FEATURE

New resources help engineers

Roddy MacLeod gives an overview of the latest engineering research information in 2007 and looks at what 2008 promises to offer in this discipline

Over the past year a range of developments have been made that can help researchers discover more about the latest research in their fi eld. As usual, many of the developments involved new journal titles. Popular subject areas for these launches included biomedical engineering, computer science, power and renewable energy research, telecommunications and nanotechnology.

Some of the new engineering titles are published as open access (OA) and this publishing model is defi nitely taking off in engineering after a relatively slow start compared to some disciplines. Several publishers have introduced a hybrid model, where authors can opt to pay to make their papers OA in a primarily subscription-based journal, while others have expanded their lists of journals that are now covered by this sort of model. The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology is proposing to mandate all its funded researchers to make resultant publications openly accessible through a repository within six months of publication.

Another interesting development is the recent tie-up between Sage and Hindawi to jointly develop OA journals. The digitisation of backfi les has continued. For example, Emerald has announced the Emerald Backfi les project, John Wiley has the Communications Technology, Electrical & Systems Engineering Backfi les Collection, the Royal Society of Chemistry has created the RSC Journals Archive and there’s an Elsevier Backfi le on ScienceDirect.

But the developments in engineering information are not just about making it more available. There has also been plenty of effort put into helping researchers fi nd the information that they need. One way that this is happening is through the growth in the use of RSS.

Examples of new RSS developments include a tutorial called ‘Enhance your current awareness services with RSS’ from Elsevier and IMechE’s new list of more than 20 feeds, covering events and news in engineering subjects. In addition, a new project called ticTOCs is aiming to transform journal current awareness by making it easy to do various things with journal Table of Content RSS feeds. The UK’s JISC is the primary funder of ticTOCs and a number of publishers are partners in the project.

Some federated search tools have also emerged, or in some cases been improved. A new version of Scitopia.org, which was announced in April 2007, has been released. This searches three million items, including journal content and conference proceedings from 19 professional societies. These societies are mainly based in the USA and include ASCE, ASME, IEEE, SAE and SPIE. In June 2007 WorldWideScience.org was also launched. This is a global science gateway from the US DOE and the British Library, which searches across 15 national portals. Meanwhile, Scirus, from Elsevier, seems to have improved considerably. Other federated search tools include Scitation,which searches documents from scientifi c societies and technical publishers, and TechXtra, which searches four million items from 31 top sources.

There have been a few Web 2.0 developments such as experiments with Second Life (for example, the IEEE Island), social networking and tagging. But there has been nothing mindblowing with respect to engineering. However, I expect that in the coming year these sorts of things will take off much more.

Recent engineering highlights

BSI Business Information

BSI Business Information has released a new version of British Standards Online (BSOL). The new version promises: better searching; additional browsing features; better results handling; better alerting; a more intuitive user interface; and a new platform for ongoing development.

There is also a new BSI Shop and catalogue, where users can search and buy PDF downloads of standards as well as hard-copy formats.

CISTI and NRC Press

CISTI, the Canada Institute for Scientifi c and Technical Information, and its publishing arm, NRC Press, have announced that two ‘green journals’, the Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science and Environmental Reviews, will be published in electronic-only format from 2008. There’s a 20 per cent bundled discount if you subscribe to both journals.

CISTI Library Services have a new pay-per-article option for articles. This integrates the search, order and payment processes within a single interface. All articles cost 12 Canadian dollars, plus publisher fees and applicable taxes. In addition, CISTI, in partnership with MyiLibrary is offering a new e-book service that makes it possible to borrow more than 20,000 e-books via the CISTI Catalogue. Publishers include Springer, Elsevier, and Taylor & Francis.

Elsevier

Elsevier has started to publish the Journal of Manufacturing Systems and Journal of Manufacturing Processes on behalf of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Referex E-Books, part of Elsevier’s Engineering Information, has tripled in size and scope. It has introduced three new collections, bringing the total number to six, and tripling the number of titles a vailable. It also now offers 1,600 e-books, in chemical, electrical, mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering, as well as computing, and security and networking.

