The publishing industry may take a financial hit if the recently proposed US Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 is enacted, media reports quote critics in academic institutions as saying. If enacted, the Bill would require 11 government agencies to publish online any articles that contain research financed with federal grants. The articles will compulsorily have to be made accessible online without charge within six months of their initial publication in a scholarly journal.
Certain members of the scholarly publishing industry have expressed reservations about the legislation. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, an organisation whose members collectively publish nearly 60 journals, has argued that the legislation will affect the link between the journals and their readers. The Federation has further said that journals may also lose subscribers and ad revenue if the articles are made available online for free.
However, supporters of the Bill claim that mandatory compliance will augment the sharing of information, stem the duplication of research activities and create new avenues of scientific inquiry. Funding agencies will be able to better monitor what publications are a result of their respective grants, goes the argument.
Biological databases provider the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), UK, has announced the launch of the Free European Life-science Information and Computational Services (FELICS), a new project to provide the scientific community with unrestricted access to some of the world's most vital biological databases. This £11.4 million infrastructure project was launched in conjunction with the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics (SIB), the European Patent Office and the University of Cologne, Germany.
FELICS will provide specific support for mining information from patent literature in collaboration with the European Patent Office. Additionally, the European Patent Office will also collaborate closely on CheBI, a database of chemical entities of biological interest, which will receive a substantial boost as part of the project. FELICS includes many of EBI's familiar databases, but will also feature some crucial new activities. The EBI site currently receives around 2 million hits every day, and is expected to rise to ten million over the next five years.
The Commission of the European Union has awarded 16.7 million Euro for the project to develop, enhance and interlink many important data resources in Europe and broaden their accessibility to the scientific community worldwide. This award is reportedly the largest ever European award for computational infrastructures needed to support biological research.
Web publishing and content management software vendor PaperThin, Inc., US, has announced that several colleges and universities have recently selected its web content management solution, CommonSpot, to support their online marketing strategies. CommonSpot provides higher education institutions with a flexible, campus-wide workflow and collaboration features such as e-mail review, collaborative authoring and visual difference that facilitate the efficient review and approval of content.
On completion, over 50 content contributors across 60 departments at Skidmore College will use CommonSpot to publish timely information on the web. Joining PaperThin's clientele are Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY), IMD International (Lausanne, Switzerland), the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Continuing Education (Champaign, IL ) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI).
CommonSpot's versatile templates and support for Cascading Style Sheets are claimed to allow users to maintain tight control over design and navigation. Content authors, meanwhile, can easily assume responsibility for content creation and maintenance.
Technology, healthcare and entertainment media firm CMP Media, US, has announced that its GovernmentVAR magazine has honoured leading information-technology (IT) solution providers and vendors serving the government sector in its second annual GovernmentVAR Awards program. Winners were honoured at a recently held presentation ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The GovernmentVAR Awards were presented in association with the second annual XChange Government Integrator event powered by the CMP Media XChange Conference Group. Winners were selected based on factors such as company growth and presence in a particular segment, as well as specific wins that the company has achieved.
Biotechnology company Odyssey Thera, Inc., US, has announced the publication of a major study validating its strategy of pathway-based drug activity profiling in living human cells. The article, "Identifying off-target effects and hidden phenotypes of drugs in human cells," will be published in the June 2006 issue of the biomedical journal, Nature Chemical Biology. The study is currently available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchembio790.
In the study, Odyssey Thera's proprietary high-content Protein-fragment Complementation Assays (PCAs) were used to measure spatial and temporal changes in protein complexes in response to drugs. Using high-throughput automated microscopy, 107 diverse drugs were each screened in 49 live-cell assays at multiple early time-points, resulting in a dataset of significant depth. The data recapitulated known structure-function relationships, and indicated that four drugs harboured unexpected or 'hidden' anti-proliferative activity. As predicted by the profiles, these four drugs potently suppressed the growth of several types of human tumour cells. It also revealed that the approach is suitable for any target class or therapeutic area.
A monthly publication, Nature Chemical Biology caters to scientists in both the chemical and the life sciences spheres. Published both in print and online, the journal covers original research, editorials, correspondence with the chemical biology community, research highlights from across the field, reviews and perspectives, commentaries, book reviews, meeting reports and news & views.
Tissue Engineering, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., US, has published a report in its April 2006 issue, according to which the ability to produce functional, three-dimensional lung tissue in the laboratory would provide an important source of engineered replacement tissue to treat a number of pediatric pulmonary diseases. The engineered, 3-D pulmonary tissue constructs represent a successful first step in the creation of functional pulmonary tissue constructs designed for therapeutic use.
The paper reveals that functional lung tissue derived from fetal pulmonary cells and grown on a 3-D support structure in the laboratory could be used to enhance or restore under-developed or damaged lungs.
A monthly peer-reviewed journal, Tissue Engineering brings together scientific and medical experts in the fields of biomedical engineering, biomaterials science, molecular and cell biology, genetic engineering and surgery to present and discuss advances in this emerging field. Available both in print and online, the journal is the official journal of the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society.