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Netherland Elsevier and University of Surrey sign three-year agreement for SciVal Strata - 21 Nov 2012

STM publisher Elsevier, Netherlands, and the University of Surrey, UK, have signed a three-year agreement for access to Elsevier's research performance benchmarking tool SciVal Strata.

The University of Surrey is one of the few universities in the UK with a dedicated bibliometrician as part of its library staff. As a result, the role of the library is taking on a new, innovative dimension by driving the use of bibliometrics to help improve the institution's overall research impact.

SciVal Strata, part of the SciVal suite, is a flexible benchmarking tool enabling analyses of internal and external team and researcher performance which includes, among others, productivity, citation history, and collaboration activity. Access to SciVal Strata enables the university's research faculty to benchmark their current performance and illustrate their impact, in comparison to other institutions, which can in part, be used to determine future research strategies.

Recent enhancements to SciVal Strata developed in collaboration with Elsevier's online community of research administrators, have helped align the tool with the requirements set by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and other guidelines. The Research Excellence Framework in the UK uses Scopus as the data source for the bibliometric indicators, the same data source that powers SciVal Strata.

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US Thomson Reuters hosts inaugural Techstreet Standards Publishers Innovation Forum - 21 Nov 2012

Leaders from the standards publishing industry convened November 9th in Alexandria, Virginia, for the inaugural Standards Publishers Innovation Forum (SPIF), presented by Techstreet, part of the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters. Representatives from ASTM International, American Petroleum Institute, IEEE Standards Association and elsewhere participated in the forum, sharing their expertise, shaping consensus and defining parameters for the adoption of new publishing technologies.

At the event 'Moving Beyond PDF: New Formats, New Frontiers,' standards developing organisations, information professionals, and technical experts engaged in informative and stimulating discussions on the adoption of new content delivery technologies and solutions. Keys insights shared include an overview of the history and evolution of content delivery formats, the use of video as a medium for sharing standards, keys to developing a mobile access strategy, and the importance of SDO's and IP protection.

The forum, which is to be held bi-annually, will showcase a series of topical issues, providing participants with a unique opportunity to learn from industry leaders, collaborate with peers, and help shape the future of the standards publishing industry.

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UK NPG and Mexico's CONRICYT sign new agreement to provide researchers and students with access to Nature - 21 Nov 2012

Publisher Nature Publishing Group (NPG) has signed an agreement with Mexico's National Trust of Scientific and Technological Information Resources (CONRICYT), which provides researchers and students across the country site license access to Nature. The agreement will provide access to the weekly, international, interdisciplinary journal of science to 72 members including universities, research centers and other institutions of higher education.

This is the first agreement between CONRICYT, a public initiative that serves over 500 institutions in Mexico in all areas of science, and NPG. CONRICYT was founded in 2010 when the National Council for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, and a network of universities and research centers signed a collaboration agreement.

CONRICYT aims to provide higher education institutions and research centers with access to the best science resources and to develop research in Mexico.

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UK Experts examine complex issues, explain OA at Open Access Africa - 21 Nov 2012

Open access (OA) publisher BioMed Central had organised the third Open Access Africa conference at the University of Cape Town (UCT) last week. This was followed by the Berlin10 open access meeting at the University of Stellenbosch. Jonathan Harle of the Association of Commonwealth Universities has provided commentary on the events.

Open Access Africa was seen to have offered a refreshing chance to take a detailed look at the implications of OA for African research. UCT offered representation from projects such as the OpenUCT Initiative and the Scholarly Communications in Africa Programme. Complex issues were explored through the presentations and discussion amongst the speakers and delegates.

The event kicked off with an explanation of OA through a video. Deborah Kahn, Publishing Director, BioMed Central, pointed out that OA journals employ different business models but the same editorial quality standards as other journals.

The use of the Impact Factor to assess individual researchers was condemned a number of times, with Eve Gray describing it as a 'car crash' for African researchers, partly due to the lack of developing country research in the database that is used to make the calculation.

