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Publishing information

  • To: epc@iucr.org
  • Subject: Publishing information
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 13:20:21 +0000
  • Organization: IUCr
Dear All

Please see below a Newsletter sent to us by Blackwell.

Best wishes

Journal News - December 2003,  Number 2 


Journal News

Our first issue of Journal News was well received by many of our 
journal editors and society officers, and we would always welcome 
more feedback as we develop this new service.
Among other news items and information in this issue, we have included 
a report on the Charleston Library Conference.  We should like to 
know if you find such meeting reports, which summarize current issues 
in the world of journal publishing, useful, as we could provide these 
on a regular basis.
Best wishes, and many happy returns for the season,
Bob Campbell

President, Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing Storms Ahead

As reported in the Company News section of the October issue of 
Scholarly Communications Report, the share price of Reed Elsevier 
dropped after a warning from Citigroup Bank about the possible threat 
of open access publishing.
This is followed by news of Wolters Kluwer cutting 8% of its workforce 
as part of a three-year plan to turn around the Dutch publishing 
However, after these negative reports, Blackwell Publishing is seen in 
a very different light:
'Blackwell Publishing has been successful within its selected 
publishing niche in recent years, having an organic growth rate of 
some 12% per annum (compared with approximately 4% by most of its 
competitors).  This three times average growth is to some extent 
picked up in the Wellcome Trust report (outlined in the last issue) 
as a consequence of being seen as a 'honorary not-for-profit' 
publisher'.  It stems from the contract publishing which Blackwell's 
undertakes for learned societies, a business which can only be 
sustained if strong emphasis is given to providing good customer 


The Sabo Bill and Open Access 

Named for Rep. Martin Sabo (D-Minn), and supported by the fledgling 
Public Library of Science (PLoS), the Sabo Bill has been watched 
closely by publishers, societies, editors and authors since its 
introduction to the US House of Representatives in June 2003. 
If enacted into law, the legislation would prohibit copyright 
protection for any work supported by US federal funds and could 
radically alter how journals function.
Specifically, the Bill would amend US copyright law by adding federal 
grant recipients to an existing provision that already bars federal 
employees from copyright on their publications.  There is no 
indication in the Bill concerning what percentage of total funds 
would need to be derived from federal funds in order to trigger the 
Many scientists, librarians and publishers argue that, without 
copyright, journals would not be able to continue to maintain the 
quality and integrity of the scientific record as they would lose 
control of the distribution and republishing of articles. 
Others point to the fact that the Bill is so broadly written that, in 
addition to journals, books and even TV documentaries could be 
negatively affected by its provisions.
Fortunately, Washington insiders believe that, due to its now 
well-recognised flaws, the Sabo Bill has little "traction" and will 
not survive far into 2004.  Nonetheless, there is also little doubt 
that this is just an opening gambit by the open access movement in a 
campaign to seek legislative support for their viewpoint.

Subito document delivery service

Blackwell has been working with other publishers to ensure that the 
Subito document delivery service complies with international 
copyright law.  Subito (  <http://www.subito-doc.com/> 
http://www.subito-doc.com) is managed by a network of university 
libraries across Germany, Switzerland and Austria and has the backing 
of the German government.  Until recently, a user anywhere in the 
world could order journal articles for e-mail delivery at EUR4, with 
none of this coming back to the journals.  
As a result of the legal pressure that we have exerted, they have now 
ceased delivering articles outside Germany, Switzerland and Austria.  
We are working with them to negotiate a license which would allow 
them to link users through to journal articles on Blackwell Synergy, 
to operate a document delivery service for older non-digitised 
content, and to continue their legal activities within Germany, 
Switzerland and Austria. These negotiations are at an early stage and 
will be concluded in 2004. 

The 'preprint server' hits legal problems

One of the basic principles of preprint servers has been that there is 
no peer review or even any checking of what is posted.  In an article 
posted on the physics preprint server, ArXiv, on October 27th, Alvaro 
De Rújula alleges that Martin Rees, Britain's astronomer royal, has 
claimed credit for other researchers' ideas.  Subsequently Rees 
modified his paper to cite the relevant work, but this could lead to 
others posting similar complaints.  
If such accusations can be proved in court to be defamatory then there 
is a huge potential liability inherent in publishing systems 
following the ArXiv model.  This may lead to routine checking of 
contributions and occasional referral to legal advisors.  This 
represents a new overhead to be faced by proponents of the model, who 
are already looking at another problem (and potential cost), 
screening for plagiarism.  It is unlikely that insurers will provide 
cover without formal checking procedures in place.  For more 
information see Nature, volume 426, 6 November 2003, page 7.

