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October 30, 2007

The State of the University Press

This entry is a little behind in noting this article, but, apropos of the Ithaka Report, there is an interesting piece on the state of the university press from the September 14th Inside Higher Education: Ronald Reagan vs. the University Press by James F. Reische, a former senior executive editor at the University of Michigan Press. Especially interesting is the conversation among readers in the comments at the end of the article. Well worth reading.

Posted by Sarah Shreeves at 9:29 AM

October 29, 2007

Science Has a Serious Marketing Problem

The Scientist (Vol 21, Issue 10) ran an interesting article, "The Future of Public Engagement" about the need for scientists to "frame" their research for public consumption. They should not just "dumb down" their science, so "the public" can understand it. Rather

...scientists must learn to focus on presenting, or "framing," their messages in ways that connect with diverse audiences. This means remaining true to the underlying science, but drawing on research to tailor messages in ways that make them personally relevant and meaningful to different publics. For example, when scientists are speaking to a group of people who think about the world primarily in economic terms, they should emphasize the economic relevance of science - such as, in the case of embryonic stem cell research, pointing out that expanded government funding would make the United States, or a particular state, more economically competitive.

How framing works..

Frames simplify complex issues by lending greater importance to certain considerations and arguments over others. In the process, framing helps communicate why an issue might be a problem, who or what might be responsible, and what should be done. A typology of frames specific to science-related issues summarizes a common set of frames specific to science.

The article gives examples from research in successes in communicating stem cell research, plant biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

Some scientists already frame their communications. Consider, for example, E.O. Wilson's Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. In his book, by recasting environmental stewardship as not only a scientific matter, but also one of personal and moral duty, Wilson has generated discussion among a religious audience that might not otherwise pay attention to popular science books.

Perhaps because I just read a similar idea in Alan Alda's book "Things I Overheard While Listening to Myself", this Scientist article resonated for me. In his book, Alda suggests that, along with all the science classes students take, perhaps they should also be taking communication classes!

We can't leave the popularization of science just to the science news writers. Their articles certainly help. But citizens need to hear about research from the scientists themselves. Last night I watched a wonderful program on Nature about colony collapse in honeybees, "Silence of the Bees". Two of our scientists from the U of I entomology department, May Berenbaum and Gene Robinson (together with other scientists) spoke eloquently of the catastrophe that will occur if honeybees continue to decline. One couldn't help but be drawn into the story and into the CSI-like research effort that's going on to solve this problem.

Posted by Katie Newman at 2:29 PM

October 26, 2007

Mandate For Public Access to NIH-Funded Research to Become Law

Press Release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access

For immediate release
October 24, 2007


Full U.S. Senate Approves Bill Containing Support for Access To
Taxpayer-Funded Research

Washington, D.C. ­ October 24, 2007 - The U.S. Senate last night approved
the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1710), including
a provision that directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to
strengthen its Public Access Policy by requiring rather than requesting
participation by researchers. The bill will now be reconciled with the House
Appropriations Bill, which contains a similar provision, in another step
toward support for public access to publicly funded research becoming United
States law.

³Last night¹s Senate action is a milestone victory for public access to
taxpayer-funded research,² said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC
(the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a founding
member of the ATA). ³This policy sets the stage for researchers, patients,
and the general public to benefit in new and important ways from our
collective investment in the critical biomedical research conducted by the

Under a mandatory policy, NIH-funded researchers will be required to deposit
copies of eligible manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine¹s
online database, PubMed Central. Articles will be made publicly available no
later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The current NIH Public Access Policy, first implemented in 2005, is a
voluntary measure and has resulted in a de deposit rate of less than 5% by
individual investigators. The advance to a mandatory policy is the result of
more than two years of monitoring and evaluation by the NIH, Congress, and
the community.

