Thursday, December 19, 2013

The ACS and their prior publication policy for preprints #openaccess

I recently had an email conversation with someone from the ACS over some of their policies.  In particular, I noted their policy of not publishing articles that are online as preprints.  They consider those to be prior publication.

"A preprint will be considered as an electronic publication and, according to positions taken by most Editors of ACS journals, will not be considered for publication. If a submitted paper is later found to have been posted on a preprint server, it will be withdrawn from consideration by the journal."

I let them know that I was not happy with this statement because it has an effect on the research sharing behavior of researchers.  "This policy disallows chemists from using services like the arXiv, an institutional repository, or some other preprint server.  If this policy was modified, then more researchers would be able to share preprints with the world, and then science would speed up.

Will this archaic policy ever be reconsidered?"

The ACS representative noted that "As stated in the policy they view a preprint as a) unreviewed material and b) prior published material.  Hence it is not considered for publication: it is not an issue regarding open access etc. - more that we are not in the business of publishing secondhand news.”

I responded with:

"I agree that a preprint is unreviewed material, but I disagree that it is prior published material.  The author(s) should have a right to circulate their ideas and drafts to servers such as the arXiv.  The authors have the copyright to the early version of their manuscripts, and hopefully the ACS would change it up during peer review, during copy editing and in layout to make the article a different piece of work.  Physicists have been fine with this system for decades.  I would not call what the AIP, the APS, IOP Publishing, and Nature Physics are publishing as “secondhand news.”  Librarians and researchers know that the final published versions are different from the preprint versions.  That is why we keep on subscribing to AIP, APS, IOP, NPG, and Elsevier journals. 

It is this conservative policy of considering a preprint to be prior published material that is keeping chemists from posting these earlier drafts to institutional repositories or to a chemistry preprint server.  This policy is helping to keep chemists stuck in the mud when it comes to Open Access."

Is the ACS afraid that researchers will unsubscribe because a fraction of the research is scattered online as preprints?  Maybe they are afraid that researchers won't see that the ACS adds enough value to the articles?  Then, people can compare a preprint with what the ACS has published.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Some Mathematics Resources for Librarians

Sent this to a colleague, and thought I would blog it so that I could easily get back to these later on.
Are you on the PAMnet discussion list?  One does not need to be a member of the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Division of SLA to subscribe.

Are you a member of the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Division of SLA?

In any case, I would recommend that you get your hands on these two books, but they were published about 9 years ago.
For something more recent, these have some chapters in mathematics.
  • The new Walford : guide to reference resources / editor-in-chief, Ray Lester, London : Facet Pub., 2005-<2008> "Volume 1 covers 12 broad subject groupings: mathematics, physics & astronomy, earth sciences, chemistry, biological sciences, agriculture, forestry, fisheries & food, pre-clinical sciences, clinical medicine, health, natural resources & energy, engineering, information & communication technology."
  • Science and technology resources [electronic resource] : a guide for information professionals and researchers / James E. Bobick and G. Lynn Berard, Santa Barbara, Calif. : Libraries Unlimited, c2011. Mathematics is covered on pages 242-247, not very much.
You may already know this, but you will want to collect materials from Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, Springer (Especially their Lecture notes in Mathematics, the Springer undergraduate texts in mathematics and technology, and their Graduate texts in mathematics.), American Mathematical Society (AMS), Mathematical Association of America, SIAM Books, and maybe IMS Publications.

Other important publishers are listed here. such as:
    Walter de Gruyter, Inc.
    Marcel Dekker, Inc.
    Dover Publications, Inc.
    Taylor & Francis
    World Scientific

Monday, July 15, 2013

It should be "information wants to be valued"--not that information wants to be free

I've been thinking of the "information wants to be free" phrase lately.  I am not sure that that is quite right.  Most people by now know that the phrase was coined by Stewart Brand back in the 1960's, and many librarians know about Meredith's blog of the same name.  The full quote by Stewart is:
On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.
However, just because nformation can be valuable does not mean that it has to be expensive.  Information can be valuable and free at the same time, so that is why I say that information wants to be valued.  People who are open access advocates know that information is valuable, and they know that it isn't free.  But, it can be free for the end user.  There is a cost to providing high quality information, but there are different models for paying for the dissemination.

