Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Open Access Week! Celebrate with PLoS, DOAJ, SPARC, and more.

See Reading Girl Speaks for more information about Open Access at Oberlin.  For a great overview on Open Access and its impact on scholarly communication, see this video from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC):

Open Access Week 2010 from SPARC on Vimeo.

Don't have time for the whole presentation? Take a peek at this animated short from McGill University.

How else can you celebrate your freedom to read scholarly works, made accessible without payment from you, the reader?  Search the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and enjoy immediate access to everything found there.  Browse the extensive collection of articles at Public Library of Science (PLoS): you are certain to find something remarkable among its seven journals.  Even traditional scientific publishers offer a public access option for certain articles, based on contractual agreements with authors and payment of a public access fee by the author(s) or funding agency (e.g., the Author Choice program at American Chemical Society Publications and Springer's Open Choice).  PubMed, the public access database incorporating Medline, offers "free full text" as a limiting option in the Advanced Search, and also as a refine option from the search results screen. 

There is no doubt that increasing public access to scholarly research benefits members of the public as well as students and scholars - so maximize your use of open access materials!

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Publications by Elrod, Birdsall, Andreoni, and Stinebring

As indexed in ISI Web of Science, recent publications by Matthew Elrod, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Daniel Stinebring, Francis D Federighi Chair in Physics and Astronomy:

Birdsall, AW; Andreoni, JF; Elrod, MJ.  2010.
Investigation of the Role of Bicyclic Peroxy Radicals in the Oxidation Mechanism of Toluene
JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY A 114 (39): 10655-10663 OCT 7 2010 [access at American Chemical Society Publications]
Co-authors Adam Birdsall and John Andreoni are seniors at Oberlin College, anticipating graduation in May 2011.

Hobbs, G; et al. [including Stinebring, D.] 2010.
The International Pulsar Timing Array project: using pulsars as a gravitational wave detector.
CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM GRAVITY 27 (8): Art. No. 084013 APR 21 2010 [access at OhioLINK EJC]

Open Access Database of Breast Cancer Publications

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, ebrary recently announced availability of an open access database of breast cancer publication, created in collaboration with librarians from other organizations.

ebrary's Breast Cancer Searchable Information Center is just one of a growing number of open access collections created by ebrary staff and customers. See the list of additional databases.

In related news, NPR's Talk of the Nation aired "Sorting Through Mammogram Confusion" yesterday [October 14, 2010], following a Morning Edition story on October 11 (In Mammogram Debate, Differences Aren't So Big). 

Learn more at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes for Health.

Friday, October 08, 2010

One-Two Punch: Virus/Fungus Found to Cause Bee Colony Collapse

This fascinating story comes from the New York Times front page (A1) on October 7: Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery.  The fate of honeybees is of critical importance for ecosystems generally and human food supply, specifically, as has been documented in countless other publications and news stories (search: CCD colony collapse honey bees in google and the result is overwhelming).  This book provides good background information: A world without bees / Alison Benjamin, Brian McCallum.

The U.S. House of Representatives held a Hearing to review the status of pollinator health including colony collapse disorder (hearing before the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture of the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, second session, June 26, 2008), providing abundant evidence of the cost and effect of CCD on farmers nationwide and USDA's research efforts to date.

The NYT story addresses the mysterious nature of colony collapse, and the fortuitous result of academic/military collaboration to research the cause: 
"Human nature and bee nature were interconnected in how the puzzle pieces came together. Two brothers helped foster communication across disciplines. A chance meeting and a saved business card proved pivotal. Even learning how to mash dead bees for analysis — a skill not taught at West Point — became a factor.
"One perverse twist of colony collapse that has compounded the difficulty of solving it is that the bees do not just die — they fly off in every direction from the hive, then die alone and dispersed. That makes large numbers of bee autopsies — and yes, entomologists actually do those — problematic."
Now that the cause of CCD is more clearly understood, how can it be treated?  That remains elusive:
"Scientists in the project emphasize that their conclusions are not the final word. The pattern, they say, seems clear, but more research is needed to determine, for example, how further outbreaks might be prevented, and how much environmental factors like heat, cold or drought might play a role.
"They said that combination attacks in nature, like the virus and fungus involved in bee deaths, are quite common, and that one answer in protecting bee colonies might be to focus on the fungus — controllable with antifungal agents — especially when the virus is detected."
Published in NYT online September 6, 2010.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Nobel 2010 in Chemistry: Palladium-Catalyzed Cross Coupling