³We thank our Senators for taking action on this important issue,² said Pat
Furlong, Founding President and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.
³This level of access to NIH-funded research will impact the disease process
in novel ways, improving the ability of scientists to advance therapies and
enabling patients and their advocates to participate more effectively. The
advance is timely, much-needed, and ­ we anticipate ­ an indication of
increasingly enhanced access in future.²

³American businesses will benefit tremendously from improved access to NIH
research,² said William Kovacs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president for
environment, technology and regulatory affairs. ³The Chamber encourages the
free and timely dissemination of scientific knowledge produced by the NIH as
it will improve both the public and industry¹s ability to become better
informed on developments that impact them ­ and on opportunities for
innovation.² The Chamber is the world¹s largest business federation,
representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and

³We welcome the NIH policy being made mandatory and thank Congress for
backing this important step,² said Gary Ward, Treasurer of the American
Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). ³Free and timely public access to
scientific literature is necessary to ensure that new discoveries are made
as quickly as feasible. It¹s the right thing to do, given that taxpayers
fund this research.² The ASCB represents 11,000 members and publishes the
highly ranked peer-reviewed journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell.

Joseph added, ³On behalf of the taxpayers, patients, researchers, students,
libraries, universities, and businesses that pressed this bill forward with
their support over the past two years, the ATA thanks Congress for throwing
its weight behind the success of taxpayer access to taxpayer-funded

Negotiators from the House and Senate are expected to meet to reconcile
their respective bills this fall. The final, consolidated bill will have to
pass the House and the Senate before being delivered to the President at the
end of the year.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:55 AM

October 11, 2007

Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer Theory of Superconductivity Papers Now Open Access

Thanks to Mary C. Schlembach, Assistant Engineering Librarian and Physics and Astronomy Librarian at the University of Illinois for this note...

From the American Physical Society...

To honor the 50th anniversary celebration of the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer Theory of Superconductivity being held Oct 10-13 at the Univ. of Illinois, the APS has made the three original BCS papers "Free-to-Read":

We are honored to have published these seminal works that have become the basis for many important technological developments.
Gene D. Sprouse, Editor in Chief, American Physical Society
Joseph W. Serene, Treasurer/Publisher, American Physical Society
For links to these papers, go to

Posted by Katie Newman at 5:09 PM

October 3, 2007

Forum on Open Access, Alternative Publishing Models, and Author Rights at UIUC

The University Library, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and the Office of Technology Management are sponsoring a Forum on Open Access, Alternative Publishing Models, and Author Rights on November 9th from 8:30 - 3:00 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom. Lunch and light morning and afternoon refreshments will be provided.

The objective of this forum is to inform and engage faculty concerning open access to intellectual property. Topics will include current trends and issues in scholarly communication, open access and teaching, open access and tools for discovery, and the potential for open access to increase the dissemination and impact of research publications. This forum will also discuss various models for, or degrees of, openness, from open-access institutional repositories the (like University of Illinois' IDEALS) to other alternative publishing models, including independent and non-profit open-access publishing, as well as low-cost commercial publishing.

Speakers include:

The Forum is free, but we do ask that you register so that we can get a headcount for refreshments. See

Posted by Sarah Shreeves at 9:57 AM

Suit Over Restrictions on Authors in Nations Under Embargo Settled

A long-standing dispute between the U.S. Treasury Department and U.S. publishers over how publications may deal with works submitted by scholars in nations under embargo has ended. The U.S. Treasury Department has now issued new regulations clarifying publishers' rights and has agreed to settle a lawsuit initiated by groups representing publishers and authors.

New regulations were issued in the August 30 Federal Register. On Oct. 1, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it had agreed to settle the lawsuit filed by the Association of American University Presses and other groups.

The settlement appears to be a win-win situation for both groups. OFAC will retain its general-license requirement but will no longer require a special case-by-case license for editing or publishing works by authors in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, or Myanmar (the special license requirement actually was eased in 2004); the general-license requirement seems to be a formality except in unusual cases involving military sensitivity or direct involvement of embargoed foreign governments in research papers, which will continue to be restricted. The group representing publishers and authors won a stipulation that works published in electronic formats have the same protections as those published in print.

Read more in today's Chronicle of Higher Education.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:28 AM