Report to the 2002 IUPAP General Assembly
June 15 to 19, 2002
The meeting was hosted by KTHB in the new library facilities, officially opened on 18 May 2002. Thirty-five ICSTI Members were present plus two observers from India and Sri Lanka. An Open Meeting was held on June 17, attended by over 80 people, on the Challenges of Creating and Maintaining Access to STI. (I was one of the speakers focusing on policy issues as viewed by end-users in the universities).
Items discussed in the various closed sessions were:
1) The financial situation of ICSTI is satisfactory, though there is a small deficit each year, which cannot continue. It would be very desirable to increase membership.
2) Secretarial arrangements in Paris have been exceedingly difficult, with the local administrator resigning in June 2001, her successor resigning in October 2001, her successor leaving and being replaced in April 2002.
3) The Proceedings of the February 2002 ICSTI/ICSU Seminar on Digital Preservation of the record of Science at UNESCO will be published by IOS Press of the Netherlands as a special issue of their journal, Information Services and Use.
4) Future Assemblies:
2003,May 8th-12th , Ottawa, hosted by CISTI.
2004, probably again May, London, hosted by INSPEC.
2005, Moscow, hosted by VINITI proposed.
2006, Mexico City, hosted by LATINDEX proposed.
5) Winter ICSTI Meeting. Paris 23rd -27th Jan 2003, including on 24th an Open Conference on the issues surrounding access to the STI generated by Public Institutions. INIST and INSERM will be hosting the meeting with ICSTI. The meeting will follow a meeting in September 2002 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington and precede a meeting to be hosted by UNESCO, CODATA and ICSTI among others, in March 2003, on the same subject. (This only makes sense if the three meetings are inter-related)
6) As a result of the seminar on digital preservation, ICSTI is preparing an advocacy position paper on digital preservation. Probably to appear in September. ( At the discussions it was stressed that for the scientists Permanent Access is what is needed - to just talk about Preservation is insufficient. It is hoped to have an ICSTI/CODATA project to create a Digital Preservation Web Portal - primarily funded by CODATA but ICSTI will provide content.
7) It was agreed to develop a project which seeks to establish the socio-economic impacts of STM information, building on a proposed project by CISTI leading to input for the Ottawa Meeting. As pressure on government and other sources for funding becomes more intense and as funding agencies are demanding increasing justification for funding of information activities in the light of the development of the Internet and other apparently "free" resources, the STI Community needs to be able to justify its activity. A number of those present undertook to subscribe to the projects. I assumed that IUPAP would not wish to be deeply involved - if that is not correct, please let me know.
Possible Activities which were discussed
8) Updating of the classification of science. UNESCO has announced that it will not be maintaining its classification. Such classifications will have to come from discipline based bodies - but there is a need to have cross-discipline classifications. I volunteered to see what could come in from the physics area. There are good classification activities by the Patent Authorities.
9) A proposal to examine the effect of offering journal material on the Web on the number of subscriptions to the journal was discussed. It was felt the project was viable but needed further study.
10) Members were invited to comment on a number of Directives in the field of information which have recently been launched by the European Union. ICSTI can then formulate an input to the decision making process.
11) The Committee discussed the implications for distribution of STI to small and medium sized enterprises by libraries under the new licensing arrangements that are increasingly being implemented by publishers. It was agreed that Members affected would exchange opinions with a view to formulating a position form ICSTI on the topic.
12) There are a number of policy related issues concerning the use of 'CrossRef' and similar facilities, particularly in connection with full-text searching for information. ICSTI may wish to address these issues, but for the moment members were asked merely to try and find out what is happening. I will be coming back on this matter.
13) Another topic of interest was the effect that automatic translation services was having on the IPR issues surrounding STI. Members will be asked for their experiences before ICSTI decides on actions to be taken.
14) We briefly discussed:
a) the effects of increasing automation on the authenticity of STI as more versions of documents are distributed
b) the efficiency of automated indexing in ensuring that the correct information was available for searching.