Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nature Chemistry Commentary on Scholarly Communication in Chemistry

In its Dec. 20th, 2009, issue (pp 673 – 678), the journal, Nature Chemistry, published “Communicating Chemistry” (by Theresa Velden and Carl Lagoze), a commentary on the recent workshop, “New Models for Scholarly Communication”, held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 23 – 24, 2009. (This workshop is described more fully in the publicly-accessible white paper, The Value of New Scientific Communication Models for Chemistry.) The paper discusses characteristics of the discipline of chemistry and how communication patterns, rewards systems, research practices, reliance on proprietary databases for literature and data access, strong scholarly societies (the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, in particular), and the balance between industry and academia might all have an influence on the acceptance of public access to literature and data in the chemical sciences, as well as on adoption of newer web-based scholarly communication models.
Discussions leading up to the final publication of the white paper showed the controversy surrounding the questions of whether and how chemistry might benefit from new models for science communication, and about what the characteristics of chemistry research and scholarship are that will shape its future communication system. As a result, the white paper reflects some of the aspects of this controversy and presents a perspective on it, rather than a consensus among all of the workshop participants.

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