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Rationalisation of Scientific Publication

    Naturevolume 135pages919920 (1935) | Download Citation



    A POINT raised in the leading article in NATURE of March 9 on the subject of “Rationalisation of Scientific Publication”, relating to the duplication of abstracts, led Dr. Ainsworth Mitchell to state the views of the Society of Public Analysts in a letter published in our issue of May 11, p. 791. Further communications have since reached us from other members of the Society. The main contention is that the Society produces at its own cost something for the use of its members which is not supplied by the British Chemical Abstracts; and that these specialised abstracts are widely appreciated. In so far as a large number of members of the Society of Public Analysts are members also of one or both of the societies maintaining the Bureau of Chemical Abstracts, no reasonable objection can be raised to this action. None the less, the unprejudiced onlooker may regret the example when overlapping and duplication are still so widely apparent in chemical literature, and when the major scientific societies find the burden of publication a severe tax on their resources. He may still be entitled to conclude that it is idle to deplore such financial limitations or to lament the growing difficulty which besets every scientific worker of keeping abreast of his subject until there is to be found a much greater willingness to make generous sacrifices in the general interest. It is unfortunate that a phrase in the original article, intended merely to indicate the ground covered by the abstracts of the Society of Public Analysts, has been construed to refer to the matter and data of the abstracts in a way which the Society would have been justly entitled to resent. Such criticism of any society is, however, most effectively disarmed by the measure in which the Society publicly as well as privately supports the central institutions for the co-ordination of scientific literature in the particular science it avows.

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