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Re: CEP 2002 - 2005 report. 1st Post final version

Howard

Please find attached a slightly modified version of the report which
incorporates editorial changes Mike has already made to the earlier version.
This also goes to Mike to minimise the work he needs to do to incorporate
the changes at this late stage.

I have introduced two slightly more substantial changes: the sentence
on my involvement with the EUNIS meeting now reads:

B. McMahon attended the European University Information Systems
(EUNIS) meeting in Manchester, England, 21 - 24 June 2005, to which
he submitted a paper on semantically rich metadata in crystallographic
publishing.

Since the event is in the future, it is conceivable (though not envisaged)
that the presentation will not be given, but the paper has indeed been
formally submitted.

Secondly, I have removed the sentences "Action needs to be taken very
soon. The current IUCr web site now looks dreadfully old-fashioned and
is difficult to navigate." which I feel does not set the right tone in a
triennial report. You should lobby execsec directly if you want him to
reinstate those comments.

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


In the triennium, the Committee on Electronic Publishing, Dissemination 
and Storage of Information (CEP) constituted a small and very active 
working group. No changes to the membership of the Committee have 
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
Archives Initiative (OAI): Gaining independence with e-prints
archives and OAI', 17 - 19 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.
  
An outcome of this meeting was the undertaking by the IUCr of a study
into the long-term preservation of the digital records of the science
of crystallography, described further in the report of the ICSTI 
representative.
  
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 the 'World Summit on the Information Society'
organised by the United Nations Organization, 10 - 12 December 2003,
Geneva.

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

H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial offices in Chester, England
18 - 20 October 2004.
 
H. D. Flack attended the meeting 'The Future of the Research
Information Chain - the role of Publishers and Learned Societies',
Budapest, Hungary, 17 - 18 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.
  
B. McMahon attended the Council of Science Editors Meeting in
Atlanta, USA, 20 - 24 May 2005 and gave a presentation in the
session on "Emerging Tools".
  
B. McMahon attended the European University Information Systems
(EUNIS) meeting in Manchester, England, 21 - 24 June 2005, to which
he submitted a paper on semantically rich metadata in crystallographic
publishing.

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 paid to the ease of use and integration of the 
several components of the IUCr information services. The voluntarily 
maintained mirror sites within the existing system have been phased out 
to allow future development of more centralized web services. Owing to 
the heavy workload in the editorial offices in Chester, progress on 
re-engineering the IUCr web site has been slower than hoped.

On the 10 December 2003, the Science and Technology Committee of
the United Kingdom House of Commons (UK national parliament) issued
invitations for evidence to support its inquiry into scientific
publications. M. H. Dacombe, J. R. Helliwell, H. D. Flack,
P. R. Strickland and B. McMahon submitted written evidence to the
Committee on the 9 February on behalf of the IUCr entitled
'Publishing Crystallography Journals in the Electronic Environment:
The Experience of a Specialist Learned-Society Publisher.' The report
highlighted that real value to scientific literature has enormously
increased in the past decade through technical innovations and that
the IUCr has worked hard to provide added value in the field of
crystallography. It was stressed that finite acquisition budgets may
leave libraries unable to afford IUCr journals and that any economic
restructuring of the scientific journals market (e.g. to promote open
access) must guarantee its quality and longevity. Further, for the
assessment, selection and improvement of the content of scientific
articles it was considered that peer review must remain paramount in
future developments of scientific journals. The problem of the
preservation and archiving of primary journals published in electronic
format was also highlighted.

World Directory of Crystallographers (WDC)

Despite 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, the 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, spam, 
‘phishing’ and other abuses of openly available contact information act 
as a major discouragement for making personal data available online or 
otherwise.

NeXus CD-ROM

Under the continued leadership of L. M. D. Cranswick, 1,000 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-ROMs are being prepared for 
distribution at the Florence Congress.

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 UK to become open access;
this funding was subsequently renewed for a further one-year
period. The CEP has been collaborating with the e-Bank project
involving the UK National Crystallography Service at Southampton
University. This project provides access to experimental records and
observations associated with crystal-structure determinations carried
out by the Service. It provides original data suitable for harvesting
by databases and linking from publications, and aims also to place in
the public domain scientific results that do not find their way into
formal published literature. This is one of a small but growing number
of initiatives to provide data repositories and bridge the gap between
data processing and publication for routine structures, a development
that the IUCr is following with attention. The CEP has also been
involved (through the Chester editorial office) in a collaboration
with P. Murray-Rust of Cambridge University to derive chemical
representations of molecules from published crystal structures, an
initiative that also has relevance for the work of COMCIFS in
developing formal descriptions of chemical properties.

International Tables for Crystallography

Activity was commenced late in 2003 and principally in the editorial 
office around the specification of new business and functional models 
for electronic versions of the information contained in International 
Tables for Crystallography. Subsequently a working group was appointed 
by the Executive Committee to deal with the specific needs of 
International Tables online. A report of the discussions of this group 
has been prepared by its Chair (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) 14 June 2005

Version 14.06.2005 10h35BST

==============================================================================
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