AIP | Matters
-- -- May 14, 2012

Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Finding out who funds research

I spent more than 30 years of my scientific career working for two Department of Energy national laboratories. As these laboratories were preparing for their annual budget submissions, the scientific staff was often asked to provide a list of publications that resulted from the Department's funding. Satisfying this straightforward request was not an easy task. Most funding agencies currently require researchers to acknowledge agency support in their publications. There are no standards, however, on how this should be done. Consequently, it is difficult to ascertain which publications are the direct results of agency funding. This situation could potentially change soon with the development of FundRef, a pilot project proposed by a group of scholarly publishers that includes AIP.  

Crossref logoThe publishers believe that they can — in collaboration with funding agencies and the non-profit publishing service organization CrossRef — develop a means of standardizing funder information and make this information available to funding agencies and the public. Publishers are in good position to facilitate a solution, requiring that the journal articles they publish have appropriate, standardized metadata that includes funding information (such as the agency, program, and specific grant that funded the research). CrossRef would make that metadata available through normal channels and the articles can link to funding agency sites. A solution of this type would be easier and far less expensive to deploy than having each agency to develop its own response.

This pilot project has been endorsed by CrossRef and two major scholarly publishing trade associations: the Professional and Scholarly Publications Division of the American Association of Publishers (PSP-AAP) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM). Part of the project will be to investigate creating a registry of standard nomenclature for funding agencies, and the associated naming and numbering system for grants. As a starting point, one of the participating publishers, Elsevier, has agreed to make available a dataset from their SciVal database, which already includes information on approximately 4,000 different funders. Publishers will integrate this data into their manuscript submission systems.

CrossRef has agreed to manage this collaboration under the name of the FundRef initiative. See last week's press release announcing this new venture. The collaboration already involves four funding agencies and seven scholarly publishers, including AIP. Prototype demonstration projects are expected to be ready by the fall. With the successful implementation of the FundRef project by this collaboration, funding agencies would have access to standard metadata from published articles through the normal services offered by CrossRef. By displaying this information on agency websites, visitors—from the research community to the general public—could follow an article's permanent link (enabled by the CrossRef Digital Object Identifier) to the publisher's platform where article abstracts are freely available. The Version of Record maintained by the publishers, is available through a variety of access mechanisms, including innovative rental access models, which give the public instant access for a nominal fee. More than 40 scholarly publishers, including AIP and APS, are currently testing this business model, which is offered by the DeepDyve organization.

These publisher-led initiatives are promoting access for the research community and the general public. By having publishers take the lead, precious science agency funding can be preserved for its most important service—funding research.

Publishing Matters

Editor-at-large: JCP's Marsha Lester visits China

The Journal of Chemical Physics Editor Marsha Lester journeyed to China last month for a week of outreach and networking. Lester gave several talks, including two at the Chinese Chemical Society meeting in Chengdu at a forum co-sponsored by AIP and Science China Press. She also hosted a “Meet-the-Editor” banquet lunch with a group of 30 top Chinese scientists working in chemical physics, where she met several promising prospects for new associate editors or members of the JCP Editorial Advisory Board. “For this alone, it was worth making the trip to China,” she reports. 

Lester also visited Chinese researcher Xueming Yang, who has set up one of the leading chemical physics laboratories in China. Yang publishes about half of his papers in JCP, and one of his articles was featured in the JCP 2011 Editors' Choice collection. Finally, Lester met extensively with the AIP Beijing office staff and Melville-based AIP publisher Mark Cassar. “I learned so much in just a few days,” Lester says. “I now see clearly that China is the market for near-term growth in scientific publishing. I've heard this many times, but now I see the enormous potential first-hand.”

Physics Resources Matters

What's a new physics PhD worth?

What's a new physics PhD worth?Starting salaries are one indicator of the strength of the job market for new physics PhDs. The graphic shown here depicts the typical starting salaries for physics PhDs from the combined classes of 2009 and 2010.

In the United States, most new physics PhDs accept a postdoc at a university as their first full-time position. Postdoctoral appointments offered a median salary of $45,000 in universities and considerably more ($63,000) in Federally Funded Research & Development Centers (FFR&DCs) and other government labs. By marked contrast, physics PhDs who accepted potentially permanent positions in the private sector or at a government lab were offered the highest starting salaries with a median around $85,000.

Accurate and timely data on starting salaries are among the resources that the AIP Statistical Research Center (SRC) provides the physics and astronomy community. These data come from one of the SRC's longest running survey series, the annual survey of physics and astronomy degree recipients during the winter after they earned their degrees. The results of this annual study provide important information about initial career opportunities to students, perspective students, degree recipients, and faculty advisors as well as the community in general. Findings from this survey are the cornerstone of the career guidance web pages for APS and AAPT, and can be found on the websites of many physics and astronomy departments across the United States.

Member Society Spotlight

AGU and AAS focus on science policy

AGU science policy logoOcean policy, challenges in the Arctic ecosystem, critical minerals shortages, and mitigating the threat of space weather were a few of the important issues examined by attendees of AGU's 2012 Science Policy Conference, April 30 - May 3 in Washington, D.C. The conference featured a series of lectures on the Arctic, oceans, natural hazards, and natural resources. During a reception on Capitol Hill, AGU honored three individuals with its Presidential Citation for Science and Society: Phil Keslin of Google Earth; Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of NOAA; and Senator Olympia Snowe.

Suborbiital logoAAS and AGU, along with other organizations, cohosted a kickoff reception for The Suborbital Coalition on April 26. This new coalition will facilitate interaction among policymakers, the budding industry of suborbital spaceflight, scientists, and educators. Aiming to make suborbital space flight safe and more accessible, the coalition will focus on the development flight opportunities, new vehicles, international air traffic policies, and arms regulations.

AIP Government Relations staff participated in both events and attended the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology as well, to learn about the budgetary and policy context for research and development in the upcoming year.
Coming Up

Who is your beneficiary on your Liberty Mutual Insurance benefit?

Effective January 1, 2012, Liberty Mutual became AIP's new life insurance provider. All regular employees are eligible for AIP's life insurance benefit. This benefit provides a designated beneficiary or beneficiaries with two times an employee's annual salary in the event of death, unless he or she has chosen the maximum of $50,000. Staff members should visit the Employease Network to add your beneficiaries to your record. Download and complete a “Liberty Mutual Beneficiary Form” under the “Company Guide” tab and submit the form to Human Resources for your benefits file. Human Resources cannot approve your change in the system until it receives the paper form. Please contact Donna Jones or Laura Magri with any questions.

Coming Up

May 14-18

  • Acoustics 2012 (ASA 163rd Meeting) (Hong Kong, China)

Wednesday, May 16

  • Brown bag lunch, “Programs and Benefits of the Social Security Administration” (Melville, NY)