Another development is that Engineering Village has introduced record tagging. Users can keep their tags public, make them private for their own reference, or create groups to share records with colleagues. Anyone can also search for records by tags assigned by others. Users can also view a tag cloud, by popularity or the most recent ones, to see what’s currently interesting other users.

Emerald

Emerald has announced that 11 (out of 15) of its engineering journals now have Thomson Scientifi c Impact Factors. Of these, 10 saw increases in 2006. The company is migrating all its journals to Manuscript Central for the submissions and peer-review process.

Emerald has also announced a project to digitise the full archive of their journal titles including those in materials science and engineering. Called Emerald Backfiles, the archive is due for release in early 2008.

GlobalSpec

From GlobalSpec comes news about an expanded partnership agreement with the IEEE. Under the new deal, visitors to the IEEE Xplore digital library website will now be able to access over one million application notes available on GlobalSpec. Application notes are content created by companies to explain, illustrate and promote technologies or products.

Hindawi

Hindawi is a commercial publisher of STM literature, and in February it announced its full conversion to open access. Hindawi currently publishes 21 journals in engineering. In addition, 23 journals were recently launched and are open for submission, and more are currently under development. Hindawi has recently launched a number of new journals that focus specifi cally on research articles that are short, high quality, and four pages in length or less. Research Letters in Signal Processing and Research Letters in Communications are two examples that are receiving numerous submissions, according to the company.

IEEE

IEEE plans to launch six new IEEE technical journals in 2008: IEEE Transactions on Haptics, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, and IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine.

IEEE has also recently announced IEEE Expert Now, a collection of online continuing education courses for organisations. These are a series of interactive one-hour online learning courses. The idea is to help researchers stay abreast of the latest developments in their fields and related technologies. A free trial is available. The society’s content is also included in the new free federated search portal, Scitopia.org.

IET

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, which was formed in 2006 by the merging of the IEE and IIE, has announced a new platform called Inspec Direct. This will provide online access to abstracts and citations of about 10 million articles, conference proceedings and technical reports, via an intuitive interface featuring state-of-the-art indexing, search features and analytical functionality.

IET journals have increased the amount of their content by 30 per cent in the year, and two new journals have been launched: IET Renewable Power Generation and IET Synthetic Biology. Another new title, IET Power Electronics, is due to launch in March 2008. This means that the number of journals will have doubled in five years, claims IET.

Inderscience

In 2007 Inderscience launched 17 new titles in engineering, including ones on design engineering, precision technology, and sustainable design.

The publisher also has several titles planned for 2008. These include: International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics; International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation; International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems; International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics; International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering; International Journal of Molecular Engineering; International Journal of Nanoparticles; and International Journal of Petroleum Engineering.

Institute of Physics Publishing (IOP)

Five new journals are promised from IOP in 2008. These are: Astronomical Journal, Chinese Journal of Chemical Physics, Communications in Theoretical Physics, Computational Science & Discovery, and Journal of Breath Research.

In addition, this society publisher has launched IOPscience, its new online service for journal content, containing more than 250,000 articles, from 1874 to the present day. IOP is also now hosting Russian translation titles from Turpion.

Knovel

Knovel plans to introduce two new subject areas, Earth Sciences, and Medical Engineering, to its interactive library of over 1,000 hand-picked books and databases.

Over 70 Elsevier titles will be included in the Earth Sciences subject area. Knovel has also announced various new content partnerships, with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, ASTM International, and the ISA.

Morgan & Claypool

Morgan & Claypool’s online lecture product called Synthesis Digital Library is said to be doing well. It has just published its 100th lecture and has just received the Charleston Advisor’s annual reader’s choice award for ‘Best Contract Options’.

The company is starting three new Synthesis Series, in Human Language Technology, Environmental Science and Engineering; Engineers, Technology and Society; and Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship.

