We work closely with the IUCr – International Union of Crystallography – one of the scientific unions (see International Council for Science) that has done much to develop new approaches to publication. The IUCr publishes a wide range of journals and runs a hybrid Open Access model where authors can pay for full (gold) Open Access.
The IUCr has always had the policy that data should be Openly available and besides implementing this on its own journals works through the wider crystallographic community to encourage this. As a result major publishers such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society expose the data associated with crystallographic work. (In contrast Wiley, Elsevier and Springer do not publish freely accessible crystallography). This exposure of data has allowed us to create the CrystalEye system where machines collect crystallographic data as it is published.
Recognising the value of publishing data the IUCr created Acta Crystallographica, Section E, Structure Reports online (journal home) which has the primary purpose of enabling crystallographers and chemists to publish simple, high-quality, reports of individual crystal structures. All submissions are refereed by humans and robots. There are now hundreds of articles per month leading to a rapid and highly valuable publication of scientific work. This is an important model for the future – I have found people in many fields who wish to publish work that is data-centric – it may not in itself create new scientific paradigms but it is the bedrock on which progress is made. And critical for the scientific semantic web.
In effect the publication of crystallographic data provides the basis of a semantic crystallographic web. We convert the format to XML and then (Andrew Walkinshaw) to RDF. This is giving us a large semantic resource with power beyond the convention dissemination of aggregated chemical and crystallographic data. More of that later.
This post is to congratulate the IUCr in moving Acta E to full (author/funder pays) Open Access with CC-BY licence. The fee is modest (150 USD) and reflects the real costs of publication.
It will help us to enhance CrystalEye in that any information (including images such as structural diagrams) can now be re-used without permission. In effect CrystalEye becomes an overlay journal for a range of crystallographic publications. We point back to the complete article on the Acta E site, knowing that anyone in the world can then have access to the full publication. (For the record, we also point to closed access articles from other journals).
So compliments to the IUCr. Acta E should be an excellent model for learned societies who wish to develop data publication.