Christina's LIS Rant
Friday, April 28, 2006
  Yay, and huh?
Yay because SPIE added RSS (cool, although I probably have them covered with my Inspec and Compendex feeds). But apparently you have to go to each page to find the feed? As in no central directory? I guess, if you go to the newsroom page (RSS), you can see all the content categories and figure out the feeds from there (just find the category page and add ?ss=rss to it), or just go to each page and sub.
Nevertheless, it's a good thing. Via (who I'd never run across before, but was linked via)
  Library Stuff: A link pat on the back :)
Steven asks for link love, well this is just a link pat on the back :)

There's a lot of survey fatigue setting in right now with all of the doctoral projects and books underway but if you've got a chance, consider filling out theirs on libraries and communities.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
  What are journals for?
(I'm supposed to be working on a paper, but...)
I've been watching and commenting (ah, too lazy to link, see in DASER notes in December and elsewhere) on ongoing discussions about disaggregating the journal (from APS and IOP) and also the absolute glut of new, expensive, STM journals.

Last week, I posted to CHEM-INF
I think it's worthwhile, as a group and as librarians (some of us) or information professionals, for us to think through why journals exist, why new journals are created and when it is legitimate for new journals to be created. It sometimes feels like we're feeling a little hateful and threatened because of the various budgetary pressures we're under and our professional need to give our customers what they want/need.

There's been talk of disaggregating the journal since at least the 80s, but journals remain. Part of the reason is what Price (1986) talked about with the reward structure: scientists publish results -- give away valuable information -- to received recognition. Sure, there's some altruism, too. The journals also collect articles and make them findable for outsiders and peripheral participants in the "invisible colleges". Most fields have really accepted electronic versions of print journals -- but all-e and open access are not equally well accepted across the disciplines.

We had a discussion, started I believe by Peggy Dominy of Drexel, at the Physics-Astro-Math section meeting at SLA last year asking why IOP felt they needed new niche journals when other competing professional societies were releasing similar journals at the same time. The publisher representative said that the new journals were demanded by the institute's members because these members felt that their niche area was not well covered by other journals. We can also look at this as a reward-recognition thing for editors and journal founders.

I can imagine several legitimate reasons for new journals: to co-locate articles currently dispersed through various general journals, to further divide a journal that's starting to look like a phonebook, to represent the interests of a new society/division/paradigm/research area...

No doubt some of these journals will succeed and some will fail. Also, in many fields a researcher has lots on her mind when she chooses where to submit an article -- more than just best fit or impact factor.

Nature Physics makes no sense to me, at all, except as others have said, Nature apparently wants more money. So what am I saying for librarians? I think we have to look at journals as we always have, individually on a cost-benefit model and also consortially on a cost-benefit model. I think just about every subscription should be reviewed to see if we can cut it to make room for new, good journals. Nothing is safe.
There were some very good replies, namely that there are few journal failures in STM -- they live indefinitely, get bought by one of the biggies or merge into something else. Can libraries *not* buy a journal? Should we campaign against new journals? I guess it depends on our users. NPG has not paid any attention to these conversations, btw, as far as I can tell. Most libraries have cut to the bone already, and can't cut more to get new good journals. Are they really serving their customers? They're really trying.

So all of this was background for something from the new Cites & Insights 6:7, actually about a quote from Jan Velterop whom I had the pleasure to meet at DASER. (the larger quote is from Crawford with the sub-blockquote from Velterop)
A February 21 post entitled “Too many papers, too many journals” discusses the ongoing issue of “journal fragmentation.” Velterop poses the question as “how much scientific information should be made available, i.e. published?” As posed, it’s hard to disagree with his answer: “I think it should be as much as possible. There is no place for ‘quantity control’ of information.” He goes on to note that, in some respects, not enough information is being published—e.g., negative results rarely get published (although that may be changing).

But 'information' is not the same as ‘amount of articles.’ We all know about ‘salami-slicing,’ when a given amount of information is published in a number of articles, where putting them in just one article would be perfectly reasonable and possible. This is of course a consequence of the ‘publish-or-perish’ culture that has taken hold of science.

He discusses publish-or-perish and the quest for the highest possible Impact Factor; it’s an interesting discussion. Seeking the highest IF creates a “major inefficiency” because it results in too many “speculative submissions” to journals with very high Impact Factors, rather than directly submitting articles to the most appropriate journals. “This in turn has lead to overburdening of peer-reviewers, high rejection rates, time-wasting” and other problems.

I take mild issue with the next paragraph, in which Velterop says, “In the modern world, journals are just ‘tags,’ ‘labels’ that are attached to articles.” That may be true for virtually all STM journals; it has certainly not been true historically for some journals in other fields, where the journal itself is more than the sum of its refereed articles. It trivializes the journal qua journal; maybe that’s the way the world is going, but I don’t have to like it. Velterop also seems to dismiss browsing, which has always been one use of a field’s top journals.