Editorial Best Practice: Understanding ISSNs

What is an ISSN?
The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an internationally 
accepted code that identifies the title of serial publications.  It 
is an eight-digit code consisting of seven numbers plus a check digit 
that enables a computer to recognise when the number is incorrectly 
cited. The check digit may be an X - otherwise the ISSN is fully 
The ISSN is not connected with ownership of the journal, nor does it 
confer copyright or protect the title of the serial from use by other 
publishers.  The ISSN does not change if, for example, the journal 
changes publisher.  
However, a new ISSN is required if the title of the journal changes.  
This affects the way that the journal is catalogued within library 
systems, and how it is recorded in abstracting and indexing services, 
such as ISI and Medline.  For this reason we recommend that the 
decision to change a journal title only be taken when the anticipated 
benefits outweigh the bibliographic risks associated with the change.
What are ISSNs assigned to?
ISSNs are currently assigned to the titles of serial publications in 
accordance with the definition below:
A serial is a publication issued in successive parts, usually having 
numerical or chronological designations (e.g. Vol.1, no.3, Summer 
1996, etc.) and having a common title which is intended to be 
continued indefinitely. The definition encompasses journals, 
magazines, newspapers and series statements on books or monographs.
ISSNs should not be assigned to one-off publications, magazine 
specials, newspaper specials or web sites.
Displaying the ISSN in print
The number should be printed thus: ISSN 0000-0000.
That is, it should be preceded by the initials ISSN followed by a 
single space, then the first four digits, then a hyphen, then the 
last four digits. This form of presentation is intended to make the 
ISSN easier to read and recognize internationally.  The ISSN should 
preferably be printed on the top right-hand corner of the cover of a 
printed journal.  However, if design, binding or other considerations 
mean the cover is unsuitable, the number may be printed in some other 
prominent position.  The printing of the number is voluntary but is 
recommended in order to gain the full benefits of the ISSN system.
Electronic ISSN
A different ISSN from the print edition (the e-ISSN) is used for the 
online edition of the journal. This is to enable librarians and other 
users to distinguish between their print and online holdings.
The e-ISSN is also used within the structure of the digital object 
identifier (DOI).  Every journal article published by Blackwell is 
allocated a DOI which is then used as the basis on which electronic 
links between articles can be established.  Authors can also use the 
DOI in article citations.
The structure of the Blackwell DOI is as follows: 
10.1111             is the publisher identifier
j                       indicates that this is a journal article
2003                 is the year when the article was received 
1536-7150         is the e-ISSN
00002               is the internal article tracking number

ISSN in future

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the electronic publishing 
environment, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has 
established a new Working Group to review the ISSN system.  The 
revised standard should, among other things, specify any agreed 
extensions or changes to the scope of the ISSN, clarify the types of 
resources to which ISSN may and may not be assigned, specify the 
required metadata associated with each ISSN assignment, and clarify 
policies for assigning ISSN to different editions or versions of a 
resource.  We will keep you informed about these changes once they 
come into place.
For more general information on ISSNs, visit: 
For more general information on DOIs, visit http:// www.doi.org

All about Online Journals: Reference linking

One of the great benefits of conducting research online, compared to 
in print, is that readers can more easily find and link to referenced 
and other related material.  They are very often able to trace the 
sources of articles simply by clicking on links in the reference list 
which take readers to the cited abstract, or even to the full-text 
article, without having to leave their desk.
For the journals on Blackwell Synergy, our goal is to make research 
easier and more fluid.  The majority of articles on the service 
include HTML reference lists which allow for linking to cited 
articles, where they are available online.  These reference lists are 
regularly updated so that more links are added as more cited material 
is loaded onto the internet.  Once an article is published on Synergy 
its reference links will be continually updated - ensuring that the 
links are as up-to-date as possible, and certainly far more so than 
many other online journals services.
We are pleased to have added three new linking partners to Blackwell 
Synergy in the last month - JSTOR, CSA, and CIS.  This means that 
researchers now have a greater number of options when finding source 
material online.
An example of reference linking in an article on Blackwell Synergy:

Many of the online articles on Blackwell Synergy now include reference 
links to the following:
1.       Related articles in Blackwell Synergy - including to both 
cited articles, and to those that cite the article being read (also 
known as forward linking)
2.       CrossRef - taking readers to cited articles in other 
publisher databases
3.       PubMed (MEDLINE)
4.       ISI Web of Knowledge
5.       JSTOR - the scholarly journal archive
6.       Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature 
7.       Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
8.       Current Index of Statistics (CIS)
9.       Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA) - includes 50 databases 
covering materials science, environmental sciences and pollution 
management, biological sciences, aquatic sciences and fisheries, 
biotechnology, engineering, computer science, sociology, art history, 
and linguistics.

