Reporting from the Frankfurt Book Fair
One of the most important events in the world of publishing is held in Frankfurt, Germany's center for business and banking. The Frankfurt Book Fair, held this year from October 15–19, is the world's largest marketplace for book-related business and a forum for publishing industry networking and dialog. The fair's history dates to the 15th century, when Johannes Gutenberg first invented movable type. Although Frankfurt remained the central and undisputed European book fair city through the 17th century, political and cultural upheaval led to Leipzig taking over that role in the 18th century. In 1949, however, Frankfurt's early book fair tradition was revived when 205 German exhibitors assembled in the city for the first postwar fair. Today, in its 60th year, the book fair is a global event that brings together around 7,400 exhibitors from 100 countries and offers more than 400 events, most of which address the subject of digitization. For a long time, the fair had been about book content. Now about 42% of exhibited products are books, while 30% are digital. Other products include audio books and book-related items. The fair has grown to gigantic proportions, with millions of books and publications on display. It would take quite an athlete (and bibliophile) to see all of them in five days, given that displays occupy 10 convention halls. Fortunately for AIP's publishing business, our partners, competitors, and existing and potential customers are confined to one large convention floor dedicated to scientific publications. This year AIP Marketing and Scitation teams delivered an attractive exhibit that included a large plasma screen with scrolling images of the Scitation platform's new features. The large number of attendees enables our marketing and business development staff to arrange meetings with partners and potential new customers from around the globe. When we negotiate sales agreements with international customers, their interest usually involves physics journals published by both AIP and APS. We are pleased to host in our booth and to facilitate interactions for APS sales and technical staff.
An important trade association, the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), traditionally holds its fall conference immediately preceding the fair. This year's event attracted more than 100 publishers and included talks by Larry Sanger, cofounder of Wikipedia, on collaborative scientific communications, and Ed Pentz, executive director of CrossRef, on a proposal to develop a means of certifying the "version of record" for a digital manuscript. Whenever scientific publishers congregate, an inevitable topic of conversation is the evolution of publishing business models driven by rapidly growing and changing Web technologies. Conference attendees were treated to a fascinating interview with Harold Varmus, the Nobel Prize-winning geneticist who currently serves as president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health, is well known to the physics community for his advocacy of increased funding for basic research in the physical sciences, the foundation for advances in the biological and medical sciences. Varmus is also well known to the publishing community for his advocacy of the open-access model in science journal publishing and for cofounding one of the better-known open-access journal series, the Public Library of Science (PLoS). The evolution of the journals in PLoS should provide all stakeholders in science publishing—from authors to publishers to librarians—with real data on the economic feasibility of the open-access business model. Until open access is fully tested, however, it remains a hot subject and one prone to conflicting predictions.
On board with Peer X-Press
In early October, the Peer X-Press (PXP) team successfully launched a manuscript submission and peer-review website for the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data (JPCRD), which is published by AIP for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). JPCRD's new PXP site provides authors with a user-friendly environment for submitting manuscripts online and allows the three co-editors easy access to files and metadata at all stages of the peer-review process. Prior to launch, co-editor Donald R. Burgess, Jr., of NIST–Gaithersburg, visited AIP's PXP, production, and online services teams for a thorough "I am a manuscript" tour. JPCRD publishes critically evaluated physical and chemical property data with fully documented original sources and the criteria used for evaluation. NIST and AIP staff continue to seek ways for JPCRD to better serve the journal's research and author communities.
More than 5,700 physics bachelor's degrees awarded in 2007
The Statistical Research Center (SRC) recently published two of their most popular annual reports: Roster of Physics Departments and Roster of Astronomy Departments. The reports provide a snapshot of the latest enrollment and degree data for each of the 763 physics departments and 75 astronomy degree-granting departments in the US. The class of 2007 included 5,755 physics bachelor's, the largest number since 1971, and 336 astronomy bachelor's, which is nearly twice the number awarded in 1997. An archive of all the annual reports, going back to the degree class of 1978, is also available through the SRC website.
Annual AIP sales meeting focuses on online advertising
Physics Today, Physics Today Career Network (PTCN), and AIP Journals held their annual sales meeting in Turf Valley, MD, September 23–25. The meeting featured a presentation by Ari Rosenberg of Performance Pricing on selling online advertising with a new model called CPM, or cost per thousand; AIP currently uses the flat-rate model. Rosenberg holds a patent for one of his selling models. The sales team discussed how CPM might increase AIP's success with online advertising.
In attendance on Wednesday morning were several AIP management personnel: executive director Fred Dylla, retiring vice president of Physics Resources Jim Stith, and incoming vice president Cathy O'Riordan. The group recognized two individuals: Jim Stith on his retirement and PTCN supervisor Bonnie Feldman for her 20 years with AIP.
The cost of a lead foot
Driving gently and controlling your speed can save you money and help the environment. You can increase your gas mileage by as much as 50% for highway driving (and by 5% for stop-and-go city driving) simply by accelerating and decelerating smoothly and slowly. Overuse of the accelerator or brake can waste an extra 125 gallons (about $450) per year. You might also be surprised at how much fuel is squandered by driving over 60 miles per hour. Generally, each 5 mph over 60 mph you go is like paying an extra 20 cents per gallon of gas.
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