Journals & Magazines

Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?

John Grubb points us to

This One at ISCID that says the notion that a scientific idea cannot be considered intellectually respectable until it has first appeared in a "peer" reviewed journal did not become widespread until after World War II. They argue that prior to the Second World War the refereeing process, even where it existed, had very little effect on the publication of novel ideas, at least in the field of physics. But in the last several decades, many outstanding physicists have complained that their best ideas -- the very ideas that brought them fame -- were rejected by the refereed journals. Thus, prior to the Second World War, the refereeing process worked primarily to eliminate crackpot papers. Today, the refereeing process works primarily to enforce orthodoxy.

TECHSPLOITATION: Science for Everybody

Jen Young noticed Alternet is Running A Story on the Public Library of Science.
The group traces its immediate history to Varmus\'s project PubMed Central, a service associated with the aforementioned PubMed, which was supposed to make the full text of articles available to anyone who wanted them. Unfortunately, the scientific publishing business – exemplified by corporate giants like Elsevier, which puts out thousands of periodicals and books – didn\'t exactly embrace the idea of making its copyrighted materials available for free.

Someone else points over to The NYTimes and a similar story. They say the Public Library of Science, which includes scientists, doctors, researchers and their public supporters, plans to announce legislation on Thursday that would give taxpayers greater access to scientific data.

Marquee Scientists Challenge

Lee Hadden writes: "The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the high cost of
medical journals. See the issue for June 26, 2003, "Marquee Scientists Challenge
Expensive Medical Journals." By SHARON BEGLEY, Staff Reporter of THE WALL
STREET JOURNAL. "In a challenge to the profitable business of science publishing,
a marquee group of biomedical scientists is trying to move peer-reviewed
research out of the exclusive world of expensive medical journals and make it
freely available to everyone." -- Read More

Can we stay current by reading the professional library literature?

Bill Drew writes "I just read an article in Reference & Users Services Quarterly that I find
troubling because of its lack of depth and coverage. It is "A Study of
Web-Based Interactive Reference Services Via Academic Library Home Pages."
The article does not mention anything that has happened on the Digital
Reference front in the year. there is not one mention of the various
vendors now offering Digital Reface services. The article was obviously
submitted quite awhile ago and there for misses much of the recent growth in
virtual reference services. The article was submitted in Nov. 12, 2001 and
revised and accepted for publication in Feb. 12, 2002. I can see the fault
is not with the author but with the publication schedule for R&USQ.

How can
one expect to stay current by reading the professional library literature if
it takes close to 18 months for an article to be published by one of our
professional journals?
"

Top 50 Magazines According To Chicago Tribune

Matt writes "The Chicago Tribune says magazines seem more relevant than ever. They picked out magazines that you'll find on staffers' nightstands and coffee tables, in their backpacks and on their car seats and on the edges of our bathtubs. These are the periodicals for which we pay good money.

Top 5:

1) Cook's Illustrated.
2) The New Yorker.
3) Martha Stewart Living.
4) Sports Illustrated.
5) People.
"

Punk Planet praises print

The current Punk Planet (which unfortunately -- though maybe appropriately for this issue -- doesn't have the zine's content on its website) is devoted to the joys of hard copy, and it includes interviews with and excerpts from Dave Eggers & Co., Underworld cartoonist Kaz, and others. There's also a nice profile of
zine libraries.

Library Journal RSS Feed

Rachel from LISJobs writes:"Hi - Created an RSS feed for LJ this morning at myrss.com (kind of a cool little site): view it here!
It'll popup an annoying redirect before stories, but works."

Little evidence for effectiveness of scientific peer review

Jen pointed to this BMJ Story on a systematic review {URL?} of peer review journals from the international Cochrane Collaboration.
They say despite its widespread use and costs, little hard evidence exists that peer review improves the quality of published biomedical research.
Published last week, the review is the third in a series from the Cochrane Collaboration Methods Group. The other reviews look at the grant application process and technical editing.

Journal's Closing Spells End of an Era

Sue, Bob, and Jen all pointed to
This NYTimes Story on the end of the Partisan Review.
The quarterly journal of culture and politics that emerged from the ideological ferment of the 1930's to become the house organ for a generation of brilliant American intellectuals and writers, is ceasing publication after 66 years. The journal's final issue, a tribute to its co-founder and editor in chief, William Phillips, who died in September at 94, is being mailed to subscribers this week.

Publication Impact Factors

Lee Hadden writes: " Jerald L Schnoor, editor of the ACS' Environmental Science and
Technology, has an editorial in this month's March 1, 2003, edition, page
79A, on the impact of selected articles in magazines.
Regretfully, the article does not discuss the need for excellent
indexing and free article accessibility to help with the impact factor.
Those articles which don't get indexed and which are hidden behind high
access costs, often don't get the impact they deserve. Other articles,
perhaps less important but marketed better, often get undeserved impact
numbers.
Read more about it in This PDF."

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