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Houben-Weyl 4th ed. now available as E-Books

sosThe Libraries have purchased perpetual access to the e-book versions of the 4th edition of Houben-Weyl Methoden der organischen Chemie, a major German review series in over 150 volumes, published by Thieme between 1952 and 2003.  This complements our access to the subsequent, but smaller, successor edition known as Science of Synthesis.  For details and links see our Science of Synthesis page on this guide.  We have also purchased e-books for the Thieme titles: RÖMPP Encyclopedia of Natural Products and Spectroscopic Methods in Organic Chemistry.


Heterocycles has vanished

poof!A longstanding journal published by a Japanese research institute has vanished from the web in its entirety, a perplexing but not unpredictable result of the shift of long-term archiving responsibility from libraries to publishers in the digital age.  The Japan Institute of Heterocyclic Chemistry launched Heterocycles in 1973, and abruptly ceased publication in December 2023 with little explanation.  At the same time, the digital archive of the journal disappeared from the official web site, leaving past and current subscribers with no access.  (The UT Libraries subscribed to the journal in print until 2017, but never bought the electronic version, due to unacceptable license terms.)  It's unclear if the archive will be restored in future, and under what terms.  When some publishers, often institutional organizations rather than businesses, don't understand the implications of permanent archiving, other journals may be at risk.  Read more in Chemistry World.


Tweeting about papers doesn't increase citations

x logoPeople have long claimed that posting about scientific papers on social media raises the papers' ultimate citation counts.  But a new controlled study reported in PLoS ONE seems to debunk that assumption.  The experiment, conducted before Elon Musk acquired Twitter and renamed it X, involved 11 researchers with more than 230,000 combined followers on Twitter.  They would systematically tweet about randomly selected papers, which were later compared to a control set of papers from the same journal issues that were not tweeted about.  The results showed no significant difference in citation rates between the two groups.  Using social media may raise awareness of some publications, but it does not appear to lead to more citations.   Read more in Nature.


In Booming Fake Lit Market, Some Editors are on the Take Too

gangsterWe've heard about authorships for sale, fake paper mills and mass retractions -- and now we can add bribing editors.  Science magazine reports on shady businesses offering cash payments to journal editors in return for accepting fraudulent papers. And apparently finding a willing market there. The scholarly publishing enterprise has been very slow to accept the fact that their industry is rapidly being co-opted by criminal enterprises around the world, who see big profits in exploiting would-be authors needing publications on their CVs and willing to pay for them.  Paper mills and authorship brokers are springing up to take advantage of the lax controls in journal editorships and peer review.  Legitimate publishers large and small are becoming overwhelmed by the scale of the fraud and seem unwilling or unable to do much about it.  The bottom line for researchers:  take careful note of the authors on that paper you're reading, and where they come from!


RSC Read & Publish License

RSC logoThe UT Libraries now have a Read & Publish license for Royal Society of Chemistry journals that allows UT Austin-affiliated corresponding authors to publish their articles open access without paying an Article Processing Charge (APC).  This is an opt-out model, meaning that authors will be offered open access as the default at the time their article is accepted, unless they choose to decline. 

[rev. 12/19/23]

How Much of the Literature is Fake?

paper mill chartNature reports on a new unpublished study that estimates that up to 2% of all scientific papers published in 2022 are the products of illicit "paper mills."  And that may be an undercount.  A UK-based entrepreneur has developed proprietary software that was used to arrive at this estimate, based on recognition of telltale signals from known fabricated papers.  Medicine and biology papers lead the pack with a nearly 3% fake rate, and chemistry and materials are close behind at 2.5%. Software such as this may help publishers identify fake submissions before they are published.  In the meantime, the paper mills churn on, polluting an already bloated literature with nonsense. 


ACS Introduces another Author Fee

acs logoIn the guise of "supporting zero embargo Green OA," the American Chemical Society has unveiled yet another fee.  Authors may now pay the optional "Article Development Charge," or ADC, in order to have the privilege of depositing a copy of their final manuscript in a Green OA repository at time of acceptance, in order to comply with funder open requirements, rather than after the standard 12-month embargo period.  This is a flat fee of $2500, payable prior to peer review.  Critics have been quick to point out that asking "unfunded" authors to pay a different fee, to buy back rights they've been forced to surrender, subverts the idea of free Green OA, and smacks of profiteering off of funder mandates.  While US-based authors may not often encounter this dilemma, UT Austin authors are advised to consult with their librarian before considering this option.  Read an interview with an ACS official in The Scholarly Kitchen and a post by a former Jisc official.

[9/26/23; updated 10/18/23]

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