Jan Talbot (center) with Wendy Coulson (left) and Nicole Pacheco (right), Talbot’s graduate students.

One of the pioneers for women in engineering, Jan Talbot retired from the University of California San Diego on July 1, 2018.

Talbot was one of two women in her chemical engineering class at Penn State University. In 1970, when she started her program, there were only seven women and nearly 3,000 men in engineering.

According to the National Science Foundation, in 1973, 576 women in the U.S. graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Two years later, Talbot was one of the 372 women that earned a master’s.

After completing her degrees at Penn State, she became one of two women in her class to graduate from the University of Minnesota in 1986 with a doctorate in engineering and one of 225 women to earn that degree in the whole country.

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Focus Issue on Electrocatalysis

Deadline Extended!

David Cliffel and Thomas Fuller, Technical Editors,
and
Minhua Shao, Guest Editor

invite you to submit to the

Journal of The Electrochemical Society
Focus Issue on:

Electrocatalysis — In Honor of Radoslav Adzic

Submission Deadline | August 1, 2018

Radoslav Adzic, senior scientist emeritus at the Brookhaven National Laboratory

Radoslav Adzic, a senior scientist emeritus at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, has made numerous important contributions to the community of electrocatalysis since the 1960s. This focus issue of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society is organized to celebrate Dr. Adzic’s great achievements. Contributions are solicited for all aspects of electrocatalysis. The following areas are of particular interest:

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An online platform that had once offered a voice to scientists – to join in on debates and discussions of other scientists and inquisitive minds – may now be a thing of the past. Social news website Reddit hosts r/science, one of the world’s largest online science communities, which ran a popular Ask Me Anything Q&A (AMA) series that picked the brains of academics about topics like climate change, physics, and astronomy has come to an end. This was all due to a change in Reddit’s algorithm, changing how posts were ranked and making it nearly impossible to compete with the charm of cute animal GIF’s in the competition of upvotes.

The demise of the Ask Me Anything Q&A series is considered a major setback for the science community. The forum grew to nearly 19 million users, now left with no other platform that offers quite the same reach, accessibility, and engagement.

With flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, and the rest of the anti-science brigade making their views heard in almost every corner of the internet, it’s a difficult time for those who value insightful discussion of peer-reviewed science online,” says Alastair McCloskey, a digital content coordinator in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield. Read his full article here.

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Elsevier Making Deals?

South Korean universities have successfully negotiated a better pricing deal from publishing giant Elsevier, according to a report from Science Magazine. This deal comes after a standoff between the consortium of hundreds of institutions and the publisher, where database access contracts were refused due to exorbitant price increases.

Earlier this month as Elsevier threated to cut access to ScienceDirect, a database containing content from over 3,500 academic journals, the two parties came to an agreement of a subscription price hike of between 3.5 and 3.9 percent, instead of the initial 4.5 percent as pushed by Elsevier.

“We want Elsevier to abolish the minimum flat rate system, in which our universities have to pay for digital content that nobody reads,” Lee Chang Won, secretary general of the Korea University & College Library Association, told Science Magazine.

South Korea’s pushback against Elsevier follows the trend of many similar efforts still underway in Germany, including Projekt DEAL. While over 200 German institutions have already canceled their Elsevier subscriptions in protest of skyrocketing prices, the publisher has still not terminated access, looking to continue negations.

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We Choose to Go to the Moon

The following article was originally published in the winter 2017 issue of Interface.

By: Roque J. Calvo, ECS Executive Director

Free the ScienceUnited States President John F. Kennedy sent a powerful message to the country in his speech at Rice University in1962, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”

History has shown that it was not necessary to go to the Moon to win Kennedy’s challenge. His primary goal was to elevate U.S. national security during the Cold War when the Soviet Union was advancing as a world power and showing signs of superiority in their space program. The U.S. put a man on the Moon in 1969, but far more important was the spirit of innovation that was created, leading to world-changing new technologies in security, communications, and transportation, which was the true win.

