Stein, Tankard, Pint, Boot: Different beer glasses affect drinking speed

As we enter the Labor Day holiday weekend here in the US, many Americans will probably be celebrating with a beer (or two). Before the barbeques start, though, it may be worth considering a recent paper showing that the shape of your beer glass can influence how quickly (and potentially how much) you drink.

The paper, authored by a team from University of Bristol led by psychologist Dr. Angela Attwood, reports that study participants who drank from a straight glass finished their beer 60% more slowly than those drinking from a curved glass. The cause is unknown, but the researchers write that it may be perceptual.

With curved glasses, the subjects estimated the halfway point to be lower than it actually was. The perception of the halfway point of the straight glass was also incorrect, but the discrepancy was less. In other words, the drinkers had to drink more out of the curved glass than the straight glass to get to the perceived halfway mark. If they were pacing themselves, their benchmark for doing so was worse for the curved glass than the straight glass, resulting in overall faster drinking for those using the curved glasses.

This interpretation assumes that the participants were in fact monitoring their drinking, either consciously or subconsciously, based on how much they thought they had left. Such pacing was not shown in the current study, but there are a few additional suggestive pieces of the puzzle: when the participants were given half-filled glasses, or when beer was replaced with soda, they drank from both types of glasses at the same rate, providing support for the perceptual hypothesis.

The researchers did not, however, address the effects of drinking out of a can, bottle, or one of those fancy Belgian chalices, so you may have to do some of your own experiments too.

Citation: Attwood AS, Scott-Samuel NE, Stothart G, Munafò MR (2012) Glass Shape Influences Consumption Rate for Alcoholic Beverages. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43007. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043007

Image source: darren-johnson on Flickr

Ross Mounce’s Visualization of “Gold” Open Access Rights and Prices

This blog highlights some splendid work done by Ross Mounce, one of our Panton Fellows. Ross actually started this before he applied to us, but he’s done and though a lot since so we can claim a little reflected glory.

The work is blogged at .

“To try and publicize the variety of Gold Open Access article publication options on offer, I’ve decided to create a visualization of the journal data that has previously been collected as part of my survey of ‘Open Access’ publisher licenses’ spreadsheet. ” [RM]. So the data can be found there.

For those who don’t know a scholarly publication with a major publisher is only readable if your library has a subscription (up to more than 10,000 USD/year for a single journal) or if you pay one-off fees (40 USD for one day for one article). This means that most of the world (including most people in the rich West) do not have access and normally suffer by remaining ignorant.

There are three main approaches to scholarly publishing:

  • Create and run publications with no charges for publication or reading “Sponsored Publication”. IMO this is what we should ultimately be aiming at but critics dismiss this as “Fairy Godmother”. There is after all 15 Billion USD spent by universities per year so some of this could be put to use. Nonetheless many journals work this way, but not normally large ones.
  • Make an agreement with a publisher that a copy of the article can be put on a permanent site (“Green”). This copy is not normally the final published article (“the PDF”) but something close. Publishers have no legal requirement to allow this and many don’t. The copies have to be mafde by the authors and many don’t take the trouble. Nonetheless some academics believe that by passges of years and campaigning they can force all academics to deposit green manuscripts.
  • Pay the publisher (APCs or Article Processing Fees) to make the final article publicly readable (“Gold”). There are two mechanisms:
  1. choose a journal where all artciles are Open Access. Examples of such are PLoS and BiomedCentral journals, Acta Crystallographica E, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and many more. This is straightforward if there is a journal in your subject (though I and others questions the need for journals). You pay the price (NOT the cost) (AFTER the article is accepted, so not “vanity publishing”) and your article is published Openly. I have managed to do this for almost all my recent publications – but it costs money.
  2. Choose a “closed” journal, i.e. where most of the articles are not readable by the public and pay the journal APCs. This is “hybrid Gold”. For many scientists this is the only viable option, sinvce most of their natural outlets are closed. One obvious concern is that we are paying twice – once to publish and once for people to buy the journal (most of which is closed). The publishers assert that they lower their prices to account for this and although they don’t disclose accounts we trust them because publishers are by nature trustable, as are banks.

Before commenting on Ross’s data I’ll comment that there are no effective market forces for Gold. If I want to publish in Journal X I have to pay whatever the journal sets. This ranges (as Ross shows) from 160 USD for Acta Crystallographica E to 10,000 for Nature (not on the plot as it is in Nature statements rather than on the web page).

Those outside academia may well be baffled by a charge for 10,000 USD to publish a paper that an author has authored for free (authors are not paid and no-one says they should be) and academics have reviewed for free. You can buy a good used car for that. The journal incurs costs in managing the peer-review (but not normally doing it), making the journal look nice (which most people can do with Open tools for free), hiring lawyers to stop people copying articles, hiring web expets to build tools to stop people reading articles, hiring salespeople to persuade people to buy journals, and paying large dividends to shareholders.

