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In addition to his many famous writings, Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) took careful notes about the natural world around him. For example, on his daily walks he recorded the exact date when wildflowers of various species bloomed each spring. Today, biologists are using his notes to investigate long-term changes in the biology of Walden Woods. For example, in 2008 Biologists at Harvard University published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about how climate change is impacting the forest where Thoreau lived. Last year a team of researchers from Boston University published an article in PLoS ONE which focused on how climate change has caused record-breaking early blooming dates of spring wildflowers.
Have you ever wondered how many scholarly documents can be located via the public web? Two computer science researchers from the University of Pennsylvania set out to tackle this daunting task.
In a study recently published in PLOS ONE, Khasba and Giles (2014) report that “at least 114 million English-language scholarly documents” can be found via the open web and approximately 27 million (or 24%) of these items are open access.
Their study provides an analysis, by discipline, of the “percentage of publicly available scholarly documents” included in Google Scholar. According to their research, the field of Computer Science is at the high end with approximately 50% of documents freely available via Google Scholar. While Engineering, Materials Science, and Agricultural Science were tied at the low end with each of these fields having 12% of documents freely available from Google Scholar.
The American Chemical Society (ACS), “the world’s largest scientific society” (ACS, 2014) is launching an open access journal, ACS Central Science.
According to ACS this journal will be the society’s “first completely open access journal and the first highly selective, society-published, pure open access journal to cover the breadth of chemistry and its interfaces with research in the natural and physical sciences” (ACS, 2104). ACS Central Science will have no author fees and all articles will be openly available to the public.
Read more about ACS and open access here.
American Chemical Society. (2014). About ACS. Retrieved from http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/about/aboutacs.html
American Chemical Society. (2014). Q&A about ACS Central Science. Retrieved from http://acsopenaccess.org/faqs/#central
Spring is in the air in Indianapolis, a perfect time to turn our attention to the exciting changes in wildlife that this time of year brings. And, with spring comes the annual influx of migratory birds. Amazingly, some of these bird species return to our state from tropical wintering grounds as far away as the South American continent.
Brock’s Birds of Indiana, part of the IUPUI Center for Digital Scholarship’s Cultural Heritage Collection, contains a wealth of information of the birds that can be found in our state. This information packed resource contains historical notes as well as population and distribution information for bird species occurring in Indiana. One can also find details of when to expect the arrival and departure of Indiana’s migrant birds. This is truly a treasure trove of information for nature enthusiasts, bird biologists, or anyone interested in learning more about the birds in our state.
A couple of interesting developments have occurred in the world of open access scientific publishing in the last few weeks. Two major scientific societies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Royal Society, have both announced plans to publish open access journals. The AAAS plans to debut their new open access journal, Science Advances, in 2015 while the Royal Society‘s new open access journal, Royal Society Open Science, is due to begin this year.
The new Web of Science interface has a feature that allows one to refine search results by the category of “Open Access”. This opens up some interesting possibilities for analysis for researchers as well as for librarians. For example, a quick search can help shed light on general trends in open access publishing by subject area. Searching the topic of bird migration in the Web of Science (1987-present) yields approximately 5,500 records, of which about 300 (or 5%) were published in an open access resource. Looking at the last 15 years in 5-year increments reveals an upward trend in open access for this subject area. In years 1999-2003, just about 1% of the records in Web of Science on this topic were published in open access sources. In the next 5-year period, 2004-2008, 5% were open access. In years 2009-2013, 10% of the search results came from open access sources. It will be interesting to replicate this search in 5 more years to see where the numbers fall.