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is shared by Richard F. Heck, Univ. Deleware; Ei-ichi Negishi, Purdue Univ.; and Akira Suzuki, Hokkaido University, for their developments of palladium-catalyzed cross coupling, including refining the method and reagents used for synthesizing complex molecules. As noted on the Nobel Prize site, "the Heck reaction, Negishi reaction and Suzuki reaction are of considerable importance to chemists." Among the many applications of their work, their methods have led to the efficient synthesis of compounds used to treat cancer and other disease, to protect agricultural crops from fungi, to create new materials that benefit computer technology, and to advance research through the synthesis of naturally occurring molecules in test tubes.

A search of the phrase "Palladium-Catalyzed Cross Coupling" resulted in 1,406 references in ISI Web of Knowledge, in an amazing array of subject disciplines  - characterized as agriculture, allergy, immunology, genetics, ophthalmology, endocrinology, electrochemistry, materials sciences, and so much more (the refine by subject areas is such a useful option in ISI WoK!).  For a good overview of the chemistry, see Palladium in Organic Synthesis, available to OhioLINK users at as part of the Topics in Organometallic Chemistry series.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Graphene the Focus of 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics

Graphene was first described in this 2004 publication in Science, accessible to Oberlin users both in JSTOR. org and on the AAAS site:

Novoselov, K. S.; Geim, A. K.; Morozov, S. V.; Jiang, D.; Zhang, Y.; Dubonos, S. V.; Grigorieva, I. V.; Firsov, A. A. 2004. Electric field effect in atomically thin carbon films. Science, 306, 666-669.

Since that publication, co-authors and 2010 Nobel Prize winners Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov have published together at least 63 times (as found through an author search in INSPEC).  The "Information for the Public" offered at the Nobel Prize website is wonderfully prepared to help non-physicists understand the significance of graphene's development and utilization:
"Graphene is a form of carbon. As a material it is completely new – not only the thinnest ever but also the strongest. As a conductor of electricity it performs as well as copper. As a conductor of heat it outperforms all other known materials. It is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that not even helium, the smallest gas atom, can pass through it.
"The list of possible applications for graphene is long. The relentless activity that began following its discovery will eventually most likely bear fruit. No-one can predict what the future might bring, not even this year’s Nobel Laureates."
 Take a look and enjoy the graphics.  The images give a much better idea of graphene's structure!  See also this book at SpringerLink:  Progress in industrial mathematics at ECMI 2006  / Luis L. Bonilla ... [et al.], editors] for a few chapters on graphene.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Big Read Kickoff! Saturday @ The First Church

After months (and months) of planning, we are at last embarking on our community read of Fahrenheit 451.  The kickoff event, long scheduled at the fire circle in Tappan Square, will instead be indoors at The First Church, in the Meeting House (Sat., Oct. 2, 4pm).  The forecast of rain and cold wind made the outdoor location less and less desirable (so unlike the brilliant blue sky, bright sun and fluffy white clouds visible from the science library windows at this moment).

Come hear readings of the book by Marvin Krislov, Eric Norenberg and Geoffrey Andrews, and remarks from Molly Raphael OC'67, President Elect of the American Library Association.  We'll still offer popcorn, cider and the opportunity to make a small facsimile of your favorite book, which will then be destroyed in some manner, in a dramatization of our abhorrence of book burning.  This is ultimately a celebration of the Freedom to Read and a fitting end to Banned Books Week.  Join Us!

The Big Read will continue through March, with more events and book discussion groups.  Stay informed at