Schwerdtfeger Library News - February 2004

Schwerdtfeger Library News - February 2004

By Jean Phillips, Librarian





Research Databases

Research databases central to the atmospheric and space sciences are now featured on the Library's homepage. Brief explanations of each, what they contain and what they do not contain, are covered in Resources in the Atmospheric Sciences created by Library staff.

For help using any of these databases, contact the Library.

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SSEC Publications for the Year 2003

The SSEC Publications include most but likely not all papers formally published during 2003. Of the 150 articles published, 53 were in peer-reviewed journals and 97 were part of conference presentations/proceedings.

In keeping with past years, most peer-reviewed articles were published with professional societies or organizations (91%) and a few with commercial publishers (9%). There has been an ongoing push to encourage scientists and faculty to publish with societies because of steep, increasing subscription costs charged by commercial publishers.

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SSEC Publishing History 1980-2003: Some Observations

I looked at SSEC's publishing over the past 20 years, specifically, peer-reviewed publications, conference publications, SSEC reports and their relationship to total output. Some caveats: 1) the way the Library gathers information about publications has changed and may have varied somewhat over time, which may affect totals, 2) scientists' reporting of what they publish varies over time, affecting totals, and 3) the 2001 spike in publishing appears to correspond to the Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography which was hosted in Madison that year and which was heavily attended by SSEC/CIMSS authors.

While total publishing has been on a general incline since 1980, the ratio of peer-reviewed publications to the total has changed over that same time period. During the 1980s, peer-review accounted for an average of 34.25% of SSEC publishing. That average dropped to 28% in the 90s. And during 2001, 2002 and 2003, peer review accounted for 24.5%, 29.5% and 32.4%, respectively. At the same time, conference publications, on average, account for a higher percentage of total publications: 44% in the 1980s, 55% in the 1990s and 57% in the current decade.

Comparing total academic staff on the payroll with publishing output shows that two decades ago, number of publications per year generally exceeded number of employees. Currently it appears that number of employees is slightly greater than publishing output. Publishing volume has increased 2.3 times since 1980 while academic staff have increased nearly threefold. (Note: data not available for all years)

In-house publications (or SSEC publications) are a different category. They include reports on contracts and grants, annual reports and other documents generated in-house. We know that many more reports have been generated than actually reside in the Library -- one possible explanation being that report generation has become much more decentralized with many now submitted electronically. The Center's history also includes a period of time when formal publication and distribution of annual reports and papers bearing the Center's name was a routine practice. That type of publication has declined over time.

As an institution, we should pay attention to internal publishing trends and their possible implications. Are we actually publishing less in juried circles, and if so, what does this indicate, if anything, about the institution? Is publishing a benchmark of institutional health? While it is only one indicator, I think a case can be made that it is. And I think it is an issue that deserves more examination and discussion.

If one of the things we're seeing is a shift to digital publishing and distribution, it would explain, in part, why we don't know about the existence of some publications. It is important, then, that the Center create an archive of its digital literature alongside its repository for print in order to preserve and make accessible its history, and in the process, create a policy for long-term retention of digital creations. It is appropriate that it be directed, created and maintained by library staff.

In a future column, I'll look at some other trends in scientific publishing, the elusive nature of conference literature and why it's important to capture it.

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SSEC Funded and Submitted Proposals

The Library's monthly acquisitions list once again includes information on SSEC proposals that were funded during the previous month. We continue to include brief information on SSEC proposals submitted for review. The acquisitions list is distributed via e-mail during the first week of each month.

Other grants information such as current announcements of opportunity, databases, agency information is available on the Library's web site.

New Resources Added to the Electronic Library

  • Aldrich Spectral Viewer with FT-IR and FT-NMR Libraries is an electronic book style program for searching, viewing and printing spectra and related structure and technical data. The Spectral Viewer libraries include the FT-NMR of 15,000 compounds and the FT-IR of 11,000 compounds. The types of compounds contained in the Spectral Viewer include hydrocarbons, ketones, aldehydes, salts, amides and many others. The libraries can be used separately or in combination to create a more comprehensive search. Access: Only available in campus libraries.
  • ENVIROnetBASE is a collection of more than 100 handbooks that cover properties and processes associated with the air, water, soils and biosphere. Many of the print versions of these handbooks are in UW-Madison libraries. The print and the electronic versions can be located by using MadCat. Access: Licensed access for UW-Madison students, faculty, staff.
  • MIT CogNet provides a unique electronic community for researchers in cognitive and brain sciences, with in-depth current and classic text resources (electronic books, journals, and reference works) and a dynamic interactive forum for scholars, students, and professionals that includes job listings, calls for papers, discussion groups, and other scholarly communication sources. Access: Licensed access for UW-Madison students, faculty, staff .
  • Project Euclid was created to be an effective and affordable distribution of serial literature in mathematics and statistics. It's designed to address the unique needs of independent and society journals through a collaborative partnership with scholarly publishers, professional societies, and academic libraries. Search by journal title in MadCat and the record retrieved will include a link to the journal.


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