So IMO and Ross’s it’s important to change the way we publish science so that everyone can read it.


Because even if you can read an article you are normally explicitly debarred from using machines to read it, or especially lots of articles. I have argue that this is costing humankind huge amounts of lost value.

There is a formal way to ensure that machines ARE allowed to read articles, and that’s to add a licence explicitly allowing them to do this. The only well-known licences that are acceptable for this are CC-BY or CC0.

But many publishers do not provide CC-BY even if authors have spent thousands of dollars. This is a unilateral decision by most publishers and IMO this is immoral, and unethical. There is no justification for this (it does NOT protect authors – scholarly norms do that). These lesser licences include CC-NC (“non-commercial”) and CC-ND (“no derivatives”). Many – including me – have argued that these are counter-productive to scholarship. The publishers include them for a variety of motives:

  • Lazineness, incomptence and ignorance. This is not excusable – after all we are paying publishers zillions – but it’s probably the easiest to change. So Ross’ plot is a reall opportunity to name-and-shame publishers who couldn’t be bothered to think about licences. The worst category on the diagram is “no clear licence” and we hope that many publishers will realise that by a simple process of adding a single phrase to their publication they culd whizz to the top.
  • A misguided idea that “non-commercial” is a good thing. It isn’t . Its main effect is to hit academics themselves (e.g. can’t use in books), small businesses, government (buying publications is a commercial act), etc. If you aren’t convinced we’ll help change your mind
  • A desire to milk the system for every last drop. Publishers want to retain the right to resell the paper and its diagrams as reprints, in books, etc. Free-to-read is not free-to-reuse
  • And other means of trying to control academics, libraries etc in a confusing and highly profitable market.

So armed with that, re-read Ross’ plot. “Good” is at the top “unacceptable” at the bottom. Some points will not be in the right place on the diagram. There are several reasons:

  • It’s often very difficult to find out theprice (e.g. when there are page charges and colour charges (coloured electrons cost more on the internet)).
  • Many publishers (especially those with society journals) have many different journals
  • There are special deals – if you belong to some institutions they get reduced author rates
  • The licence information is so badly written it’s impossible to work out what’s happening (answer, use a CC licence – either CC-BY or CC0)
  • Some publishers offer more than one licence. I can’t understand why – they should offer only the most liberal.

Then there is the question of ownership and copyright. But that’s another day.

The price axis is one of the areas we should be addressing. The price bears NO RELATIONSHIP to the cost (except for journals at the LH side the plot, like Acta Crystallographica E). It doesn’t COST Nature 10000 USD to publish an article that has been written and reviwed for free. It doesn’t COST Perrier umpteen dollars to fill a bottle with water that comes out of the ground. These are vanity prices, and academics don’t care as long as the taxpayer or students are paying for library bills.


But you form your own conclusions from the plot. Comment on this blog or Ross’ if you think data is wrong.







The fourth issue of ChemistryOpen is now freely available online!

ChemistryOpenChemistyOpen’s Issue 4 is now available via Wiley Online Library and the journal’s homepage:

This issue for the first time holds a Thesis Summary in the journal’s unique Thesis Treasury section. It allows scientists to publish a short summary of their PhD thesis and make it openly accessible to all. See the first contribution online, where H. Varela nicely summarizes his PhD thesis on Spatiotemporal Pattern Formation during Electrochemical Oxidation of Hydrogen on Platinum.

Again ChemistryOpen offers topics from all areas of chemistry. Wagenknecht et al. optimize the properties of dual-emitting oligonucleotide probes by restricting its conformations using pyrrolidinyl PNA. To visualize b cells using PET imaging, Weissleder et. al modify an exendin-4 derivative with 18F via trans-cyclooctene/tetrazine cycloaddition. An efficient and simple synthetic strategy from azabicylo[4.1.0]heptenes to arylhexahydroisoquinolines is presented by Chung et al. In another Full Paper, Autschbach and co-worker perform time-dependent DFT calculations to study the long-range exciton coupling circular dichroism of tetraphenylporphorin.

And remember, all articles published in ChemistryOpen are fully open access and freely available to all. Click here  to browse the latest issue!

Lee Dirks

Lee Dirks died yesterday with his wife in a car accident in Peru:

Many have already written about Lee today, e.g.: Savas Parastatidis

And John Wilbanks:

So I’ll try to add something different.