For example, I know of a report that is published by Outsell, Inc.  They are trying to sell a 32 page report "Open Access: Market Size, Share, Forecast, and Trends" for $895.  But, if one is a savvy searcher on the Internet, one can find the report that had been posted on the web somewhere.  I am sure that Outsell is not that happy about that, but I would rather not pay $895 to learn about their views of the Open Access Market.

The value of information that is available in open access channels has also been discussed in a couple of other recent blog posts.  Joe Esposito had noted at the Scholarly Kitchen that:
This basic economic formulation has given rise to the world of the Internet as we know it today with a plethora of free services, some of astonishing value, of which Google is simply the most prominent.  But it wasn’t always this way and it may not be that way forever.
It is true that it may not last forever, but content producers need to make content that people value and find worth paying for.  People can get free television over the airwaves, but lots of people pay for entertainment content over cable, dish, or through services like Hulu or Netflix.

Scholarly content is a different kind of market, where this information has a different kind of value.  Scholars are learning about the value to providing their content using green or gold open access means.

In a section of a blogpost concerning past scholarly communication behavior, Cameron Neylon said:
We work on the assumption that, even if we accept the idea that there are people out there who could use our work or could help, that we can never reach them. That there is no value in expending effort to even try. And we do this for a very good reason; because for the majority of people, for the majority of history it was true.
Now, people are seeing that it is easy to reach an audience of Billions over the Internet.  There is value in expending a small effort to try to reach them.  The scholar can either publish in a gold open access journal, or he or she can post the preprint or the postprint manuscript to a green open access repository.

As an aside, here are some good articles and reports that discuss the value libraries provide. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Soylent Green OA is People - #openaccess

Yup.  It takes people to run institutional repositories.

I got the idea for the title of the post from a friend, who may publish a paper with a similar title.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Support for gold open access journals and SCOAP3 #openaccess

I wrote this as a response to a discussion list on PAMnet, but I thought I would also post the majority of it here.

I would argue for another reason to support SCOAP3.  For the most part, researchers and scholars want to use, read and cite the final published version of an article (or book chapter or report or whatever piece of information.)  While researchers will often read the eprint/preprint/postprint, they might cite the final version once it appears.  In other words, they may not be reading the item that they are citing. (See  As more research gets published as gold open access, more researchers will be citing the things they are reading (or skimming), and that would be a good thing.

For example, just yesterday, the journal Science came out with three interesting articles concerning Voyager leaving the solar system.  I was curious if any of the three articles were available in repositories before they were published in Science.  Researchers in the field had probably already read "At Voyager 1 Starting on about August 25, 2012 at a Distance of 121.7 AU From the Sun, a Sudden Disappearance of Anomalous Cosmic Rays and an Unusually Large Sudden Increase of Galactic Cosmic Ray H and He Nuclei and Electron Occurred" via  In the future, I would bet that more researchers will probably cite the Science article "Voyager 1 Observes Low-Energy Galactic Cosmic Rays in a Region Depleted of Heliospheric Ions" ( by the same six authors even though the title of the article, the abstract, the text, the figures, and the references are significantly different.  The acknowledgement provides a clue that this is essentially the same research. (I did not find eprints for the other two Voyager articles,, and, but maybe I am not searching well enough.)

