Re: PubScience under threat

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 17:34:19 -0400


On Thursday, June 28, 2001, at 09:42 AM, Tim Ingoldsby wrote:

> Steven, PubSCIENCE is not an "archive" - it is a collection of
> bibliographic citations and abstracts, similar to (but much less
> complete than) already available secondary databases such as INSPEC,
> Compendex, Web of Science, Chemical Abstracts, etc.  PubSCIENCE also
> lacks the rich classification and indexing of these established
> databases.

True enough, but the claim from these large established secondaries
would then seems to be that their value-added isn't enough to justify
continuing to pay for their (sometimes quite expensive) products
(or else why threaten PubSCIENCE?). Perhaps the real lesson
is that the gov't should increase spending to better match the
of these databases. Or that they should increase R&D (along the lines
of Citeseer) to better automate organizing and indexing metadata.

>   PubSCIENCE links to the publisher's web site for access to full
> text.  In my opinion, the demise of PubSCIENCE will have little effect
> on the scientific community, given that the OJPS (AIP's Online Journal
> Publishing Service that hosts more than 100 of the leading physics and
> engineering journals) receives only about 100 link requests from
> PubSCIENCE each month.  (That figure represents less than 0.08% of the
> average monthly link requests coming into the OJPS.)

PubSCIENCE is still in its infancy and is no doubt underutilized.
This statistic is pretty meaningless at this point. What matters
is the potential impact of something like PubSCIENCE in the future,
not its current impact.

Of course, a fully developed PubSCIENCE may be an actual threat
to the secondaries. But if the organization of the literature can
be done more cheaply and made more widely available through
something like PubSCIENCE, then it is in the interest of the
research community to see it happen and this has to come before
the economic interests of the secondaries in my book (largely non-US
companies at that).

This "gov't should not be involved" is a slippery slope. What happens
to funding for:

1) Harvard-Smithsonian's ADS service
2) PubMed, Medline, and PubMedCentral

All of these are more than worthy of gov't support in my opinion
and so is PubSCIENCE. There is no mandate that out-moded
business models should be preserved at all costs. To be
sure this is the real point of attacking PubSCIENCE. SIIA wants
to push us down that slope.


Mark Doyle
Manager, Product Development
The American Physical Society
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:10 GMT