APS News

Free E‑Journal Access for Minority‑Serving Institutions

In a project initiated by the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), the National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP), and the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), APS and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) have offered minority-serving academic institutions a free trial throughout 2008 to all their online publications. The two publishers have agreed to a formula that would permit these institutions to then acquire this entire collection of top physics journals at very low prices in 2009.

“Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions often lack the financial resources to obtain the research journals so important to students in physics and related fields,” notes Quinton Williams, chair of the physics department at Jackson State University and past president of NSBP. “This initiative with AIP and APS is an attempt to solve that problem.”

Roman Czujko, director of AIP’s Statistical Research Center, points out that “HBCUs account for 60% of all physics bachelors degrees awarded to African American students, even though they comprise only 4.5% of all universities that award this degree.” In addition, three of the six US universities that have awarded the largest number of PhDs to African Americans are historically black universities.

AIP, publisher of journals such as Journal of Applied Physics and Journal of Chemical Physics, and APS, publisher of the Physical Review series, are among the top publishers of physics journals and between them account for eight of the ten most-cited journals in the field, according to Thomson Scientific.

Cooperating with NSBP, NSHP, and SURA, the two publishers are offering free trial access in 2008 to their entire online journal collections to HBCUs and other select minority-serving institutions with a physics department. Some of these institutions subscribe to a fairly large number of AIP and APS journals (and some get none), but none of the institutions currently receives the entire collection of both publishers. Some of the institutions that currently subscribe to some AIP or APS journals will need to maintain those subscriptions, but with the trial they will gain online access to the entire collection of both publishers. These institutions can then acquire this entire collection of physics journals at very low prices in 2009.

“The journals initiative with AIP and APS has planted a seed that we hope to grow–there is certainly a need by researchers at these institutions for the journals,” said David Ernst, professor of physics at Vanderbilt University, executive officer of NSHP, and SURA Fellow.

AIP and APS are accepting applications for the 2008 free trial from HBCU institutions and from a select set of Hispanic- and Native American-serving institutions. “We work with librarians throughout the developing world to provide low-cost access to our journals,” states Joe Serene, APS publisher and treasurer. “We should do no less for underserved and underfinanced institutions in our own country.”