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IUCr Executive Committee report of meeting in Budapest

The IUCr Executive Committee met in Budapest, Hungary, August 25-26 2004. Principal topics discussed were: the launch of a new electronic-only journal in 2005; open access; development of CIF handling software; putting International Tables online; the Florence General Assembly and Congress; and nominations for the Executive Committee and Commissions and voting procedures at General Assemblies.

Excerpts from the Minutes of the Executive Committee meeting

Review of journals. It was noted that the impact factors of IUCr journals for 2003 had all increased.

The IUCr had been successful in its application for a grant from the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) as part of the open access initiative; in return for the grant, the IUCr's open access charge for submissions from UK institutions had been waived for 2004.

It was noted that in early 2004 the Commons Science and Technology Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament had undertaken an inquiry into Scientific Publications. Following a Press Release and invitation to submit evidence, the IUCr had written a report on its publishing activities and policies, which was submitted as evidence to the inquiry in February 2004.

The Editor-in-Chief reported on progress with the electronic-only journal Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications that would be launched in January 2005.

It was noted that grants had been made available from the Journal Grants Fund to institutions in thirteen countries. The IUCr journals were also included in Blackwell's Synergy and were thereby available as part of the Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI), through the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), whereby qualifying developing countries received access at reduced cost.

STAR/CIF. Good progress was reported for two projects: (a) to develop procedures and templates to ensure that mmCIF data files deposited with the Protein Data Bank contained all the information necessary for publication in IUCr journals; and (b) for the development of CIF handling software.

Internet services. It was noted that the Crystallography Journals Online service received about 108,000 requests per day from about 20,000 unique hosts.

Archiving arrangements. Steps being taken to ensure the permanent long-term archiving of all IUCr publications were discussed and IUCr cooperation with a Southamptonbased initiative to allow institutional self-archiving of crystal structures by chemists was welcomed.

International Tables for Crystallography. Progress with new volumes and revisions of existing volumes was reviewed. A proposal to make the complete series available online was approved. Additional interactive features would be developed. It was agreed that the charging model for the online version should be subscription based to the complete package.

Progress with a revision of the contract with Springer (formerly Kluwer) for publishing print and online versions of International Tables was noted.

World Directory of Crystallographers. The Executive Committee agreed that the database should be streamlined by including fewer entries for fields of interest and discussed ways of speeding up the updating process by increasing the involvement of the National and Regional Editors.

IUCr Newsletter. The Executive Committee was particularly pleased with the issues covering crystallography in Latin America, Italy and Russia and noted that issues for Germany, Australia and Japan were pending.

Ewald Prize. Prof. Michiyoshi Tanaka had agreed to chair the Selection Committee for the Seventh Ewald Prize, to be presented in Florence in 2005.

Regional Associates. The Executive Committee received reports from the representatives and were pleased to note a Latin American initiative of the American Crystallographic Association.

Relations with other Scientific Unions. The Executive Committee agreed to support the application of the International Commission for Acoustics (presently an Associated Commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) to become a member of ICSU.

Florence Programme. The Executive Committee discussed the programme and approved guidelines for future Congresses that had been recommended by the Florence Programme Committee.

Nominations for members of the Executive Committee and Commissions/voting procedure.
The Executive Committee discussed its nominations for the new Executive Committee membership for the next triennium. [The President has subsequently written to the National Committees for Crystallography detailing the recommendations and explaining the reasons for making them].

Only two responses had been received to the President's circular concerning the possible adoption of a single-transferable-voting procedure at General Assemblies. The Executive Committee therefore decided that there was no mandate to change the existing procedure.

Audited accounts for 2003. The Executive Committee approved the audited accounts for 2003.

Status of membership. Argentina's membership had been reinstated by the Executive Committee following commitments by Spain and the USA to pay the outstanding arrears. Ukraine (also suspended) had indicated that it was now in a position to pay annual subscriptions and the Executive Committee agreed to continue to explore possible ways of covering the arrears.

The summer 2005 meeting of the Executive Committee will be held in Florence, prior to the Congress.