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CEP triennial 2002 - 2005 report

Terribly overdue, here is a first draft of the CEP triennial 2002 - 2005 
report. Any comments are welcome.


IUCr Triennial Report 2002 - 2005 - Committee on Electronic Publishing, Dissemination and Storage of Information

In the triennium 2002 - 2005, the Committee on Electronic Publishing, Dissemination and Storage of Information (EPC) constituted a small and very active working group. No changes to the membership of the committee has occurred during the triennium.

Members of the CEP attended the following meetings in the triennium:

  - H. D. Flack gave a short presentation 'FORTRAN archaelogy: an issue for a knowledge organization like the IUCr?' to the Open Meeting of the Commission on Computing 'The Problems facing Crystallographic Computing' in Geneva, August 2002.

  - B. McMahon and H. D. Flack attended the '2nd Workshop on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI): Gaining independence with e-prints archives and OAI', 17th - 19th October 2002, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.

  - H.D. Flack attended the discussion meeting organised by ICSTI 'Open Access to Scientific and Technical Information: State of the Art and Future Trends' 23 - 24 Jan. 2003, Paris, France.

  - H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial offices in Chester, England 28 - 30 April 2003. On this occasion Mr. David Russon, representing ICSTI, and Dr. Simon Parsons also visited Chester.

  - H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial offices in Chester, England 20 - 22 October 2003.

  - H. D. Flack, as special representative of ICSTI, attended the meeting 'The Role of Science in the Information Society', Geneva, Switzerland 8 - 9 December 2003; RSIS was a satellite meeting organised by CERN to 'World Summit on the Information Society' organised by the United Nations Organization, 10 - 12 December 2003, Geneva.

  - H. D. Flack and B. McMahon attended the third workshop on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI3), CERN, Geneva, 12th - 14th Feb. 2004. H. D. Flack was an invited participant at the discussion panel on 14th Feb.

  - H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial offices in Chester, England 18th - 20th October 2004.
  - H. D. Flack attended the meeting 'The Future of the Research Information Chain - the role of Publishers and Learned Societies', Budapest, Hungary, 17th - 18th March 2005 jointly organised by ALLEA (All European Academies - The European Federation of National Academies of Sciences and Humanities) and stm (The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers) at the headquarters of the Hungarian Academy of Science.

The meeting attendances of the CODATA and ICSTI representatives, whose work is so closely related to that of the CEP, are recorded in their individual reports. 

Information Services: The CEP has continued its task as editorial body for the on-line information services of the IUCr. The task of day-to-day maintenance of 'Crystallography Online' is performed under the responsibility of S. Parsons.  Y. Epelboin continues his good work on the maintenance of the list of software of interest for crystallography. Action has been taken on the restyling and restructuring of 'Crystallography Online'. This activity concerns the functionality, the stylistic attributes and the technical specifications of a revamped IUCr information service. Particular attention was made to the ease of use and integration of the several components of the IUCr information services. The volontary-maintained mirror sites within the existing system are being phased out as their existence is incompatible with the new design. Due to the heavy workload in the editorial offices in Chester, it has not been possible to implement these developments. Action needs to be taken very soon. The current IUCr web site now looks dreadfully old-fashionned and is difficult to navigate. 

World Directory of Crystallographers: Inspite of the use of the online interface to WDC 11 to update entries on individuals, the coverage and completeness of WDC 11 remains unsatisfactory.  At present WDC is not integrated with the journals electronic submission procedure which would ensure more regular and reliable updating. Yet more publicity is necessary to encourage crystallographers to keep their own record up-to-date. Of course the epoque we are living of spam and phishing is a major discouragement for making personal data available online or otherwise.

NeXus CD-ROM: Under the continued leadership of L. M. D. Cranswick 1000 copies of new versions of the 'Xtal NeXus; Virtual Crystallographic Internet on CD-ROM' versions 8.56 and 8.57 were produced in November 2002 and June 2003 in time to be distributed at the Asian and European Crystallographic Association meetings in Broome, Australia and Durban, South Africa respectively. 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. The CEP intends to continue with the NeXus project in the coming triennium. Indeed flyers and NeXus CD-ROM's are being prepared for distribution at the IUCr congress in Florence, August 2005.

Crystallography Journals Online: The CEP is particularly attentive to developments in the scientific community at large concerned with access to scientific literature and data. The CEP devoted considerable time and effort in the management of open-access initiatives related to crystallographic publications and data. This activity resulted in the production of position papers on open access and the subsequent introduction in January 2004 of an open-access option for contributors to IUCr journals on the principle of the 'author-pays' model. The IUCr applied and won funding for a one-year contract to allow papers submitted from authors in the United Kingdom to become open access.

International Tables for Crystallography
Activity was commenced late in 2003 and principally in the editoral office around the specification of new business and functional models for electronic versions of the information contained in International Tables for Crystallography. Subsequently a workgroup was appointed by the executive committee to deal with the specific needs of International-Tables-for-Crystallography-online. A report of the discussions of this group has been prepared by its chair person, Professor S. R. Hall.

The CEP has a continuing role to play within the IUCr. It is of the greatest use that the IUCr's representatives to CODATA and ICSTI are members of the CEP and we recommend that this practice be continued.  

H. D. Flack (Chair) 10th June 2005.

Version 10.06.2005  9h49

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