials Review published a dozen articles on various aspects of the Open Access publishing model, and the movement which it inspired. Some of the authors are OP partisans and veterans of the propaganda struggles, while others are more critical or at least more inclined to say ” yes, but”. Jan Velterop and Stephan Harnad are for OA, while Martin Frank of the American Physiological Society is definitely opposed. The Blogging Grouch recommends the piece by Guedon. It’s a long read, but it’s thorough and clear. The Grouch also suggests printing the item and reading in a comfortable chair, with pencil in hand to note passages you like, or don’t. Frank raises some questions about costs, and suggests that OA advocates may be a bit too glib when talking about nasty practical little details, such as money.
The URL for the article is rather long but this method will work: Go go to OUR JOURNALS on the Library web page, type Serials Review in the search box and scan down to vol. 30, issue 4.
Here’s the URL anyway:
A panel discussion at the American Library Association’s annual meeting in Chicago heard some interesting presentations speculating on the future of scholarly communication and how it will be affected by the Three Big Ideas; namely, redrawing the lines between copyrighted and accessible materials by the use of Creative Commons licensing, Equity/Justice arguments favoring taxpayer access to research results gained by publicly funded projects, and “Googlization”, roughly, how do research libraries and “utilities” such as Google relate? The presenters are all established authorities in their areas. John Wilbanks speaks for the Science Commons, Debra Lapin for the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and John Price Wilkin is the Associate Librarian at UMICH, which is involved in the Google Print digitization project. The LL Blogging Grouch can recommend Wilbanks, having heard him before. Note that PDF’s are available, if you are a Fast Reader.
3 Big Ideas
The STAT!-Ref service has been one of the Medical Library’s most important information resources, offering the full electronic version of many important texts in clinical medicine, and other important data compendia. Harrison’s Internal Medicine, the DSM, DeGowin’s text on physical examination and the AHFS Drug Information guide are representative titles in the collection. Now Stat!-Ref has an improved interface that makes browsing of an individual text, or searching across the entire text library, faster and easier. Be sure to check out the New Features list on the opening screen and click on the question mark for an explanation. Stat!Ref is available from the Databases section of the Library web page in the section Full- text Biomedical.