Michelle Willmers spoke about incentive and reward systems for achieving impact through research, and the current focus on prestige instead of relevance. There was also encouragement to think beyond the journal in terms of how research is communicated.

The importance of African journals is said to have come through strongly. Susan Murray of African Journals Online (AJOL) pointed out that development of publishing capacity was often overlooked in work to strengthen research capacity in African higher education. Marcel Hommel, Editor-in-Chief of Malaria Journal, showed that 90 percent of malaria mortality was in Africa but less than 2 percent of malaria articles were published in African journals. Conrad Ononhinmin, co-ordinator of the Nigerian open access group, questioned the effect on African journals of policies employed by OA publishers based in the North to waive article-processing charges for authors from developing countries.

The power of students as advocates for OA was demonstrated by Daniel Mutonga from the Medical Students Association of Kenya (MSAKE). That was backed up by Laura Czerniewicz, pointing out that students are often the most ardent advocates as they realise that when they leave university they will lose access to subscription content.

The Wellcome Trust, the World Bank, and the Department for International Development (UK) reportedly demonstrated the progressive thinking of their organisations in realizing the value of making their research and data openly available. It is expected that more organisations will take this approach in the future.

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US WK Health and International Association of Forensic Nurses announce publishing partnership - 21 Nov 2012

Information services provider Wolters Kluwer Health (WK Health), US, and the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) have announced an agreement to publish Journal of Forensic Nursing. The journal is the official journal of IAFN. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), part of Wolters Kluwer Health, will become the publisher for Journal of Forensic Nursing, beginning with the first Quarter 2013 issue.

Journal of Forensic Nursing claims to be only journal dedicated exclusively to this emerging nursing specialty. The journal will continue on its quarterly publication schedule. In addition to print publication, LWW will develop a new journal website and iPad app edition.

Each issue of the Journal of Forensic Nursing presents original research, reviews, and editorials addressing the wide range of healthcare, legal and ethical, and other issues in which these nurse specialists participate. The first issue of 2013 will be devoted to Correctional Nursing, and will feature articles that advance the forensic nursing role in the correctional milieu. This special issue represents the cumulative efforts of the IAFN Correctional Nursing Task Force that was formed in the spring of 2011.

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US PLOS welcomes Brookings Institution report supporting passage of FRPAA - 21 Nov 2012

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) has appreciated the call for passage of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) in the recently released report by the Brookings Institution. The report, "Building an Innovation-Based Economy", outlines policy recommendations for the US economy. If signed into law, FRPAA would require open public access to research funded by 11 US federal government agencies.

According to the Brookings Institution report, the expectation of a wide dissemination of public research has inspired a bill that is currently being considered in Congress. It calls for support to the Federal Research Public Access Act (HR4004, S2096) that mandates public dissemination of federally funded research within six months of publication (for agencies with extramural funding exceeding $100 million).

The bill proposes an exclusion of classified research, books from which authors receive a royalty, and patentable discoveries. If some accommodation can be made to compensate for revenue lost by for-profit publishers of academic journals, it is believed that this bill is consistent with the goal of pursuing widespread dissemination of the knowledge funded with public monies.

Earlier this year more than 41,000 scientists, open access advocates and the general public signed a petition urging the White House to support such an expansion of open access. The Brookings Institution report is seen to be another welcome voice.

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US Mary Ann Liebert launches new journal on engineered soft devices that interact with living systems - 21 Nov 2012

Publisher Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., US, has announced the launch of Soft Robotics, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the science and engineering of soft materials in mobile machines. The journal breaks new ground as the first to answer the urgent need for research on robotic technology that can safely interact with living systems and function in complex natural or human-built environments. Soft Robotics will be published in print and online with Open Access options.

