Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) has announced that it has begun to abstract and index preprints, a new class of research report distributed on the Web in advance of or in lieu of formal publication. CAS has also announced that all 241 titles in the CA Selects series-the biweekly, subject-specific research bulletins that have been published in print form since 1976-are now available over the Web. The company has also announced the redesign of STN Easy, the Web service for searching selected files on the STN International network.
CAS will monitor preprint servers in chemistry-related fields and begin indexing preprints posted this year. Abstracts and indexing for preprints will appear in Chemical Abstracts (CA), CAplus, and associated databases. The information will be accessible through all CAS electronic search services, including SciFinder Scholar, STN International, STN Express, STN Easy, STN on the Web, and CA on CD. CAS will process preprints as it does articles in traditionally published journals. CAS document analysts, who are themselves scientists, will summarize the content in concise abstracts and provide detailed indexing to lead researchers to relevant studies. Preprints will be distinguished from journal articles and other documents by a special field code.
"CAS embraced the Internet and Web from the beginning as a groundbreaking new channel for scientific communication," said Matthew J. Toussant, CAS director of editorial operations. "Just as we have covered `electronic-only' journals for years, we will provide research pathways to this latest category of information exchange between scientists."
CAS will continue to apply its usual criteria in selecting documents for coverage in CA. Web preprints reviewed by CAS scientists are those that perform the following functions:
Report new information of chemical or chemical-engineering interest
Identify authorship, either personal or organizational
Are publicly available (whether free of charge, for a fee, or through subscription)
Are expected to have some relative permanence or continued accessibility through a citable electronic address
Are original publications
"CAS has always reflected the progress of research," said Toussant. "A significant number of studies are now appearing on Web preprint servers, and it is appropriate for CAS to include these records in the interest of providing the most comprehensive and current coverage of chemistry."
CAS interprets "chemical" literature broadly to include chemistry-related papers in neighboring disciplines such as biomedicine, physics, and many others. Beyond the strictly chemical preprints, CAS expects that many others appearing this year will meet CAS' subject criteria. Several thousand preprints in the chemical, biological/medical, materials, and environmental sciences are expected to be added to CAS databases this year. …