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Developments in the PDB Newsletter

Submitted Articles

In the future, the RCSB PDB newsletter will carry submitted articles, such as Gilbert, Westhead, and Thornton’s article in this issue.

Our publication policy is that submitted articles have a clear scientific or news content that is of interest to PDB users. Example article topics include databases for structural biology, software and new calculation methods for structure determination and analysis, and the results of structure analysis. News of importance to users of the PDB includes announcements of new databases and resources for the user community, releases and updates to software for structure determination or analysis, and policy changes by major funding agencies. Articles from commercial vendors will be considered for publication provided that they conform to these guidelines. Pieces that appear to be purely advertising (whether from a commercial or academic source) will not be published.

Articles for the PDB newsletter may be submitted by e-mail at any time to John Badger at badger@sdsc.edu in plain text form. These articles will be circulated for review by members of the RCSB PDB; external reviewers may also be called upon if necessary to evaluate articles. Questions regarding the appropriateness of an article or other issues related to publication in the PDB newsletter should also be submitted to John Badger.

Publication of a submitted article in the PDB newsletter will not in anyway constitute an endorsement of the materials it contains, and any views expressed in submitted articles are considered solely those of the authors.

Newsletter Distribution

The RCSB PDB newsletter is currently distributed electronically (HTML, PDF and plain text formats) as well as by postal mail to maintain all of the channels of communication that had previously been provided by BNL’s PDB newsletter.

Our Web site archives the HTML and PDF versions of the newsletter. We believe that the Web is the most convenient and accessible source for most PDB users. The HTML version provides quick access, while the PDF version offers high quality and easy printing. This PDF formatted version also provided the basis for creating our own printed copies.

The newsletter is also distributed as a plain text e-mail message, since this provides a channel with low bandwidth and instant communication. The current e-mail distribution list now contains approximately 550 recipients and is still growing. A form for subscription to the e-mail distribution list is available at http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/forum.html. Alternatively, you may subscribe by e-mailing the message "subscribe news" (without quotation marks) to majordomo@rcsb.org.

At the present time, printed copies of the RCSB PDB newsletter are also mailed to addresses on a subscription list that was provided to us by BNL. This list contains almost 600 addresses for individual scientists and institutions.

At a time when many journals are moving away from print towards electronic distributions, it is appropriate to reconsider the necessity of the printed mailings of the PDB newsletter. For example, a recent article in Nature, devoted considerable discussion to the future and the survival of printed journals in the biological sciences (Nature, Vol 397:195-200). As a concrete example of the changes that are beginning to take place, the Biophysical Journal has moved to an electronic distribution for Biophysical Society members.

We will use our participation in scientific meetings over the next few months as an opportunity to survey PDB users on the level of interest in maintaining the hard copy distribution to individual subscribers and to determine ways in which our other distribution channels might be improved.