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Draft - IUCr 2001 report on the CEP


DRAFT - all commments are welcome. H.


<H1>IUCr 2001 Report - Committee on Electronic Publishing, Dissemination
and Storage of Information (CEP)</H1>

Following the unanimous proposition of the CEP, the IUCr's executive
committee appointed Dr. Simon Parsons of the University of Edinburgh, UK
to the CEP on the 9th May 2001. S. Parsons has accepted the
responsibility of the day-to-day running of Crystallography Online, the
IUCr's information service.

<P>
Members of the CEP attended the following meetings:
<UL>

<LI> Y. Epelboin, H. D. Flack, B. McMahon and P. Strickland attended the
UNESCO/ICSU Press Conference on Electronic Publishing in Science held at
UNESCO, Paris, 20th - 23rd February 2001. J. Helliwell also attended.

<LI> S. Parsons visited the IUCr editorial offices, Chester, UK in May
2001.

<LI> P. Strickland, attended the presentation of the <I>ingenta</I>
study <I>Research into the Relationship between Journal Subscriptions
and Document Delivery and the Impact of Online Delivery on Article
Distribution</I> in London, UK, 25th September 2001. 

<LI> H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial offices, Chester, UK, in
early November 2001.

<LI> B. McMahon attended a meeting <I>XML use in Chemistry</I> in
Cambridge, UK, January 2002

<LI> Y. Epelboin attended the seminar on <I>Digital Preservation of the
record of Science - state of the art</I>, UNESCO, Paris, France, 14th -
15th February 2002. H. D. Flack also attended as ICSTI representative.

<LI> P. Strickland gave a short presentation on the IUCr's experience in
selling journals to library consortia at a meeting of the Association of
Learned and Professional Society Publishers in London, UK on the 19th
February 2002.


</UL>

The meeting attendances of B. McMahon as CODATA representative and H. D.
Flack as ICSTI representative are recorded in their individual reports. 


<P>
<I>Information Services</I>: 
The CEP has continued its task as editorial body for the on-line
information services of the IUCr. In May 2001 the task of day-to-day
maintenance of <I>Crystallography Online</I> passed from H. D. Flack to
S. Parsons. The former wishes to thank the IUCr for its active and
continuing support for this project which saw the light of day during
1992 as part of the European Union's CONCISE project (see
http://www.iucr.org/cww-top/crystal.mar95.html for details). As part of
the changeover, a set of detailed maintenance instructions was prepared
for the incoming editor. Discussions on the restyling of
<I>Crystallography Online</I> took place during the CEP chair's annual
visit to Chester. A questionnaire was subsequently sent to those
responsible for maintaining the mirror sites of <I>Crystallography
Online</I> to obtain information and sound out opinion on matters such
as advertising, perceived necessity of continuing with mirrors, and
infrastructure at mirror sites.



<P>
<I>World Directory of Crystallographers 11</I>: 
The new online interface of WDC 11 was launched in mid-December 2001.
This enables individual crystallographers to update their own entry as
and when necessary. New entries are checked by the regional editors
before being accepted. The immediate result was a heavy overload on the
equipment serving the database resulting in very slow response as many
crystallographers simultaneously attempted to update their entries. The
system had to be extensively reconfigured on the eve of a holiday period
but was soon functioning correctly. At present there is still a steady
stream of new entries and over 5000 people have logged in or created new
entries. A printed version of the directory of those who have logged in
at least once is planned to be produced in late 2002. 



<P>
<I>NeXus CD-ROM</I>:
Under the continued leadership of L. M. D. Cranswick 1000 copies of a
new version of the <I>Xtal NeXus; Virtual Crystallographic Internet on
CD-ROM</I> version 8.32 were produced in October 2001. 400 of these were
distributed free of charge at the AsCA meeting in Bangalore, India and
the rest through our usual channels of distribution. All of these
CD-ROMs have now been distributed and at present individual CD-ROMs are
being made on request. The CD-ROM is made available to laboratories and
scientists with an interest in crystallography lacking adequate
connection to the internet. The CD-ROMs contain public domain software
and copies of web sites of interest to crystallographers. The CD-ROMs
were publicized through many channels in such a way that scientists have
to apply to receive a copy. We propose to continue this project and make
further batches of CD-ROMs. The European Crystallographic Meeting in
South Africa in August 2003 will be an ideal opportunity to find further
markets for this popular product.


<P>
<I>Crystallography Journals Online</I>: 
It was possible in November 2001 to complete the project to make
available online all back copies of IUCr journals six weeks ahead of
schedule. By this action the IUCr confirms itself as a prime publisher
in the field of crystallography committed to providing online services.
On the 18th July 2001 the Executive Committee approved the document
<I>Archive Policy of the IUCr</I> submitted by the CEP on which it had
been working. Attention has been given to ways of improving the sale of
the IUCr journals to consortia of libraries. 

<P>
At the UNESCO meeting on electonic publishing there were recurring calls
for more openness in the refereeing process of journal articles. As a
result a discussion document <I>IUCr Publishing Policy</I> was prepared
detailing developments in the definition of scientifc publications
(pre-print vs final publication), comparing the characteristics of
pre-prints and final publications, the acceptability of pre-print
manuscripts for journal publication, peer review (its operation and
confidentiality), and the usefulness of a pre-print service for
crystallography. A part of this document, reformulated, was circulated
to the Commission on Journals for consideration. It appears that there
is only very modest interest for the establishment of a preprint server
in crystallography.



<P>
<I>Miscellanea</I>:

The IUCr's participation in an <I>ingenta</I> study and developments in
the field of crystalline phase descriptors are treated in the report of
the representative to ICSTI.

The CEP has participated in testing both the CD-ROM to accompany
International Tables Volume D and the new templates for authoring
journal articles.

The CEP maintains a watch on electronic publishing activities and
initiatives of interest to crystallography. In particular there are the
IUPAC projects concerning chemical identifiers and the use of XML / CML
and the Open Archive Initiative (OAI) with its metadata harvesting
protocol which of interest in linking together information found in
heterogeneous databases.


<P>
L. M. D. Cranswick, Y. Epelboin, H. D. Flack (Chair), B. McMahon, S.
Parsons, P. Strickland. 24th May 2002

-- 
VISITING GENEVA? See http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/geneva02.html

Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html

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