In Plain Sight
Looking for chemistry information? ChemSpider, from the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), is a free online chemical database offering access to information on almost 25 million unique chemical compounds. Data is obtained from over 400 online sources. ChemSpider is more than a database, however, as it asks chemists to participate in data enhancement and curation.
Last October the NCBI launched the pilot phase of a program called PubMed Commons, designed to allow users to comment on published abstracts on the PubMed website.
PubMed Commons enables authors to share opinions and information about scientific publications in PubMed. All authors of publications in PubMed are eligible to become members. Members play a pivotal role in ensuring that PubMed Commons remains a forum for open constructive criticism and discussion of scientific issues. They can comment on any publication in PubMed, rate the helpfulness of comments, and invite other eligible authors to join.
I posted important information about EndNote and RefWorks in the final months of 2013. In case you missed them here are links to the posts:
This post was updated on December 21, 2013.
When it comes to public relations, the publisher Elsevier seems to be its own worst enemy. They’ve recently issued take-down notices to commercial sites such as academia.edu and to several universities, where authors have posted the final, published version of their journal articles from Elsevier journals. Academia.edu is social networking and research sharing site for scholars, similar to Mendeley and ResearchGate. Because Elsevier is so prominent in the field – they publish well over 2,000 scholarly journals, many of which are top tier – when they do things, they do it big. And people pay attention to what they do.
So, no surprise that the library and academic community has been been abuzz with news about this recent round of takedown notices. Several popular news sources have written about it – including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, and TechCrunch.
To be fair, Elsevier does allow authors to post the final version of their manuscript, before the publisher has typeset and copyedited it, immediately after publication (there is an embargo period for authors at an institution like UC with an open access policy, but that’s a whole other story). This version, but not the final PDF from Elsevier’s site, can be posted on author websites and OA institutional repositories. What they’re objecting to is the final version being posted. Many publishers have a similar policy and are doing the same kind of scanning for unauthorized versions of articles that have been posted, so Elsevier is not the only publisher that issues notices.
To date, no requests have been received at UCSF, however some of our sister UC campuses have gotten notices. See this Office of Scholarly Communication information page to find out more.
Why so much coverage of this round of notices? I think it’s because social media sites like Mendeley (which is now owned by Elsevier) and adademia.edu have become so popular with researchers, and because academics are coming around to the idea that their own scholarly writings should be openly accessible. Elsevier and other publishers that insist on authors transferring their copyrights are starting to seem backwards and old-school. To me, this is progress!
Perhaps the best nugget from the WaPo piece is this quote from Peter Suber of Harvard University, from the Comments section:
“Here are a few extra details on the situation at Harvard. All the takedown notices were for papers posted to faculty web sites. None were for papers in DASH, Harvard’s open-access repository. All were for published editions. None were for the authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts. For papers covered by the Harvard OA policies, Harvard faculty have a lawful alternative, even for papers published in non-OA journals.
Speaking personally: Authors can’t blame Elsevier enforcing the rights they gave it. Those upset or angry with Elsevier should submit future work to a different publisher.”
RefWorks users are no longer required to enter a group code when logging in to their account off-campus. If you are a current RefWorks user, simply log in to your account as you have done in the past. The removal of the group code will not affect how you normally log in. However, for the time being you’ll still need the group code to login to Write-N-Cite.
New users that do not yet have an account must be on-campus (or within a registered IP range for your Institution) or accessing RefWorks through proxy server when initially creating an account. This is so RefWorks can attach the user to a subscription. Once the new user has set up their account they will be able to log in from any location, with or without proxy authentication, using only the login name and password.
RefWorks will be removing the need for the group code when logging in to WNC 4 in an upcoming release. Until then, users must log in with WNC4 using the current method, either group code/login name/password or with the authentication code. Use the group code, login name and password or the login code provided after logging into RefWorks on the WNC login page.
WNC III users must continue logging in with their group code/login name/password or via proxy configuration if off-campus. RefWorks will not be removing the group code requirement from the WNC III login page.