The Charleston Library Conference - Key journal issues

Why should this particular library conference be of special interest 
to journal editors and society officers?  It is an annual gathering, 
held in Charleston, South Carolina, of 600+ mostly academic 
librarians, along with several curious publishers and intermediaries.  
The special thing about this conference is its congenial and 
collegiate atmosphere, and the fact that it draws the real opinion 
leaders - the movers and shakers - of the library world.  It is this 
group that are very often forming and influencing the opinion of the 
wider community of serials librarians, the main subscriber base for 
most journals.  This year, Blackwell fielded 5 delegates at 
Charleston who were able to report back on the key issues for 
*         US libraries really are suffering from budget cuts.  The Big 
Deal (purchase of complete collections of journals from one 
publisher) is being challenged and whatever replaces it must be less 
expensive, encourage a move to electronic only, and allow for more 
selection by librarians of what they think their "patrons" want. 
*         2004 will, however, not be the crunch year for the overthrow 
of the Big Deal.  David Goodman, librarian at Princeton University, 
projects 2006 as the year in which journals will begin to lose out if 
they do not respond positively to new models like open access. 
*         There were a number of presentations on open access, 
although many librarians worry about the practicalities and 
implications of the 'author pays' model.
*         There is a general acceptance, grudgingly, of pricing by the 
number of students in an institution.  The bigger research libraries 
tend to have to pay more.  It was recognised that this model was 
linked to the potential use of journals and that, at present, actual 
usage data cannot be part of pricing models.
*         Perhaps the most immediately relevant presentations were on 
how to measure usage within libraries, and what the results mean.  It 
was relevant particularly because Blackwell is taking part in a City 
University project to measure user behaviour.  Early results indicate 
that patterns of behaviour on Synergy match those of other platforms.  
There is also increasing evidence that high usage correlates with 
high impact factor, though less so in applied journals.
*         The Canadian guru Steve Abram gave a keynote on libraries 
and the next generation of learners.  According to him, the new 
generation "learn differently, and it is not the way we learn".  
*         There were many suggestions at the conference about the need 
to provide a seamless online experience with statements such as "if 
libraries do not give seamless access to students, they will go to 
Google".  What was really fascinating was the session when librarians 
interrogated three local students and found that the students tended 
to go to one database, out of all those the library purchased, and 
stay there.
*         Mass discarding of print is still inhibited by worries about 
the archiving and preservation of e-content.  There were four 
presentations on this topic.  The concept of the trusted archive is 
very much to the fore, with, in the US context, local non-profits 
like OCLC and JSTOR more trusted than either other libraries or the 
Library of Congress. 

Rowecom subscriptions agency - a resolution in sight

Librarians, publishers and agents met at the Charleston Library 
Conference to consider the consequences and lessons to be learned 
from the bankruptcy of the US subscriptions agent, Rowecom.
Following the sale of Rowecom Europe to Ebsco, and the subsequent sale 
of the assets of Rowecom's parent company at a good price, there is 
some optimism about the prospect of a resolution which should see 
publishers being able to recover in 2004 a proportion of the losses 
suffered in respect of 2003 subscriptions.
There was some considerable discussion in the session about how 
libraries should recognise the contribution made by those publishers 
who continued supply.  Many librarians were keen to express their 
gratitude and most said that they would be trying to take it into 
account when looking at priorities for purchasing subscriptions in 
Questions were raised about how libraries could take more 
responsibility for monitoring the health of organisations with whom 
they place millions of dollars of business every year.  It is to be 
hoped at least that they begin to subject them to scrutiny by their 
institution's purchasing department as would be the case with other 
major suppliers.
At Blackwell, we received full payment for Rowecom Europe 
subscriptions in the summer.  We have been actively communicating 
with all other former Rowecom customers to verify the status of their 
subscriptions and to ensure that we receive payment from those who 
had moved to another agent or who wanted to pay us directly. 
The crisis has occupied hundreds of hours for tens of thousands of 
people over the last year.  The silver lining is that its resolution 
has involved publishers, librarians and the subscriptions agent, 
Ebsco, in real collaborative work towards the common goal of ensuring 
the uninterrupted flow of information in the scholarly research 
community.  A good precedent for solving some of the other thorny 
questions that face us all perhaps.


Preview of forthcoming topics for Journal News:

*	Editorial best practice - citations, ISI ranking and impact factors 
*	Editorial best practice - refereeing/peer-review       
*	Information about copyright assignment   
*	Trends in consortia buying 
*	Developing world access to research 
*	The impact of Google 
Do let us know if you have any suggestions for topics to include in 
future issues, or any comments on this issue of Journal News.


Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

IUCr Editorial Office, 5 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU, England
Phone: 44 1244 342878   Fax: 44 1244 314888   Email: ps@iucr.org
Ftp: ftp.iucr.org   WWW: http://journals.iucr.org/

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