I admit to not having read Velterop's original post, but it seems like he's a bit on the same path. As you can see from my comment to the listserv, I do believe that journals have a place as Walt says for browsing, but also for reputation, recognition, peer review -- essentially why they were started in the first place. The in-group in the invisible colleges have never needed to read articles from a published journal to know what is going on in their field--they're linked in. It's the new or peripheral researchers who need the journal to find things. I think some publishers would like to get rid of the journal and have a publisher-wide (brand-wide?) impact factor -- some of the reason for the big Evil's indivisible journal packages and NPG's incessant launching of journals. Anyway, there are many reasons an author picks a journal (hm, I bet there's a paper in this, in fact there probably has been a paper on this) and the smallest one might be that the journal's appropriate for the article.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
  Dear Mr. Keillor, part 2
Once again, PHC had a librarian skit on. This time she was opposed to ebooks. Turns out that, in fact, the State of Minnesota has access to NetLibrary via the Electronic Library for Minnesota -- funded by the Minnesota Legislature.

Actually, many public, academic, and special libraries provide access to e-books -- even if our customers tell us they don't like them and prefer to read the books in print.

Your librarian is becoming less believable by the show.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
  Garden Watchdog: The scoop on 'Wayside Gardens'
I was looking for a plant to send as a gift, and I happened on this site. I'm blogging it here, because look at the proactive stance the company is taking to manage the real threat to their reputation. Very impressive. I hope libraries find and respond to negative posts the same way.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
  Updates, all quiet on the blog front...
The biggie is done and in for grading (total of 8,200 words, ~20 pages w/1.5 spacing without cover, abstract, notes, and citations) only a group project to go...
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
11,875 / 14,875

As for govdocs, just the 20-pager to go, but lots of work left...
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,500 / 8,000
Sunday, April 16, 2006
  IM & VPN, argh.
In case anyone is trying to IM me, apparently my place of work's VPN disconnects me from all of the IM services and won't let me reconnect until I turn off the VPN. Until I get this worked out, please e-mail me via the link in the right side bar and I'll turn off the VPN. While I'm doing classwork I find that MPOW's VPN is easier than using the Shibboleth (sp?) backed portal from my school because the portal times out after an hour. That's totally reasonable unless you're working 10 hour days through various assorted holidays to complete two 20+ page papers and two article summaries -- at which point it becomes annoying, especially with every link opening a new browser window.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
  The standard blog post
Pretty funny, actually. via
Sunday, April 09, 2006
  libraries: This week consists of very sad days.
(via this week in library blogland) So very, very sad and short sighted. Another case where management has forgotten how bench scientists work. I'll quote the librarian's whole post here:
This week consists of very sad days. I am overseeing the dismantling of our library. All of the [company's] research libraries worldwide are closing, mainly because upper management believes that "everything is available online" and the space could be put to better use. But the scientists who are actually doing the work disagree, especially the chemists.

This week, representatives from the departments can come in and take any books for departmental collections. Yesterday was day 1 and the big rush since people wanted to have first crack at the resources before some other group scooped them up. Since we are not keeping any kind of record of what is being taken, I have no hard numbers but I guessimate that over 2000 books were taken yesterday by these people. So instead of a central library where materials are being tracked, there will be collections in various departments and buildings but no way to know what is where.

Instead of a central library, scientists are expected to buy whatever books they need to consult if it is not available online. And, surprise, many of the scientific books still are not. The several people within walking distance may have purchased a copy of the book that they could consult but they will have no way to know that. When the money spent on personal books and subscriptions balloon within the department budgets, management will still point to the line item for libraries that will now be zero and say that they saved money.

Last week I worked with a group of scientists who are setting up a “Reading Room” containing 1500+ of the library’s reference books. There is a budget within one department being established to update this collection and they are looking for someone with “an interest in libraries” to help maintain the collection. I had to laugh when I was told this since this is the way that many corporate libraries got started.
If anyone's wondering, the name of her company is given in a previous post. That's when she mentioned that she couldn't get full retirement despite giving them 30 years and that she was put on the "closing the library" team. She's taking it much better than I would -- a good chemistry librarian is worth her weight in gold.

As an aside, I am very annoyed and disappointed by the skit on PHC about librarians -- as if it's absurd that someone would walk into a library and threaten to shut it down. It happens all the time. You'd think PHC would be more sensitive about a large group of fans.
update: finally fixed the title, it was annoying me
Monday, April 03, 2006
  Meme, what Springer Graduate Mathematics Text Are You?
via PAMnet

If I were a Springer-Verlag Graduate Text in Mathematics, I would be Frank Warner's Foundations of Differentiable Manifolds and Lie Groups.

I give a clear, detailed, and careful development of the basic facts on manifold theory and Lie Groups. I include differentiable manifolds, tensors and differentiable forms. Lie groups and homogenous spaces, integration on manifolds, and in addition provide a proof of the de Rham theorem via sheaf cohomology theory, and develop the local theory of elliptic operators culminating in a proof of the Hodge theorem. Those interested in any of the diverse areas of mathematics requiring the notion of a differentiable manifold will find me extremely useful.

Which Springer GTM would you be? The Springer GTM


Powered by Blogger

This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

Site Feed (ATOM)

Add to My Yahoo!

Creative Commons License
Christina's LIS Rant by Christina K. Pikas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
Most Recent Posts
-- Moved to Scientopia
-- I've been assimilated!
-- Hey science librarians...
-- Can we design *a* community for *scientists*
-- Comps readings this week
-- How would you design a collaboration community for...
-- Why ghostwriting, ghost management, and fake journ...
-- Should authors attest that they did a minimal lit ...
-- Comps preparations
-- How should advertising work in online journals?
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 / 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 / 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 / 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 / 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 / 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 / 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 /

Some of what I'm scanning

Locations of visitors to this page

Search this site

(google api)
How this works

Where am I?

N 39 W 76