Spring Preening

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Science  09 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5314, pp. 879
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5314.879

Spring brings forth new growth, and this natural creativity inspires even scholars to seek renewal. This spring, Science is launching significant additions to the features offered to our print and electronic subscribers. Most are ready for use immediately, and all will be ready for inclusion in your tools of scholarship before this spring ends.

Since June 1995, Science has viewed its online product, Science Online, as a means to complement the weekly print magazine in ways that go far beyond simply repackaging the printed material for rapid online distribution and providing searchable up-to-date links among authors, topics, and related articles. To that end, Science Online already provides novel electronic gateways allowing for the exchange of scientific information, such as that provided by our collaboration with the National Library of Medicine, which allows readers to pursue online the sources for cited articles. Science News on the Web (ScienceNOW) provides daily briefings on breaking news developments in science, along with searchable archived weekly summaries, and has already attracted a weekly readership exceeding 13,000. Additional news items written by ScienceNOWstaff can be seen at the Web site of Academic Press, a co-visionary enterprise that shares Science's view of electronic publishing's potential for scientists. Science's Next Wave has garnered its own independent readership and last month added to its staff an editor based in the United Kingdom. The Science Online features for job opportunities (Science's Professional Network) and for scientific goods and services (Electronic Marketplace) have both found appreciative and growing readerships.

In the past 6 months, together with our colleagues at Stanford University's HighWire Press, Science has substantially increased the accessibility of its online content. Beginning with the 4 April issue, author-written abstracts of articles, research articles, and reports have been available to all registered users of Science Online, including those not yet ready to commit to personal subscriptions. The online version of the widely emulated This Week in Science (TWIS) now offers writeups on all the research appearing in an issue of Science, without the confines of the printed page. The expanded TWIS and summaries of all news items are now available free to all who register for Science Online.

In April, Science Online hosted two interactive Policy Forums (4 April 1997, p. 53, and 25 April 1997, p. 548) in which topics under active debate in the print product are complemented with moderated online discussion forums. These forums (accessible from the “Special Features” item on the Science Online home page) extend the opportunities for authors and readers to express their views. The Enhanced Perspectives regularly offer online readers live links to electronic archives, databases, and Web sites across the entire spectrum of scientific fields, from astrophysics and anthropology to chemistry, materials science, and zoology. And just as the online version has extended the intellectual options for print readers, a Webwatch column appearing in the first printed issue each month now provides tips on scientifically useful Web sites.

And more is on the way. To this already substantial inventory of online options will soon be added features that have grown out of our readers' expressions of interest. ScienceNOW will soon be searchable. And within the growing family of scientific journals allied with HighWire Press, it will soon be possible to search on topics and authors across at least some journals without the need for a subscription. In the near future, hyperlinking from cited references to abstracts and full text in other journals will be possible. It will soon also be possible to capture references gleaned from searches of Science archives and linked journals for direct importation to your favorite citation management system. Book Reviews are now available online, as will be the Books Received lists. The quarterly author index has moved online permanently, in Portable Document File format suitable for downloading and access by all readers. This move has opened up more pages for publishing original scientific content in the print magazine. Last—for now— in the not too distant future, a “pay-per-admission” option will allow those who are not yet subscribers to Science and Science Online to gain temporary access to ScienceOnline.

“Science is organized knowledge,” according to English philosopher Herbert Spencer. With the spring 1997 line of new tools for scholars, Science takes its next steps forward in providing our readers with the information they need in a form they can use reliably.

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