Multidisciplinary in scope, Soft Robotics combines advances in biomedical engineering, biomechanics, mathematical modelling, biopolymer chemistry, computer science, and tissue engineering to provide comprehensive coverage of new approaches to constructing devices that can undergo dramatic changes in shape and size in order to adapt to various environments. This new technology delivers vital applications for a variety of purposes, including surgery, assistive healthcare devices, search and rescue in emergency situations, space instrument repair, mine detection, and more. The journal covers topics related to device development such as soft material creation, characterisation, and modeling; flexible and degradable electronics; soft actuators and sensors; control and simulation of highly deformable structures; biomechanics and control of soft animals and tissues; biohybrid devices and living machines; and design and fabrication of conformable machines.

Soft Robotics is led by Editor-in-Chief Dr. Barry A. Trimmer, Henry Bromfield Pearson Professor of Natural Sciences and the Director of the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory at Tufts University. A distinguished team of Associate Editors includes John H. Long, Jr., Vassar College (biomechanics); Josh Bongard, University of Vermont (computer science and controls); Fumiya Iida, Swiss Institute of Robotics and Intelligence Systems (biorobotics); Qibing Pei, UCLA (materials development and applications); and Nanshu Lu , University of Texas (flexible electronics). Dr. Bill Ferguson from the Publisher will serve as Managing Editor.

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US Manchester University Press to preserve e-journals with Portico - 21 Nov 2012

Non-profit electronic archiving service provider Portico, US, has announced that Manchester University Press (MUP) has entered into an agreement with Portico to preserve its e-journals. Through this agreement, MUP seeks to ensure that its e-journals will be preserved and available for future scholars, researchers, and students.

Founded in 1904, MUP is the third largest university press in England. MUP has a worldwide reputation for making innovative and high-quality scholarship available to the widest possible readership in both print and electronic formats, with particular strengths in the Humanities and Social Sciences. They manage a portfolio of 14 journals, many of which are published on behalf of or in collaboration with learned societies and institutions, and publish 145 new books a year.

Portico will be a mechanism to provide post-cancellation access to the titles committed to the archive.

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US Pearson and Choice to deliver longitudinal data system for ASDOE - 21 Nov 2012

The American Samoa Department of Education (ASDOE) has selected Pearson and Choice Solutions Inc. to design and implement a federally funded P-20 longitudinal data system (LDS). This project is said to represent the first of its kind in the Pacific. The ASDOE currently serves 21,326 students between the ages of 3 and 18 from public and private schools.

To improve education services for these students, the ASDOE invested in a series of separate information systems. Forcing the systems' databases together to enable data-driven decision-making and to meet federally mandated reporting requirements was found to be extremely complex. The Pearson and Choice LDS will connect these systems and the records within them to create a single, easily accessible information source that simplifies federal reporting efforts and delivers actionable data into the hands of educational stakeholders.

This new LDS will incorporate a series of information technology products from the partnered organisations: Pearson will deliver PowerSchool SMS, Pearson Inform and ParentCONNECT; while Choice will install edFusion. Choice and Pearson have created P-20 Longitudinal Data Systems for 23 states. This breadth of IT system integration and project management experience is expected to provide American Samoa with unmatched data-linking expertise as it takes this critical step forward in educational improvement.

Choice and Pearson will work with American Samoa to further customise their products to deliver a service that is tailored for the region. When complete, the LDS will enable accurate aggregation, disaggregation, and analysis of American Samoa's critical education information. The state will save time and resources through streamlined federal reporting processes. Meanwhile, educational stakeholders across the territory will reportedly have access to a secure and easy-to-use environment in which they may effectively leverage existing data to improve the decision-making processes and student outcomes.

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India Holiday Notice - 21 Nov 2012

This is to inform our esteemed subscribers that there will be no newsletter dispatch on November 22 and 23, 2012, on account of the 'Thanksgiving Day' holiday. We will resume our newsletter service on Monday, November 26, 2012. The newsletter will contain all the headlines that have appeared after the November 21st issue.

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