I met Lee about several years ago after Tony Hey moved to run Microsoft External Research. Lee was the person we immediately interacted with and who was the lynchpin of the relationship. Lee was fun, focused, dynamic, everywhere, with a huge involvement. He was the centre of any group. He was fun to listen to, relaxing, entertaining. You never felt stress when lee was around.

He made things happen. We worked together for three years on Chem4Word ( ) and I think this is one of the many things that he would like to be remembered for:

The chemistry is important but it’s not the most important thing. The task was enormous; create a working, modern chemical authoring system for the Word/Net environment. By conventional methods it would never have happened. And indeed it started slowly, with Lee steering Microsoft to work effectively with an external group on – literally – a daily basis. But as we developed Lee was able to spot opportunities and change direction when it really mattered. And something that could never have been dreamt of at the start of the project – Lee steered it to being completely Open Source.

We had a lot of laughs – you cannot survive a project like that without them. And Lee was at the centre. For me, you are still with us.

Wiley Joins Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)

OASPA MemberWiley are pleased to join the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA).  We support OASPA’s goals of sharing knowledge and best practice, and developing sustainable OA publishing models.  OASPA represents the interests of open access journal publishers globally in all scientific, technical and scholarly disciplines and enables exchange of information, setting standards, advancing models, advocacy, education, and the promotion of innovation. 

Wiley has had an open access offering for authors since 2004 in the form of OnlineOpen, a hybrid journal open access option.  In early 2011 Wiley launched Wiley Open Access, a fully open access journal program, which already contains eleven journals. Wiley Open Access provides open access publication in peer-reviewed journals where all published articles are immediately freely available to read, download and share. 

The availability of OnlineOpen was extended to over 80% of Wiley’s journals this year.  Wiley also announced the appointment of its first Vice President & Director of Open Access in June and earlier this month moved all fully open access proprietary journals to the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence which allows commercial use of published articles.

 “We see our new membership of OASPA as a further step on our journey to develop a wide range of sustainable publishing routes to suit the needs of all of our partners,” said Steve Miron, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Scientific, Technical, Medical, and Scholarly, Wiley.

Why is scientific data so badly communicated?

Ross Mounce and I are starting to extract content (“content-mining”) from BMC journals. [Why BMC only? Because most of the other major publishers refuse to let us do it even when we subscribe.] [Why not PLoS? For technical informatics reasons which I have communicated to PLoS and which they have taken on board.]

I am going to appeal frequently for like-minded people to form a community of Open Content Miners, so if you are interested, let us know.

Anyway we are going through BMC Evolutionary Biology and looking at data types. We are optimistic in general.

DISCLAIMER: I shall use examples from BMC because this is all I can access. I shall frequently be critical – BMC is no better or worse in most of these. My criticism of Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Nature, RSC, ACS, etc. is an order of magnitude worse.

Anyway – here’s the first diagram I came across. I’ll say later HOW we extract, but for the moment look how badly the information is presented. That’s partly because of the slavery of the printed page (and “print” is the evil word because authors and publishers expect reader to print the page). Tell ME what you think is suboptimal about this figure (I have at least 3 complaints, some of which are very common). The diagram should scale to a size where the text is (just) readable.


People have been reading this – I’d value your comments.


Wiley Open Access journals now indexed by DOAJ

DOAJWe are pleased to annouce that a number of Wiley Open Access titles have recently be added to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This directory currently lists 8092 open access journals, with more titles being regularly added. The recently added Wiley Open Access journals are: MicrobiologyOpen, Evolutionary Applications, Cancer Medicine, EMBO Molecular Medicine and ChemistryOpen. All of these journals are freely available to read on Wiley Online Library.  These are in addition to the earlier launched journals Brain and Behavior and Ecology and Evolution which have been indexed since February 2012.

Inclusion in DOAJ  increases visibility by enabling potential authors and readers to navigate to them directly within the directory. Many librarians have commented that they see inclusion in DOAJ as a sign of a quality open access journal. Wiley Open Access will continue to work with DOAJ to have all new journals in our program included.

The Advantage of Veins

Locust wing

Desert locusts are known to travel great distances, experiencing substantial mechanical stress along the way, however little is understood about their wings ability to resist damage during these long flights. Using a tensile test machine, Trinity College researchers Dr. Dirks and Dr. Taylor investigated the toughness of these insect’s extremely thin wings, specifically looking into the function of the network of veins running through the wing membrane, shown in Figure 1 above, as barriers to crack propagation. As the title, “Veins Improve Fracture Toughness of Insect Wings” suggests, the study found these veins increased the effective structural toughness of the wing significantly, causing cracks to slow or stop and helps explain how the insects manage to withstand damage incurred over long flights. Check out Video 1 of the article to see the veins impede cracks.


