Publishing in the 21st Century

On February 12, 2013, from 3:30-5:00 pm, Martin Frank, Executive Director of the American Physiological Society, will talk about “Publishing in the 21st Century” in the Seuss Room at Geisel Library.

Since the founding of Philosophical Transactions in 1665, journals have been the vehicle of choice for the dissemination of scientific knowledge.  Since that time, the number of active, peer-reviewed learned journals has expanded to approximately 28,000, collectively publishing over 1.8 million articles per year.  Of these, most are accessible via subscription and prior to the mid-1990s were only available on paper.  By the end of the 20th Century, most journals had moved their content to online platforms greatly increasing accessibility to scientific information.

Online dissemination served as the impetus for the open access (OA) movement and the call for free dissemination of the information contained in journals.  OA advocates adopted the words of Stewart Brand to develop their slogan, “Information wants to be free.”  They promoted their cause to legislative bodies by claiming, “The taxpayer paid for it, so the taxpayer shouldn’t have to pay again to read the content.”  The question is what has the taxpayer paid for and can information dissemination truly be free.

Martin Frank, Ph.D. has been the Executive Director of the American Physiological Society, Bethesda, MD since 1985.  In 2004, he helped found the Washington DC Principles Coalition for Free Access to Science, a Coalition that represents approximately 70 not-for-profit society and university press publishers.  Frank received his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1973 working under Dr. William W. Sleator.  He served as a research associate in the Cellular Physiology Laboratory, Michigan Cancer Foundation, Detroit, and in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Michigan State University, East Lansing.  In 1975, he joined the Department of Physiology, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, as an assistant professor.  From 1978-1985, he served as the Executive Secretary, Physiology Study Section, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.  From 1983-1985, he was a Member, Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Washington, DC.  As part of the program, he served as a policy analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, DHHS.

This talk is co-sponsored by The Center for the Humanities, The Library, and the Office of Graduate Studies and is another in a series of talks about the evolution of scholarly communication.  A reception will follow the talk at 5:00 pm.



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