For background reading material, many people have studied the use and citation of papers found in the arXiv. (This is just a small sample. Scholarly Communication: The Use and Non-Use of E-Print Archives for the Dissemination of Scientific Information, Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact, Physics Conference Proceedings and the Electronic Environment-an Investigation of New Dissemination Patterns, Demographic and Citation Trends in Astrophysical Journal papers and Preprints, Citation Patterns to Traditional and Electronic Preprints in the Published Literature

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Some new news on #openaccess and #altmetrics

Some traditional publishers have recently unveiled a plan called CHORUS which is essentially a way for them to maintain their cash flow and the status quo.  This is a response to the OSTP recommendation, "Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research."  They do not want to let go of their stranglehold over the scholarly communication system.  I am assuming that the government agencies are not going to buy this ploy.

This article at Inside Higher Ed covers the topic pretty well. - How To Provide Open Access? The articles notes that “scholarly publishers want to keep hosting taxpayer-funded research that will soon be made public free of charge. The publishers unveiled a plan to do so Tuesday.”

The response from OA supporters has been less than enthusaistic. See:
Here are the new Altmetric items of interest.
[Edit: I should have noted that many of these links were found via John's post to the LSW.]

[Edit2: Here are two other recent posts in the Chronicle that I missed.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Some free Twitter advice

I am not be a social media guru, but I do have some advice for information professionals (and others) who are starting to use twitter.  I know that there is no right or wrong way to use twitter, but I think that some uses are more courteous than others.
  1. Say "Thanks" in tweets.  I tend to follow people more if I see that they are thanking others for help or advice.
  2. Look at your @ replies.  Someone is trying to talk with you or say something to you.  Respond to them, or favorite their tweet to let them know that you saw it.
  3. Retweet the good things that others say.  Don't just send out your own messages.  
  4. Use MT for a Modified Tweet instead of an RT in some cases.  In order to get information to fit into 140 characters, and if you want to RT what someone else has said (or make a short response), you might have to modify it a little bit to get the URL to work, or to have space to put in a hashtag.
  5. Use standard hashtags so that others can follow along a topic or discussion.  (And, spell the #hahstag correctly, otherwise, people won't find it.)  For example, I follow the #openaccess hashtag.  While I could follow or tweet about this with the #OA hashtag, I figure OA probably has lots of other meanings--#openaccess is unique, and lots of other people use that.  If you are arranging an event (conference session or whatever), make sure that you have a twitter hashtag announced beforehand.
  6. Don't feel that you have to send out the same information numerous times.  Some people who think they are social media gurus say they send out the same information multiple times a day, so that people in different parts of the world will see.  If you are sharing such wonderful information, people will keep track of what you say, no matter when you say it.
  7. Schedule a tweet or blog post only when needed.  I really don't care to time my tweets or blog posts to get posted during the right time of the day or week, but there are some times when it is good to do so.  For example, for the library twitter account, I will schedule a tweet about an event to go out an hour or so before the event to remind some people.  If a library service is going to be under maintenance, I will schedule a tweet to let people know that service X is down about 15 minutes before hand.
  8. Use a URL shortener like or
  9. Use a dashboard like hootsuite to keep track of replies, conversations, hashtags, what messages you sent, etc.
Of course, there are times when rules are made to be broken, but this is what I try to do.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A not-comprehensive chronology of reactions to Elsevier purchasing Mendeley

I first heard that Elsevier might purchase Mendeley back on January 17, 2013.  I blogged about it over at Collaborative Librarianship News which has a link to the TechCrunch piece of the same day.  I'll bet other news sources also picked it up.

Then on April 8th and 9th, Elsevier and Mendeley announced that it was official.  This created quite a flurry of opinion concerning the merger.  Here are some of the reaction pieces.