Image citation:

Dirks J-H, Taylor D (2012) Veins Improve Fracture Toughness of Insect Wings. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43411. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043411

JKUAT IR Sensitization workshops


JKUAT Library plans to sensitize the JKUAT community on the JKUAT OA policy and IR. The first workshop will be held on 14th September 2012 and will be targeting Teaching staff and researchers, editors, ICT staff JKUSO representatives, BPS representative, JKUAT IR policy committee, Campus representatives. The second workshop will be targeting JKUAT management and will be combined with a launch of the repository by the Vice Chancellor and is scheduled tentatively for 19th September 2012. The issues to be covered are

  • An introduction to OA institutional repositories initiatives: What they are and their benefits
  • A historical background of the JKUAT IR
  • An overview of the JKUAT IR Policy
  • Copyright issues and IRs
  • Implementation experience of other institutions
  • Demonstration of the JKUAT IR

The library looks forward to this important milestone    


Molecular Informatics Presents—New Open Access Special Issue: Open Innovation in Drug Discovery

Molecular Informatics CoverThe exponentially growing availability of open data and its exploitation in drug discovery and development has a significant impact on the way how Pharmaceutical Sciences are progressing. Semantic-web technologies for flexible integration of databases, web-based tools which allow the mining of large life science data sets, mobile apps for instant availability of information, new approaches for classifying targets and assays are just a few examples of the immense opportunities offered by the concept of openness. In this special issue devoted to “Open Innovation in Drug Discovery” a few snapshots in this area are highlighted, demonstrating how the whole community will benefit from applications built upon open data.

Articles include:
REVIEW: Taking Open Innovation to the Molecular Level – Strengths and Limitations
COMMUNICATIONS: PharmaTrek: A Semantic Web Explorer for Open Innovation in Multitarget Drug Discovery

This entire special issue is available open access, thanks to financial support from Open PHACTS  and Wiley-VCH.

About the Journal
Molecular Informatics is a peer-reviewed, international forum for publication of high-quality, interdisciplinary research on all molecular aspects of bio/cheminformatics and computerassisted molecular design. Having commenced publication in 2010, it just received a first Impact Factor of 2.390 – straight into the top quartile of the Mathematics & Computational Biology category**!

**2011 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2012)

Invitation: Learn more about e Life, the funder-researcher collaboration for the best in science

P.S. on the following: Mark Patterson (eLife Managing Executive Editor), Ian Mulvany (our head of technology), and I will also be on hand. We look forward to having you!

eLife is holding an online Open House to share news on the development of its anticipated open-access journal for the very best in life science and biomedical research. Join us.
eLife is the new researcher-driven initiative to reshape science communication launched in collaboration by three prestigious biomedical research funders: the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (USA), Max Planck Society (Germany), and the Wellcome Trust (UK). Announced in June 2011, the first aim of the initiative is to launch an open-access journal for the most important advances in the life sciences and biomedicine. The eLife journal will showcase papers identified through a new rapid, fair, and constructive review process, and serve as a platform for innovation in the presentation and use of research content.
While eLife presses toward launch of the journal by the end of 2012, interest in how this unique funder-researcher collaboration could change science and scientific publishing grows. Media coverage has been extensive and has included detailed stories on one of eLife’s first accepted papers – just weeks after we opened for submissions.
On September 12, please join us for an online Open House to learn more about what the initiative aims to do, the scope of the journal, how the review process is different, the papers that have been accepted, the status of launch, and more. eLife Editor-in-chief Randy Schekman – Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California (Berkeley), and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute – will host. Scientists, students, potential reviewers, members of the eLife community, librarians, research funders, publishers, open-access advocates – all – are welcome.
The eLife online Open House will be held:
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
9:00 – 10:00AM U.S. Pacific time
(12:00 – 1:00PM U.S. Eastern | 5:00 – 6:00PM UK)
To determine the time in another world region, visit
Please register to attend by September 10 at (Phone and Web access will be required to participate).
To share your questions in advance, post to the eLife Web site (, Tweet #eLifeopen, or email
To learn more about eLife and the growing momentum behind the initiative, visit

To receive news directly from eLife, feel free to sign up at
About eLife
eLife is a unique collaboration between the funders and practitioners of research to communicate ground-breaking discoveries in the life and biomedical sciences in the most effective way. Set for launch in late 2012, the eLife journal will be a platform for maximising the reach and influence of new discoveries and to showcase new approaches to the presentation, use, and assessment of research. As an open-access journal, eLife will deliver access to content for free, online, immediately on publication, and will encourage maximum possible reach and utility of the content by publishing under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which is emerging as the gold standard for open-access publishing. Learn more at


Jennifer McLennan?Communications, eLife
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