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Monday, December 13, 2010

H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Crossroads and connectivity

In my column last week, I spoke about the importance of two meetings for scholarly publishersLondon Online and the Frankfurt Book Fairand how AIP benefits by connecting with our partners and customers. On the larger scale, coming together with many other leading publishers has proven invaluable to the industry as a whole.

CrossRefAt the 1999 Frankfurt Book Fair, several scholarly publishing leaders witnessed a demonstration of the prototype Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and recognized at once that the interoperability of publication data through a broad journal reference linking system was within their grasp. So those “competitors” formed a nonprofit organization of their ownPublishers International Linking Association, Inc. The group’s first initiative was CrossRef, a massive infrastructure that now links reference data for 42 million articles, books, and other scholarly publications across 3,200 publishers and societies. Its size and functionality continue to grow, as does its usefulness to the community.

CrossCheckCrossRef sets the guidelines for publishers to assign a permanent DOI to each work and makes the reference metadata (title, authors, institutions, and abstracts) available to CrossRef users. Through the scalable linking system, researchers can click on a reference citation in a journal and link to the cited article. The group’s second project, CrossCheck, is a powerful screening system for journal editors and reviewers to uncover plagiarism. AIP makes this service available to our journal editors.

AIP has been fortunate to be represented on the CrossRef Board of Directors for many years. Terry Hulbert, Director of Business Development, is our current appointee. The annual general meeting, which is open to all members, rotates between Europe and the United States. The 2010 meeting occurred in London on November 16. I attended and made a pitch for adding to the metadata a new line of informationthe funder of the research that led to the article. In light of the ongoing debate concerning public access to federally funded research results, the information would be a useful public service.

Most of the meeting’s discussion centered on CrossRef’s newest project, CrossMark. Slated for release in 2011, CrossMark will electronically “watermark” the official version of record (VoR) of a scholarly work. After publication, an article can be enhanced, corrected, updated, and even retracted. Publishers agree to care for the VoR and safeguard its integrity through any future changes, thus assuring researchers that the article they are studying is authentic, peer reviewed, and fully updated. That guarantee by publishers was one of the salient points made by the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable in its report to the House Committee on Science and Technology in January 2010. The new service will aid publishers in this important validation function.

While competition keeps our industry in a healthy state of flux, collaboration ensures that the industry itself stays relevant.

Physics Resources Center Matters

Bright, inquisitive minds seek mentors for adoption

Adopt a Physicist

What do you get when you use online discussion forums to connect 102 high-school physics classes with 148 physicists for three weeks?

The answer: 7405 posts. This was the result of the fall 2010 session of Adopt-a-Physicist, a program run twice a year by Sigma Pi Sigma. Adopt-a-Physicist connects high-school physics students with people who have degrees in physics. Working in areas ranging from particle-physics research to freelance writing, the participating physicists embody a broad spectrum of careers, backgrounds, interests, and educational levels. Participating classes are from high schools all across the country, and abroad.

At the start of the program, classes search through Facebook-like profiles of physicists and choose up to five they want to “adopt.” By adopting a physicist, a class is registering for a discussion forum hosted by that physicist. The discussion forums are active for three weeks, and each physicist can be adopted by no more than three classes, making lively, in-depth discussions possible.

Questions posed by students range from academic (What is dark matter?) to silly (Do you like tacos?). But even the silly questions can be helpfulteachers continually say the greatest benefit of participating is that students see that physicists are “real” people too. Below is one exchange from this latest session.

Student: Is there anything about your work or your field that never ceases to amaze or excite you even after having gained many years of experience?

Physicist: I have spent so many years with my nose deep in this field that it is easy to lose track of how amazing what I do really is...I am awed by the insight of the physicists who worked out basic quantum mechanics and tested the ideas. I remain excited by the double slit interference patterns generated not just by waves of light, but by electrons and single photons described by probability waves. And, because this is science, our knowledge is not static. I am continually amazed by the cleverness of my colleagues in thinking of ways to push the boundaries.


End-of-year information checkup

ADPIt's that time of year again when staff members should verify their personal information stored in the Employease Networkincluding address and home and cell phone numbers. Employease serves as AIP's point source of employees' contact information. This information flows to Payroll and indicates where we should send your W-2 form (and your paycheck should the need arise). In the case of an emergency, HR can use the information stored in Employease for business continuity; should an event necessitate that all staff be contacted at once, the data can be quickly pulled from the network. Log on now and make sure that you are up-to-date!


Monday–Friday, December 13–17

A dozen AIP staff members will be participating in this event, which grows larger every yearparticipants topped 16,000 in 2009. AIP's delegation will include attendees, presenters, exhibitors, and members of the press corps. Stay tuned for news in AIP Matters. In the meantime, catch meeting highlights throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, December 14

  • ACP holiday breakfast, 9:00–10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, December 15

  • Holiday luncheon for Melville employees, 12:00–2:00 p.m.

Through Monday, December 20

  • College Park Youth and Family Services gift drive (ACP)

Tuesday, December 21

  • Holiday luncheon for College Park employees, 12:00–2:00 p.m.

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