The company has also recently signed a licence with JISC for use of Synthesis by the UK higher and further education and research communities represented by the NESLi2 consortium.

Professional Engineering Publishing

Engineering Open Choice is new from Professional Engineering Publishing, which is wholly-owned by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). This model gives authors the option of having their publications available free on an OA basis upon payment of a standard fee.

A new journal from the IMechE in 2008 will be Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, which is part P of the Proceedings of the IMechE.

ProQuest

ProQuest plans to release CSA Illustrata: Technology early in 2008. This will be an index to data presented in the tables and fi gures of articles, covering materials science, engineering, aerospace, and high technology.

It’s described as not simply a database of images, but a data discovery tool that helps identify the articles that are most relevant to researchers. This ‘deep indexing’, which creates metadata for graphical objects found hidden within the literature, isolates and makes visible key information displayed in images and data tables.

Combined with searching text in the associated captions, it makes it possible to separate key articles from the thousands of peripheral articles that are identified using traditional article-level indices. Snapshots of the figure or table are also given. On average, a technology article contains eight images, and they can be as important, and often more important, than the actual text, points out ProQuest.

CSA Illustrata: Technology will be the second member of the Illustrata product family, following CSA Illustrata: Natural Sciences, which was released in early 2007.

Sage Publications

Three engineering titles are new to Sage. Building Services Engineering Research & Technology and Lighting Research & Technology are both journals for the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, while Transactions of the Institute of Measurement & Control, is the journal of the Institute of Measurement & Control.

Another recent development is that Sage engineering journals now use SAGETRACK, an online manuscript submission service. In addition, there are some helpful new icons on the Sage Journals Online platform to social bookmarking services such as Connotea, Del.icio.us, and Digg.

SPIE

More than 250,000 articles are now available in SPIE Digital Library. The latest publications include new journal articles as well as proceedings papers from conferences held in mid-December.

In addition, the SPIE Digital Library is extending multimedia fi le capability and enhanced reference linking, available for the past year for journal publications, to proceedings articles. Multimedia files are accessed from the article’s abstract page or directly from links within the PDF. With enhanced reference linking, citations are linked to the referenced publications through CrossRef and displayed to subscribers on an article’s abstract page view.

The SPIE Digital Library is accessible through key search engines and scientific databases as well as through Scitopia.org and independently through SPIE.

Springer

Springer’s SpringerLink Engineering collection now has: 2,040 e-books, 120 journals, and 15 online reference works. And there are RSS Feeds & Springer Alerts for keeping up-todate.

There’s a new Springer Handbook of Experimental Fluid Mechanics, the Springer Handbook of Speech Processing was published in November 2007, and a Springer Handbook of Robotics is planned for 2008.

The company’s Librarians Resources include SpringerAlerts, for journal and book tables of contents. There is also a page called Forget-Me-Not, which helps keep track of journals transferred to Springer.

Taylor & Francis

Taylor & Francis has expanded its iOpenAccess option. This now includes two or three titles in engineering, and allows open access for a one-off fee of $3,100 per article.

New journal titles from the company in 2007 include the International Journal of Optomechatronics. Taylor & Francis plans to launch five new engineering journals in 2008: International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education; International Journal of RF Technologies; International Journal of Sustainable Engineering; Journal of Building Performance Simulation; and The IES Journal part A: Civil & Structural Engineering.

Thomson Scientific

Thomson Scientific has added Military and Federal Specifications and Standards to its Techstreet service, which in September was named a Model of Excellence award winner by InfoCommerce.

Wiley

Wiley’s new journal, Security and Communication Networks, tackles the practical and commercial challenges of network security. Librarians can opt in to receive complimentary access to this journal for their institution for all content published in 2008.

The company also has a new major reference work for 2008, called Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. This includes more than 450 articles, plus important topics of interest.

In addition, Wiley has a new backfi le collection of 24,000 articles in communications technology, electrical and systems engineering.