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Re: CEP 2004 annual report

Dear Howard

> CEP 2004 annual report.  Any comments and modifications are welcome.

It is very similar to the triennial report (partly by its nature, of
course). I suggest in the draft below a few additions and elisions to focus
more on activities specific to 2004.

Best wishes

IUCr 2004 Report - Committee on Electronic Publishing, Dissemination
and Storage of Information (CEP)

In 2004 members of the CEP attended the following meetings:

  - H. D. Flack attended the third workshop on the Open Archives
  Initiative (OAI3), CERN, Geneva, 12th - 14th Feb. 2004 where he 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.

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. [The voluntarily-maintained mirror sites within the
existing system have been phased out to allow future implementation of
more centralised Web services. Due to the heavy workload in the
editorial offices in Chester, further progress on re-engineering the
IUCr web site has been slower than hoped. Action needs to be taken
very soon. The current IUCr web site now looks dreadfully
old-fashionned and is difficult to navigate.]

**** Suggest changing the bracketed section above to:

The voluntarily-maintained mirror sites within the existing system
have now been phased out.  Owing to the heavy workload in the
editorial offices in Chester, further progress on re-engineering the
IUCr web site and introducing more centralized web services has been
slower than hoped. Such developments now have high priority.  The
current IUCr web site appears old-fashioned and will benefit from
improved navigation.

Crystallography Journals Online

On the 10th 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 9th 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
assesment, 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

In spite 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. Unfortunately, spam, 'phishing' and other abuses of
openly-available contact information act as a major discouragement for
making personal data available online or otherwise. ]

*** Since there is nothing specific to report on WDC during 2004, I would
be inclined to leave out the section altogether - the comments in the
triennial report are adequate. Alternatively, we could provide statistics
of the current numbers of registered users, but the results might not be


Under the continued leadership of L. M. D. Cranswick,
individual NeXus CD-ROMs were made on request, no general release
being made in 2004. An arrangement has been found for the manufacture
and distribution of the CD-ROMs in collaboration with CCP14 in
Birkbeck College/University College London. 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.

Crystallography Journals Online and Open Access

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.  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. [The involvement of the CEP has included advice and
suggestions for handling the management of intellectual property rights,
descriptive metadata allowing the operation of added-value service
providers, and mechanisms for validating and assessing the quality of
individual data sets. The CEP is also trying to highlight the importance
of standard metadata describing scientific result sets within CODATA and
in the STM publishing arena.] 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 which 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

*** Suggest inclusion of the bracketed comments to provide more detail
about our activities and goals.

International Tables

Activity was commenced 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.  [This has included the development of some pilot
prototypical applications and the testing of some ideas in the production
of the CD-ROM accompanying the printed edition of International Tables
Volume G.] Subsequently a separate working group was appointed by the
Executive Committee to deal with the specific needs of International
Tables Online effectively removing this area of activity from the
mandate of the CEP.

*** The additional section bracketed above is suggested as an indication
of the type of technical activity already undertaken.

H. D. Flack, 14th June 2005

Version 14.06.2005 11h00BST


Things for the 2005 report NOT TO BE INCLUDED WITH THE 2004 VERSION

  - 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.
  - B. McMahon attended the Council of Science Editors Meeting in
  Atlanta, USA, 20th - 24th 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, and gave
  a presentation on semantically rich metadata in crystallographic
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