Kennedy understood the importance of innovation and risk taking to the success of a nation and his speech permanently implanted this message into the ideal of science and the role it plays in advancing mankind. He continues to stimulate progress because in his words, “there is new knowledge to be gained … and used for the progress of all people.” It is amazing how Kennedy’s influence has prevailed. In a recent ECS podcast with Steven Chu,* the former U.S. Secretary of Energy and 1997 Nobel Prize winner said, “As a scientist, you better be an optimist … half the science I try to do is really shoot for the Moon.”

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ECS AMA: Post Your Questions Now!

ECS’s Ask Me Anything thread is officially live on /r/Science.

Use the link below to visit the thread and post your questions about open science, the Free the Science initiative, and the Society’s forthcoming preprint server, ECSarXiv.

Visit the AMA!

Please note: you will need a Reddit account in order to post questions, comment, or vote in the discussion. If you do not already have one, you can create a free account on Reddit’s website.

Revisit the thread later today, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST. During this time, ECS President Johna Leddy and ECS Transactions Editor Jeffrey Fergus will respond to questions that have been posted, prioritizing the ones that have received the most upvotes.

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Ask ECS Anything!

On Thursday, December 14, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST, ECS President Johna Leddy and ECS Transactions Editor Jeffrey Fergus will answer your questions about open science, the Free the Science initiative, and the Society’s forthcoming preprint server, ECSarXiv, during ECS’s second Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).

The online discussion will take place as part of the /r/Science community’s Science AMA Series. All are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the discussion.

Any questions related to the topics listed above are fair game. Start preparing yours!

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ECS Named Publisher of the Month

Research4LifeECS is honored to report that Research4Life has recognized the Society as its publisher of the month. In a recent blog post, Research4Life highlights the wide scope and impact of its partnership with ECS.

Research4Life is a collective comprised of various programs, multiple institutions, and over 185 international scientific publishers committed to providing developing countries free or affordable access to critical scientific research.

ECS partnered with Research4Life this past March in an effort to help close the knowledge gap between high-income and low- and middle-income countries across the developing world.

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Open AccessOver the summer, librarians and academic leaders in Germany came together to lead a push in taking down the paywalls that block access to so many scientific research articles. The initiative, named Projekt DEAL, represents a bold push toward open access that could change the landscape of academic publishing.

The latest developments in Projekt DEAL pick up on a battle now over two years in the making, where libraries and universities in Germany have united in pushing large publishers to adopt a new business model. The institutions are looking to forego the typical subscription-based academic publishing business model in lieu of paying an annual lump sum that covers publications costs of all papers whose first authors are associated with German institutions.

The concept behind Projekt DEAL is relatively straight forward: multiply the number of papers with first authors associated with German institutions by a reasonable fee per paper. The institutions would pay that amount and those papers would then be published open access, available to everyone around the world, in exchange for free access to all of the publisher’s online content for the German institutions. This would not only mark a huge step in the open access movement, but would alleviate some of the financial burden facing libraries paying for high-cost journal subscriptions.

But this push isn’t the first of its kind. According to reports from Science, institutions from the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, and United Kingdom have all worked for similar agreements. The results, however, have been less than the libraries and universities had hoped for.

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ECS shows its vision for the future of academic publishing

Open Access WeekECS is celebrating International Open Access Week by giving the world a preview of what complete open access to peer-reviewed scientific research will look like. ECS is taking down the paywall October 23-29 to the entire ECS Digital Library, making over 132,000 scientific articles and abstracts free and accessible to everyone.

This is the third consecutive year ECS will take down its paywalls during Open Access Week, an annual event organized by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. Eliminating the paywall during Open Access Week allows ECS to give the world a preview of the potential of its Free the Science initiative.

Free the Science is ECS’s move toward a future that embraces open science to further advance research in our field. This is a long-term vision for transformative change in the traditional models of communicating scholarly research. ECS last opened its digital library in April 2017 for the first ever Free the Science Week.

“ECS is working to disseminate scientific research to the broadest possible audience without barriers,” says Mary Yess, ECS chief content officer/publisher. “Through Open Access Week, we’re able to once again highlight a new scholarly publishing model that promotes authors and the science they do.”

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