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July News from ICSTI

Please find attached the latest news from Executive Director, Barry

News for ICSTI Members, July 20 2001

1. More on "free" publications

At http://www.neci.nec.com/~lawrence/papers/online-nature01/
You will find the following paper:

Online or Invisible?  by Steve Lawrence, NEC Research Institute 

Summary: Articles freely available online are more highly cited. For
greater impact and faster scientific progress, authors and publishers
should aim to make research easy to access.

Extract: "….We analyzed 119,924 conference articles in computer science
and related disciplines, obtained from DBLP (dblp.uni-trier.de). In
computer science, conference articles are typically formal publications
and are often more prestigious than journal articles, with acceptance
rates at some conferences below 10%. Citation counts and online
availability were estimated using ResearchIndex. The analysis excludes
self-citations, where a citation is considered to be a self-citation if
one or more of the citing and cited authors match.

Figure 1 shows the probability that an article is freely available
online as a function of the number of citations to the article, and the
year of publication of the article. The results are dramatic. There is a
clear correlation between the number of times an article is cited, and
the probability that the article is online. More highly cited articles,
and more recent articles, are significantly more likely to be online……"

An edited version appears in: Nature, Volume 411, Number 6837, p. 521,

2. and again….

At: http://www.arl.org/sparc/DI/Rosenzweig.html

You will find….

DEAR COLLEAGUE: Please join me in DECLARING INDEPENDENCE from publishers
and journals that do not serve the research community.

We scientists can exercise control of our  journals. We can transform
them from commercial commodities back to instruments of service to
education and  research. When we are in control, we fulfil our
responsibility to ourselves, to society,  to our institutions, and to
our colleagues throughout the world. In recent times, purely commercial 
interests have gained sway over too many  of the journals that we depend
on for research information. Maximizing profits has become the
controlling goal. A system that should serve us is at the mercy of 
corporate acquisitions and profit-oriented  planners. Disseminating
scholarly research seems to be an afterthought. I speak from first-hand
experience of what happens when profits take over. In 1986, I started a
journal in the field of  evolutionary ecology. The initial  subscription
price was $35 per year for individuals, $100 for libraries. Within a
twelve-year period, during which the  journal changed ownership twice,
the price for libraries had grown to nearly $800 per year, an average
annual increase of 19%. I did the math. I estimated that my  publisher
pocketed profit of between  $170,000 and $220,000 annually, a mark-up of
about 275% and a profit margin of nearly 75%. After the second change in
ownership, my editorial board and I launched our own independent,
competitive journal, Evolutionary Ecology Research. Using common sense
and prudent management, we have been able to set reasonable prices, use
technology to speed up the review and publication process, and attract
the leading lights of the field to our new journal. We did it, and you
can too. Though I would not recommend our strategy to everyone, there
are alternatives to commercial publication. You can start by reviewing
this handbook to determine whether your journal serves the needs of its
community. If it does not, you can use the handbook to explore and
evaluate alternatives to your present situation. We scientists are
naturally curious explorers. Please be curious about the way your
journal is run. And if you don't like what you find, explore ways of
Michael L. Rosenzweig Editor-in-Chief, Evolutionary Ecology Research
Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of

Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
Laboratoire de Cristallographie               Phone: +41 22 702 62 49
24 quai Ernest-Ansermet             mailto:Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch
CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland                   Fax: +41 22 702 61 08

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