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Re: Publications & Subscriptions (was RE: Norell et al. 2002 reference)

Address problem held this back -- MPR

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Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 19:05:50 +0000
To: Dinosaur@usc.edu
From: Gautam Majumdar <gautam@freeuk.com>
Subject: Re: Publications & Subscriptions (was RE: Norell et al. 2002 reference)

"Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@geol.umd.edu> wrote
>No non-scientist should subscribe to Nature or Science, unless you've got
>cash to burn. Heck, I just read the University's copies (or now the online
>version). For every 2 pages of paleo you get something like 100 pages of
>non-paleo material, be it research in dozens of other fields, news, reviews,
>classifieds, ads, etc.
>In fact, my general advice is don't subscribe to anything until you've seen
>an issue or two of it yourself. Then you can be the judge. Please
>remember, technical journals are technical; they do not hold back on the
>terminology (nor should they; they are written by the professionals for the
>professionals. It is where science is done!). If you aren't willing to shell
>out great wads of cash for articles that are full of jargon and low on
>interpretation, then don't subscribe.
>The best of all possible worlds is to be near a university or museum
>library, where you can xerox just the stuff you need.
>Anyone else have some thoughts on this?

I would beg to differ. Because these two journals are broad based with 
lots of reviews, news, comments, etc., they are ideal for the people who 
wish to keep up with recent progress in multiple fields. It is not 
possible for everybody to live close to a University library. I live 40 
miles from the nearest one and after 9 to 5 plus on-calls have no time 
to travel up and down to scan the journals. I subscribe to journals in 
my own professional field plus the broad based journals (Nature & 
Science, actually) through which I can keep up with other fields of my 
amateur interest, including palaeontology and dinosaurs in particular.

Most of the professional journals now allow viewing the abstracts on the 
web. This is a great benefit to persons such as me with limited time for 
keeping in touch with the subjects outside my own professional field. 
Scanning through them might give a good idea for which journals would be 
worth subscribing, if one wishes to get technical journals. I often find 
that the abstracts are the easiest part of an article to understand as 
they contain lesser jargon compared to the main body, specially the 
material and methods section, most informative as they summarise the 
findings, and usually the only bit I get time to read.

Just my thoughts :-)

Gautam Majumdar
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