University of Maryland scientist D.J. Patil and a group of colleagues have built a digital scientific library comprising nearly 17,422 journal titles for Iraqi scientists and engineers. The Iraqi Virtual Science Library (IVSL) will be officially launched on May 3, 2006 at the National Academies building in Washington.
The IVSL has been made available to seven Iraqi universities, one research institution and the Ministries of Higher Education and Science & Technology. It provides nearly 80 percent of Iraq's scientists and students with access to full text technical articles, training and online courses. Nearly $360,000 was allocated by the US Department of Defence as initial funding for the IVSL.
The experiences of Dr. Alex Dehgan, an ecologist working in Iraq to rebuild the Museum of Natural History for the US Department of State, revealed an urgent need among Iraqi scientists to access updated scientific literature. An interagency working group of current and former fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was established to implement the IVSL via their respective agencies. The fellows used their professional contacts to develop public-private partnerships to support the library and also continue to remain actively involved with the development and implementation of the initiative.
Open access publisher BioMed Central, UK, is reportedly set to face a revolt from the editors of several of its 93 independent journals who have expressed discontent over the way the journals are being managed. According to media reports, the editors are contemplating shifting their journals to other publishers.
The editors of BMC independent journals are not paid for their contributions. They have full editorial control over the titles but the article production process is managed by BMC. The editors have voiced their dissatisfaction on BMC's execution of the open access model. Among other issues, editors are protesting recent increases in the article processing charge (APC), and reductions in the number of waivers that editors are permitted to offer to contributors who cannot afford the APC. Several editors have also complained that BMC is signing up new journals that compete with existing ones, leading to market cannibalism.
BMC's publisher, Matthew Cockerill, has said that the company is working on the problems and insisted that the complaints are normal for any new company.
Publisher McGraw-Hill Higher Education (MHHE), part of McGraw-Hill Education, US, has teamed up with eInstruction Corporation, US, a global leader in interactive response pad technology, to offer the next generation of student response devices to college classrooms. Both companies had recently joined forces to offer instructional technology grants to colleges across the US.
The new RF Gen2 response units will be available for use in the fall term. With these devices students can now provide immediate feedback to classroom questions using a touch pad. The Gen2 units are compatible with all previous eInstruction higher education RF systems, and includes features such as larger display screen to display student answers, ability to confirm the receipt of an answer, security function that "masks" each student's response entry and the unit's signal strength.
In response to user feedback from instructors and students, software features have been added to the Gen2 system from its award-winning Classroom Performance System (CPS). This includes a PowerPoint Plug-in, an improved data-sorting capability, a comprehensive grade book complement, web-based access to all McGraw-Hill CPS content, and other powerful classroom learning functions.
Open access journal PLoS Medicine has published a study according to which medical journals have accepted an exclusive and dependent relationship with pharmaceutical companies by accepting only advertisements for drugs and medical devices.
The study conducted by a team of researchers from the Georgetown University School of Medicine examined advertising in nine multi-specialty medical journals. These journals received the most advertising revenue in 2002. The study revealed that in eight of these journals the advertisements were almost exclusively for drugs, rather than for cars, computers, vacations, or other products of potential interest to doctors.
According to Medical journals, authors argue that drug advertisements provide doctors with valuable information on drugs and diseases. However, the study showed that advertising in medical journals is cheaper than in consumer magazines. It also said that medical journals sometimes emphasise their low-cost advertisement rates while reaching out to drug companies.
Information access solutions developer ZyLAB, US has announced that the US' National Agricultural Library (NAL) has launched the NAL Digital Repository (NALDR) using ZyLAB's ZyIMAGE system. The NALDR will provide access to the full text of selected US Department of Agriculture (USDA) publications. The new site is available at http://naldr.nal.usda.gov.
The NALDR comprises a range of publications that have been digitised by NAL. It uses the ZyIMAGE system to convert images into searchable text and a web interface to display and print/download documents. ZyIMAGE system powers the NALDR by offering several features that facilitate searching and access. The repository currently contains volumes for 1894 through 1914, and the remaining volumes will be added later in 2006.
In mid-2005, ZyLAB implemented a similar solution for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA worked with ZyLAB to upgrade its National Environmental Publications Information System to help users locate information in over 11,000 EPA documents, equating to over one million pages.
Learning products and services provider Thomson Delmar Learning, part of Thomson Corporation, US, has announced the launch of ChiltonPRO, a new electronic automotive repair information system for the professional market. Designed for certified technicians, shop owners and corporate buyers, the tool allows technicians to access all Chilton's auto repair information. It covers over twenty years of domestic and import vehicles in an online or DVD format, and includes diagnostics data, labour times and mechanical service information.
ChiltonPRO delivers up-to-date information including OEM recommended maintenance schedules, OEM Technical Service Bulletins, and instructor-designed diagnostics. In additional, it also demonstrates unique content with diagnostic training, body information and ASE test preparation. Key Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) available through ChiltonPRO help customers stay current, and the electronic format allows for easy printing.
ChiltonPRO online and DVD products, available via a monthly subscription plan, allows automotive technicians to create better estimates using labour times developed with real world factors.
Medical research funding organisation, the Wellcome Trust, UK, has been presented with the first SPARC Europe Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications. The award, initiated by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Europe, was presented at the third Nordic Conference on Scholarly Communication: Beyond Declarations - The Changing Landscape of Scholarly Communication held in Sweden.
The award recognises the work of an individual or group within Europe that has made significant advances in understanding of the issues surrounding scholarly communications and/or in developing practical means to address the problems with the current systems.
Following the success of the first Award, SPARC Europe has decided to make this an annual event. It is expected that the second Award will be presented at the CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communications (OAI5) to be held in Geneva in 2007.