November 30, 2007

PhysMath Central launches its first journal

Excerpted from SPARC's October 2 press release:

PhysMath Central, BioMed Central's open access publishing platform for the fields of physics, mathematics and computer science, today announced that PMC Physics A, the first PhysMath Central journal, has published its first research articles. The articles included a groundbreaking study that could change the way physicists understand dark matter.

One of the first articles published in PMC Physics A shares the results of a study conducted by Nikolaos Mavromatos of King's College London and his colleagues Athanasios Lahanas and Dimitri Nanopoulos, which found that the amount of dark matter left over from the early universe may be less than previously believed. The full research paper, along with others, can be read at

PhysMath Central also announces that its second journal, PMC Physics B will be edited jointly by Prof. Peter Hatton, Professor of Physics, Durham University, and Prof. Steve Buckman of Australian National University. The new journal will focus on condensed matter and atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics.

Posted by stemp003 at 5:07 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2007

Society publishers with open access journals

Peter Suber of Earlham College and Caroline Sutton of Co-Action Publishing have produced "a comprehensive list of scholarly societies worldwide that support gold [Open Access] for their own journals." The Excel spreadsheet is sharable under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

In Phase Two of their research, the authors hope to "survey the societies turned up in Phase One in order to learn details about their turn to OA, their business models, and the financial and academic consequences of their OA policies."

More information about the project is available at Prof. Suber's Open Access Newsletter:

Posted by stemp003 at 3:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2007

Why would a U.S. Senator want to deny public access to publicly funded research?

Most research funded by large federal agencies like the NIH is currently published in very expensive commercial journals. Reed Elsevier, the world's largest commercial science publisher, has for years been proud to earn profits in the 30-40 percent range for their investors - a profit funded by extremely inflated pricing practices, with libraries sometimes paying tens of thousands of dollars per year for one journal title. Open access advocates maintain that this research is funded by taxpayers and the results should be freely available in open access venues like PubMed.

Recently, the U.S. Senate passed a 2008 Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill including a provision mandating that NIH research, which is funded by taxpayers, be made freely available to those taxpayers within 12 months of publication. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-OK) attempted to insert an amendment to delete this provision. Why would Senator Inhofe wish to deny public access to scientific research funded by taxpayer dollars?

It could be related to the fact that Reed Elsevier is one of the top donors to Senator Inhofe (according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics). It could also be related to the Senator's strident stance that global climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the media and the scientific establishment. After all, if the public does not have access to the enormous amount of scientific evidence demonstrating the reality of climate change, they will more readily accept his claim that global warming is "the most media-hyped environmental issue of all time", perpetuated by "climate alarmists".

For more information about the 2008 Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill (subsequently vetoed by President Bush), read Peter Suber's Nov. 1 issue of OA News.

Posted by stemp003 at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2007

ACS accused of conflict of interest in lobbying against Open Access

Professor Paul Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota - Morris, has an interesting blog entry where he summarizes a recent "flap" at the American Chemical Society. Two individuals, one anonymous and one named, assert that ACS executives earn bonuses based on the profits from society publications and draw a connection between those bonuses and the fact that ACS lobbies against proposed legislation mandating Open Access to federally funded research. As Professor Myers puts it so eloquently, "Have fun plumbing the practical sociology of science!"

ACS felt compelled to respond to these assertions in the October 24, 2007 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education (Chemical Society Rebuts Anonymous Accusations of Self-Interest in Opposing Open Access). Peter Suber of Open Access News has this take on the rebuttal:

The ACS responds to the first memo from "ACS Insider" but not the second memo. By the way, while the "ACS Insider" allegation is anonymous, the same allegation was made earlier, for attribution, by Paul Thacker in an article in the Summer 2007 issue of SEJournal from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The Chronicle article contains one new disclosure from Madeleine Jacobs, executive director of the ACS:

Ms. Jacobs did confirm that senior executives and some managers in the publishing division have a "small portion" of their overall incentive compensation "based on meeting certain financial targets." She did not agree that such incentive pay, however small, represented a conflict of interest in the group's opposition to open-access legislation, and called that argument "spurious."

Posted by stemp003 at 4:31 PM | Comments (3)