Re: Floyd Bloom's SCIENCE Editorial about NIH/E-biomed

From: Arthur Smith <apsmith_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 23:48:28 -0400

I think it's only fair to point out that Bloom was not completely negative about
E-biomed in his article - I quote the following from it:

> Science and other journals are eager to identify the advantages of the E-biomed proposal and are actively looking for changes that could benefit
> scientific publishing. For example, the E-biomed server would provide a venue for online publication of negative results and thus allow others to avoid
> experimental repetition. On the other hand, if NIH really wants to improve access to the literature, they could digitize the peer-reviewed literature
> published before 1995. In addition, all would benefit if NIH developed software for online journal submittals and provided access to a common search
> engine that could survey all peer-reviewed sciences across all journal lines.

The first (a venue for negative research) is of course one of the advantages cited
in the E-BIOMED proposal itself. The second is something very valuable that evidently
some journal publishers do not feel capable of accomplishing on their own - also not
entirely original though since the Astrophysical Data Service has done this for a number
of astronomy and astrophysics journals (sponsored by NASA). Sounds like a good
thing to make E-BIOMED even more valuable as a resource. On the third - I'm not sure why Bloom
thinks NIH is the ideal software development house - we could probably form some sort
of open source group that would allow all the science publishing entities
to contribute - we certainly have such a submittal interface developed at
APS, and the Los Alamos archives have something similar, and
some smaller journals have their own specialized interfaces for doing the
same thing pretty much automatically. Also the common search interface, if
Bloom is talking about going beyond biomedical journals, seems a bit beyond
NIH's charter, but instead ought to be developed collaboratively among the
science publishers - an excellent idea anyway. We'll try to get this on
the agenda at the "Open Source/Open Science" meeting being held at
Brookhaven Lab this coming October - see
<a href=""></a>.

I would be very interested in hearing if further meetings between Varmus'
people and biomedical societies and publishers have led to any kind
of reconciliation - there seem to be some hot-headed statements circulating
about what seems to me now to be a very reasonable, if still somewhat
radical, proposal. Maybe even something we could try to get physics
funding agencies to sign on to...

Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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