April 8, 2013
Confirmed: Elsevier Has Bought Mendeley For $69M-$100M To Expand Its Open, Social Education Data Efforts
A Matter of Perspective — Elsevier Acquires Mendeley . . . or, Mendeley Sells Itself to Elsevier

April 9, 2013 
My thoughts on Mendeley/Elsevier & why I left to start PeerJ
Sale to Elsevier Casts Doubt on Mendeley's Openness (Closed access article???)
Elsevier acquires Mendeley + all the data about what you read, share, and highlight (David Weinberger)
Elsevier changes strategy and buys Mendeley instead of shutting it down
Is it a good thing that Elsevier bought Mendeley? 
Elsevier bought Mendeley (Peter Suber)
Elsevier: All your data belongs to us. The huge scientific publisher sparks resentment by gobbling up a popular online gathering place. Sound familiar?
A few words on Elsevier’s acquisition of Medeley (Mike Taylor)
The Empire acquires the rebel alliance: Mendeley users revolt against Elsevier takeover
Word of the day: “mendelete” (Jason B Colditz)

April 10, 2013
The sale of the London-based startup to the publishing giant has prompted strong reactions from the academic community – is the partnership good or bad news for open access research?
Elsevier Buys Document-Management Platform Mendeley
The latest land grab in the LIS world: Citation managers (Christine Pikas)
To #mendelete or not to #mendelete?
"It appears (unsurprisingly) that Mendeley users are not happy with Elsevier's acquisition of the company."

[Added "Elsevier's slice of Big Data pie" on April 15, 2013.]

April 11, 2013
Mendeley and Elsevier (By Martin Fenner)
why I’m quitting Mendeley (and why my employer has nothing to do with it)

I'm sure I've missed some good ones, but feel free to let me know of major sources.  If you have time, it is also interesting to read all of the comments, particularly on the last one by danah boyd at

Personally, I am going to keep my Mendeley account so that I can keep on putting citations into the Open Access Irony Award Group.

** Edit **  Here are some more that came out more recently.

April 12, 2013
When the Rebel Alliance Sells Out. Posted by David Dobbs.
Lessons from Mendeley: Where’s The Open In The Model? (John Wilbanks)

April 13, 2013
What’s the right model for shared scholarly communications infrastructure? (Cameron Neylon)

April 15, 2013 and
Seriously, Mendeley people, what did you expect? (Mike Taylor)

Friday, January 4, 2013

UU chalice lighting this weekend in which I plug #openaccess and twitter

I am going to be lighting the Chalice for the Jefferson Unitarian Church this Sunday, January 6, 2013.  I get about 350-400 words and three minutes of fame.  I figured out a way to get in a plug for Open Access and using twitter for scholarly communication.

Michael Dowd is the visiting minister, and he will be talking about evolution and other scientific stuff. Check out his book (Thank God for Evolution) if you are so inclined.


I was supposedly raised Roman Catholic (which has a hierarchical structure), but I always seemed to question authority, and I do not always believe everything I read.  As a kid, I always asked “why”, probably to the point of annoyance for my Mom and Dad.  Some of the stories from the Bible just didn’t make sense to me.  For example, as a teenager, I questioned the story behind Noah and his Ark.  Why would an all-knowing, all-loving God kill billions of life forms in the 40 day flood? How could all of the Earth’s species fit onto that small boat.  What did the carnivores eat when they were onboard?  There are many stories and miracles from the Bible that I am skeptical of.  Why am I so skeptical?

Lack of evidence.  For me, my God (or Higher Power or whatever) is rooted in the language of science and mathematics, and this “thing” provides us with evidence about the what, when and how the Universe works. (And some of the whys.)  The Universe reveals facts about itself to us through scientific discovery.  The evidence shows that we are “star stuff” as Carl Sagan used to say.   The evidence shows that we evolved from other life forms--the theory of evolution is just about as accepted in science as the theory of gravity.  The evidence shows that the light and energy we get from the sun (through nuclear fusion) and other stars are what provides us with ALL of our energy here on Earth.

While I may not believe in a traditional God, I do believe in love, in caring, and in helping other people get along on this little blue planet.

I am also a librarian, and I am a big user of Twitter.  If you followed me on twitter, you would know how passionate I am about Open Access to scientific information.  In the area of scholarly and scientific communication, I find social networking tools on the Internet to be a great way for people to connect, interact and to learn from people from all over the world.

So, I light this chalice (which includes energy from the sun) in the spirit that we all continue to learn more about science and the universe that we live in.