Michael Filosa, Member of the CAS Committee, published an article in the October 2010 issue of the Nucleus, soliciting feedback for the CAS Committee. Mike received feedback about CAS' coverage of book chapters. Chris McCue, CAS, provided a response. For your information and potential discussion, please see text below:
Solicitation for Feedback from Michael Filosa, CCAS Member:
"The local section newsletter (the Nucleus) for the Northeastern Section ACS (NESACS) has an article in the October 2010 issue requesting feedback to CCAS. The entire October Nucleus can be downloaded at http://www.nesacs.org/archives_nucleus.html (the article appears on page 9). There is also a link under "Announcements" to a pdf of the article on the NESACS home page at http://www.nesacs.org/ . NESACS is the largest of the local sections with nearly 7000 members. We plan on reaching out to as many local sections as possible with this message."
Feedback from Nucleus reader:
I was pleased to see in the latest issue of The Nucleus that you are a member of the Committee on Chemical Abstract Services (CCAS). I spent an hour in August at the ACS meeting talking with Matt Toussant, the second in command under Bob Massie at Chemical Abstracts. There were two issues I wanted to explore with him, and I want to bring one of them also to your attention, in the hope that the problem can be solved. Matt was very responsive and supportive and optimistic, but it might help if the issue were brought up to Bob Massie also by the CCAS. The article in The Nucleus said you were eager for feedback, so here goes…
It would be very valuable if Chemical Abstract Services were to expand its coverage of the scientific literature by publishing separate abstracts of individual chapters of edited monograph books when the chapters have been contributed by separate authors whom the editor has recruited. Such books are increasingly commonplace now in the chemical literature.
Each chapter in such a monograph is frequently an important stand-alone treatise or an up-to-date review on a particular subject. For example, while writing a book review recently for Angew. Chemie on the Wiley-VCH monograph “Strained Hydrocarbons,” edited by Helena Dodziuk, I discovered in the book two very up-to-date reviews on fullerenes and carbon nanotubes. Unfortunately, students and scholars seeking the information presented in these chapters would never discover their existence, except by accident or by word of mouth. Chemical Abstracts lists the book itself and says that it contains 471 pages, but there are no clues about the contents of the chapters, other than the title of the book. Chemical Abstracts searches for reviews on “Endohedral Fullerenes” or “Applications of Fullerenes,” for example, do not bring up this book as a hit, even though it contains recent scholarly surveys on both topics.
At the very least, it would be a great service to the chemistry community if at least the authors and titles of these individual chapters were listed individually in Chemical Abstracts. I have been in touch with Eva Wille, the Publishing Director for Scientific, Technical, and Medical books at Wiley-VCH, and she informed me that Wiley-VCH already assigns separate DOIs to the individual chapters in such monographs, so the infrastructure should be in place to permit abstracting of the individual chapters, at least in those books for which publishers assign separate DOIs, as Wiley-VCH does. When I asked Eva who I should contact at Chemical Abstracts, she gave me Bob Massie’s and Matt Toussant’s names and e-mail addresses. That is how I managed to spend an hour discussing this issue with Matt in August.
Thank you for bringing this issue up with the CCAS.
Response from Chris McCue, CAS:
CAS covers book chapters that are individually authored, when we have a book in hand. Coverage of the full books is sometimes problematic, especially if the book is a very expensive one, and somewhat also marginal to chemistry. In those instances, we cover the book as an announcement only, not at the chapter level. We are especially delighted to work with publishers to acquire their electronic records for book chapters, as we can then enable scientists and other CAS customers to link to those chapters at the publishers’ sites from SciFinder and STN, thus increasing the visibility and value of those books.