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David P. Dillard
09-04-2002, 05:53 AM
This message is reposted to share with the membership of this list the
American Library Association's position regarding the potential loss of a
United States Federal Government valuable full text science database.

Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584
jwne@astro.temple.edu

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 14:06:18 -0500
From: William Sudduth
Reply-To: Discussion of Government Document Issues
To: GOVDOC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU
Subject: PubScience closing
Resent-Subject: PubScience closing

ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 11, Number 70
September 4, 2002

In This Issue: ACTION ALERT: DOE/OSTI TO ELIMINATE PubSCIENCE -DEADLINE
for COMMENTS is September 8, 2002

In August, the DOE posted a notice on the PubSCIENCE homepage of its
proposal to discontinue PubSCIENCE -- with a September 8, 2002 deadline
for comments. PubSCIENCE has been targeted since 2000 by the information
industry and a handful of publishers who have declared that it competes
with two private sector indexes that currently are provided at no cost
to the public. However, both publishers could at any time change the
no-fee status of these two services -- Scirus (owned by Reed Elsevier)
and Infotrieve -- to fee-based subscriptions.

BACKROUND:
For over 50 years, the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of
Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has been collecting,
preserving, and disseminating scientific and technical information for
DOE. From the beginning, the fundamental purpose of OSTI was to ensure
that research results were reported and made available to the agency, to
researchers in the physical sciences community, and to the broader
scientific community.

As described on the "About PubSCIENCE" section of the web site,
PubSCIENCE is a natural evolution of OSTI tools dating from the late
1940's, the Nuclear Science Abstracts and the Energy Science and
Technology Database. DOE/OSTI distributed the Nuclear Science Abstracts
to our Nation's federal depository libraries at no cost "in order to
ensure maximum public access and dissemination of the results of
research and development projects of interest to the federal government
program. PubSCIENCE continues that tradition. In essence, PubSCIENCE is
a modernization of Nuclear Science Abstracts and the Energy Science and
Technology Database." (http://pubsci.osti.gov/aboutfrm.html Accessed
August 29, 2002)

OSTI's mission continues to this day to provide access to national and
global STI for use by DOE, the scientific research community, academia,
U.S. industry, and the public. PubSCIENCE is the culmination of the
agency's lifetime tradition of providing scientific and technical
information by bringing that information to the desktop. PubSCIENCE
[SKM1]was created in 1999 to give physical scientists the capacity to
search across the journal literature at no fee in response to the
evolving opportunities presented by web-based technologies. Indeed, the
Department of Energy in early 2001 recognized the importance of
PubSCIENCE as an outstanding resource, stating that: "The DOE Web
Council selected the PubSCIENCE Web site as the featured site on the DOE
National Library page for the February 2001 edition of www.energy.gov,
the Department's new homepage. This work was a valued example of DOE's
commitment to build a rich Web site for the American
public."(http://pubsci.osti.gov/abo!
utfrm.html, August 29, 2002)

Comments/Talking Points
ALA has joined other library associations in preparing joint library
and public interest group comments. The following talking points explain
the crisis further and may be useful in your comments to the agency and
to your legislators:

*The Federal Government has a responsibility, recognized by the
Paperwork Reduction Act and OMB Circular A-130, to disseminate
information about its work products, services, and information sources
for the public benefit. Today, the Federal government funds most basic
research in physics, matter, chemistry, and energy. Government agencies
such as DOE have an affirmative obligation to the public to make
information collected through taxpayer dollars available for public
review and use.

* There is a need for multiple channels for information and for a
diversity of sources. PubSCIENCE provides information to DOE, other
agencies, federal contract research, the research community and the
general public. It serves a real and legitimate public need, and should
not be discontinued because two private sector organizations have
developed similar but not identical services. PubSCIENCE is a relatively
small resource focusing on the needs of researchers and scientists in
energy-related fields. PubSCIENCE has agreements with only 35
publishers, among who are many smaller publishers whose literature is
important to scientists but who are not included in the databases of the
other two commercial resources.

* The discontinuation of PubSCIENCE will disable the indexing of a
portion of the literature of the sciences (energy, matter, physics,
etc.) relevant to private, not-for-profit, and public sector markets.
PubSCIENCE[SKM2] provides a critical and voluntary service to 35
publishers in the public, private and not-for-profit communities by
offering increased visibility for the journals of small to mid-sized
publishers whose titles do not appear in ScienceDirect nor are they
covered by the Scirus search engine. PubSCIENCE provides these
publishers with an effective, no fee public awareness mechanism that
helps these journals to remain competitive in their disciplines.

* PubSCIENCE is valuable to the scientific and research communities and
important for progress in scientific inquiry, as well as for the
continued competitiveness of our Nation. The elimination of PubSCIENCE
will have a negative impact on scientific research as it will impede the
sharing of information in the scientific community. Tools such as
PubSCIENCE, Scirus, Infotrieve, and many fee-based commercial services
that provide access to scientific information for which our Nation's
libraries spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year, combine to
facilitate the process.

* The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
recently concluded that a greater government investment in the physical
sciences is required. Eliminating an information resource that supports
access to physical sciences literature contradicts this recommendation.
The DOE should be providing additional resources in this arena, not
reducing those that promote access to government-funded scientific
literature.

ACTION NEEDED:
The current crisis demands immediate action by as many librarians and
members of the scientific and research communities as possible. If a
small but powerful segment of industry succeeds in eliminating
PubSCIENCE, they may be energized to attack more government databases on
the basis of so-called "competition." ALA and many other groups are
submitting joint comments by the deadline of September 8, 2002, and it
is very important that the DOE and members of Congress, particularly
those on the Science Committees, hear from as many libraries and
individuals as possible.

Using portions of the background information and two or three of the
talking points above as your guide, please submit comments on your own
behalf as soon as possible. In addition, please discuss this crisis with
your director and ask if she/he might be very willing to sign a short
letter on behalf of your library. I will also be working with our
chapters to have comments submitted by as many chapters as possible.

Other important information:
* If your browser accepts forms, please submit your comments by
September 8, 2002 to: http://pubsci.osti.gov/psfeedbk.html. Be sure to
enter your e-mail address if you would like a response.
* If your browser does not accept forms, please send your comments to
the following e-mail address: pubscience@osti.gov. Be sure to enter your
e-mail address if you would like a response.
* And, please help us to educate your representatives in Congress by
faxing them a copy of your comments along with a brief note about why
this is so important to you, your library, scientific researchers and
the public. If your representative(s) are members of the Senate
Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the House Committee
on Energy and Commerce, it is even more important that they hear from
you. You'll find their names and contact information at either of the
following URLs: http://www.senate.gov/~commerce/members.htm
http://energycommerce.house.gov/107/members/members.htm.

* Finally, if you have a good relationship with your members' offices,
please pick up the phone and call their staff after you have submitted
your comments to DOE and to your members. Reiterate why the elimination
of PubSCIENCE is bad for the tax-paying public, for library users, for
the publishers who voluntarily partner with PubSCIENCE, for the research
and scientific communities, and for all Americans.


******
ALAWON (ISSN 1069-7799) is a free, irregular publication of the
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ALA Washington Office, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 403,
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Hendrix, Carrie Russell, Claudette Tennant. ALAWON Editor: Bernadette
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