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ICSTI: news items

  • To: epc@iucr.org
  • Subject: ICSTI: news items
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2004 08:17:48 +0000
  • Organization: IUCr

Subject: Re: Evalauation of e-books application in libraries
Date: Friday 05 November 2004 9:26 am
From: Howard Flack <crystal@FLACK.CH>

> At this URL:http://www.dlib.org/dlib/october04/cox/10cox.html
> you will find an article on an evaluation of an e-books software.

This report on E-books on John Cox is most interesting and of immediate 
concern to the IUCr as we are in the throes of the electronification of our 
series of reference works "International Tables for Crystallography".

As the topic of e-books is something that ICSTI has not touched upon in 
detail, we would be most interested in having it included as a session in one 
of the future meetings.

Is anyone else particularly interested?


Subject: Re: Evalauation of e-books application in libraries
Date: Monday 08 November 2004 4:11 pm
From: Kent Smith <ksmith@KASENTERPRISE.COM>

Howard has a good suggestion here--E-books are a
coming thing particularly when in science they are
tied to an online bibliographic database. NLM at its
Biotech Center now has 35 or so e-books up online with
connections through Entrez to the PubMed database and
vice versa.

See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi to
view the Bookshelf

Kent Smith
Subject: UK Government response on access to scientific data
Date: Monday 08 November 2004 2:32 pm
From: Barry Mahon <barry.mahon@IOL.IE>


I have started reading the report I mentioned this morning. The UK government 
is very detailed in its responses, so please excuse the 'stop-start' nature 
of my extracts. Here is one on access to data:

Committee Report: We congratulate the Medical Research Council on its support 
of the principle that primary research data should be made available to the 
scientific community for subsequent research. We recommend that the Research 
Councils consider providing funds to enable researchers to publish their 
primary data alongside their research findings, where appropriate. (Paragraph 

UK Government response: The Government believes that the data underpinning the 
results of publicly-funded research should be made available as widely and 
rapidly as possible, along with the results themselves. For a number of years 
now, the AHRB, ESRC and NERC [UK research bodies] have funded data centres 
responsible for managing primary research data generated from the research 
they support and for disseminating these data to the wider community. There 
is a cross Research Council group (led by CCLRC) looking at how research 
council policy needs to be developed in this area. The Government is not 
persuaded that additional funding needs to be provided to researchers rather, 
there may need to be additional investment by research councils to fund data 
facilities made available to support this objective. Institutional or 
thematic repositories should provide a useful environment for disseminating 
such information and linking it to research results. For example, the 
Department of Health is exploring the possibility of a NHS repository.
The JISC [Joint Information Systems Committee of UK Universities] works 
closely with the Research Councils and jointly hosts some of the primary data 
already supported by Research Council funds, through services in the social 
sciences and the arts and humanities, such as the Arts and Humanities Data 
Service and the Economic and Social Data Service. The institutional 
repositories created through the JISC funded FAIR programme already contain 
many types of academic material including e-prints and primary research data 
which should prove useful to researchers. The FAIR programme, through 
projects like E-prints UK, is also developing infrastructure to allow all 
e-prints stored in institutional repositories to be located irrespective of 
their location. Crucially, all the JISC activity in this area is standards 
based so that the interoperability between different data and information is 


Date: Monday 08 November 2004 12:02 pm
From: Barry Mahon <barry.mahon@IOL.IE>

This is the Press Release from the UK Parliament's S&T Committe reacting to an 
(apparently) negative reaction by the UK Government to their earlier report 
on S&T Publishing.

I have not yet read the latest report, only available today at: 

Millbank, London SW1P 3JA Tel. Nos. 020 7219 2793-2794 (Fax. No. - 0896) 


No. 81 of Session 2003-04

8 November 2004


MPs on the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee have 
today, Monday 8 November, asked the Government to "reconsider its position" 
on scientific publications after it released an obstructive Response to a 
Committee Report released in July this year.

The MPs say that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has clearly tried 
to "neutralise" the views put forward by other departments and 
Government-funded organisations, in particular the Joint Information Systems 
Committee (JISC), an expert advisory body funded indirectly by the Department 
for Education and Skills. The MPs said it was "worrying" both that an expert 
body had felt constrained in carrying out its advisory role, and that the 
Government had ignored JISC's expert advice on the need for change in the 
system for publishing research findings. JISC's very positive response to the 
Committee Report was watered down following negotiations with DTI.

The Government Response focuses on criticism of the "author-pays" publishing 
model, despite the fact that the Committee's Report did not recommend its 
wholesale adoption. Moreover, the Government has "prejudged" the publishing 
model, instead of encouraging experimentation as advocated by the Committee. 
MPs claim that the Government's position owes more to the publishing 
interests supported by DTI than the best interests of the scientific 
community or evidence-based policy.

Ian Gibson MP, Chair of the Committee, said: "DTI is apparently more 
interested in kowtowing to the powerful publishing lobby than it is in 
looking after the best interests of British science. This isn't 
evidence-based policy, it's policy-based evidence.

"The DTI are clearly wearing the Government's trousers on this issue and 
that's wrong. Not only has it ignored the advice of the body appointed to 
advise on this issue, it has actually tried to stop them giving us this 
advice directly, just because they support the Committee's conclusions rather 
than the DTI view."

Notes to editors: 
* Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Science and Technology 
Committee is empowered to examine the "expenditure, policy and administration 
of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies". 
The Committee was appointed on 12 November 2001.

* The Committee's inquiry into Scientific Publications was announced on 10 
December 2003 in Press Notice 3 of Session 2003-04. The Committee took 
evidence from Blackwell Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, Nature Publishing 
Group and Reed Elsevier on 1 March 2004; Oxford University Press, the 
Institute of Physics Publishing, the Association of Learned and Professional 
Society Publishers, BioMed Central, Public Library of Science and Axiope on 8 
March 2004; the British Library, the Joint Information Systems Committee, 
Cambridge University Library, the University of Hertfordshire and a panel of 
academics on 21 April 2004; and the Department of Trade and Industry/the 
Office of Science and Technology, the Higher Education Funding Council for 
England and Research Councils UK on 5 May 2004.

* The Committee published its findings as the Tenth Report of session 2003-04 
Scientific Publications: Free for all? (HC 399), on Tuesday 20 July 2004.

* This Report is published alongside the Government Response and responses 
from the Joint Information Systems Committee, RCUK, the Office of Fair 
Trading, the Society of College, National and University Libraries/the 
Consortium of University Research Libraries and the Securing a Hybrid 
Environment for Research Preservation and Access project.



Best wishes

Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

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