Still more thoughts on PubScience


George S. Porter writes: \"Walking in a local mall this weekend, I passed a Doubleday bookshop. I mean
it; I passed right on by. This is a singular event, since my family is well
aware that I am constitutionally incapable of not entering a bookstore (new
or used). Simply put, a single publisher\'s output is more likely to be
frustrating to browse than it is to delight or surprise.

Scirus, with a preponderance of Elsevier content and a dearth of society
publications, is similarly nearly worthless in the overall scheme of things.
PubScience was hamstrung by the refusal of the American Chemical Society,
among learned associations, to participate. Scirus benefits from corporate
synergy, gaining references from Elsevier\'s Beilstein database. Scirus also
scores some society journal citations through Medline(!), which provides
basic bibliographic data for a host of material which does not receive the
full intellectual effort of indexing. Still and all, Scirus falls well
short of the mark of a research caliber bibliographic database.
Medline, and other major subject indices, offer a breadth of coverage, a
totality, which Scirus does not begin to possess, which Scirus will never
attempt to create.

Scirus is a marketing expense for Elsevier and its various brands. Medline
citations to articles retrieved from Scirus do not point to PubMed, they point to the
BioMedNet load of Medline. BioMedNet is a marketing arm of Elsevier.
Medline access from Scirus requires voluntary registration with the Elsevier
marketing bureaucracy.

Until the bizarre notion of critical mass, adequate for research, residing
in a single publisher\'s \"database\" of original content is laid to rest once
and for all, publishers will continue to seek competitive advantage by
showcasing their wares to the near exclusion of all else.

Self-serving press releases from SIIA aside
, the demise of
PubScience constitutes a true loss for independent researchers, public
libraries, K-12, community colleges, 4-year colleges, and others who do not
have the wherewithal to provide unlimited access to Compendex, INSPEC, and
other major subject databases. PubScience was a free utility, unbiased by
marketing motives, to help bridge that gap.

SIIA correctly touts the open comments period as an integral part of DoE\'s
decision making process. Quoting from ALAWON 11(89):

While there were only 7 comments in favor of ending PubSCIENCE, there were
nearly 240 public comments, many from librarians and other PubSCIENCE users,
pressing for continuance of the indexing service. Negative comments
generally originated from members of the information industry and some

The numbers do not bear out SIIA\'s assertion that the association is not
responsible for the demise of PubScience. Perhaps one of the other 6
publishers or organizations which made negative comments, presumably the
ones which had the influence which SIIA lacks, would like to step forward
and explain their thinking on the matter?

ALA\'s Washington Office has publicly posted their comments to DOE
. Unlike the comments in the
reportage to
which I took exception last month, _PubSCIENCE: A Unique and Needed
Scientific Resource_ is a solid document which has not been properly
addressed, thus far.

I look forward to seeing greater discussion of this mater on the discussion
lists, in the library & information trade journals, and at conferences in
the near future.\"

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