PhysNet is an international effort to support the research, teaching and public understanding of physics to develop, establish, and maintain a high quality, relevant, global, coherent and synergetic communication and information set of services for physics.
PhysNet focuses on professional services to assure the free flow of information to support research, teaching and public understanding.
PhysNet complements the proprietary competitive services of commercial providers by those services where the free flow of professional information from and to scientists, teachers and the public is called for by the community.
PhysNet information and services are provided by professional individuals (researchers and teachers), Physics Research Groups, Physics Institutions and Departments at Universities, and by Physical Societies.
PhysNet is placed under the aegis of International Physics Organizations in the way, that the independence, freedom of information, professional quality of the services is assured to the community.
PhysNet is a not-for-profit activity of active physicists and their organisations, to serve research, teaching and the public with professional physics information.
Active contribution of information, services and their organization is open to any individual scientist, institution, or physical society.
Active contributions of physicists or their organization are voluntary, financing their own part by their own sources.
The responsibility for the correctness, professional quality, timeliness, integrity, and physics content lies with the individual contributors.
The co-ordination bodies are responsible for the co-ordination, checking and usage of international standards of individual services.
The organization of PhysNet is such that each active participant, institution, or society has the same balanced rights for its tasks.
The set of services and its organisation is distributed, among the information providers.
Information offered by PhysNet is free to access for anyone.
The international physics organizations are to organize and watch over the freedom of information, the use of international standards, and the unbiased balance of national interests. The distributed organization is assumed by national societies, individual members, and service providers.
Software written for PhysNet is free to be used by any Physicist, Physics Institution, or Society for the improvement of their information and services to PhysNet.
The organization is to reflect the aim of the distributed service set: little centralization, flexible, unbiased, not-for-profit, distributed.
The following institutional levels form the backbone of PhysNet
* The International Physics Organizations (called here IPS)
* Their joint Committees on Information and Communication (CIC)
* Its technical Advisory Board (TAB)
* Member Societies and Associations (SOC)
* individual members responsible to their local Information Coordinators, (IM)
* The Service Providers (SP)
4. Interdisciplinary Cooperation
PhysNet will cooperate with other professional fields in the Sciences.
5. International Standards
PhysNet will obey and implement accepted open international standards for the free flow, archiving, and search of information.
User-friendlyness, free access, open standards, and free flow of Physics information will be approached by adopting or developing methods, tools, and standards. PhysNet is be a system with the characteristics:
6.1.1 Individual PhysNet members or their local designated Internet coordinators make local information chosen by them available to PhysNet according to standardized principles.
This can be realized in installing a local personal home page with the use of the international standard of metadata according to Dublin Core embedded into the machine readable source code. These metadata name the type of content, form, terms and conditions of a document. They are in particular used for the automatic indexing, processing, and retrieval by search machines.
The layout is left free for individual purposes. PhysNet offers easy to use tools to achieve this.
The publications, or publication list of the individual PhysNet member is to be integrated into PhysNet by being linked to the local institution's collection of links to Physics documents and by adding metadata according to the international standards (DC) to it.
The layout is left free for individual purposes. PhysNet offers easy to use tools to add the metadata to individual publications, or papers.
6.1.2. PhysNet Institutions who join PhysNet are to
a) add structure information to their institution's home page by using metadata according to international standards (DC). The layout of the home page is left free. PhysNet offers easy to use tools to achieve this.
b) install sub-homepages with collection of links leading to all document or information on document collections, teaching material, staff information, student's information, respectively. The layout and concept is left free but the structure information is to be added according to international standards (DC) for search engines. PhysNet will offer easy to use tools to achieve this.
c) be encouraged to install and maintain a local gatherer which allows the individual institute to pick the information to be addressed by the worldwide PhysNet.
All physics information of PhysNet is kept, stored and maintained by its creators at their local institution's server. PhysNet members retain their ownership and copyright of their data. They agree to make the respective metadata available to the entire PhysNet services.
PhysNet gathers and processes available local information of Physics institutes to make them globally accessible. Searching for the information is provided by the PhysNet providers, which are distributed worldwide according to their expertise and interest. PhysNet is a distributed system with no bias to any center or nation.
Only open formats of information presentation are accepted to be part of the information processed by PhysNet servers. Special attention will be paid to assure a seamless integration to other learned fields information.
PhysNet aims at a simple and intuitive user interface, a powerful retrieval mechanism, useful tools for robust and simple input of documents and metadata.
6.5 High quality
PhysNet members commit themselves to offer high-quality professional physics information only. They stay responsible as physicists for their web-based content. Same holds for Physics institutions.
6.6 User driven
PhysNet is a grassroots activity driven by individuals and institutions. It is open to any interested professional physicist to enter as member, any physics institution to enter as an institution and any active group willing to develop and offer services. Its committees will assure the organization, the development, and the quality and unbiased nature of the whole service.
PhysNet activities are not-for-profit.
6.8 Open access
All interested professional physics institutions, groups and individual physicists can offer content or content information and can take part in the PhysNet activities.
Access to PhysNet information is open, free of charge.
All standards, recommendations developed within PhysNet will be made publicly available in the Web.
Programs of any service will be freely available as open source code to all partners in PhysNet to use for future services within PhysNet.
Development of the PhysNet will be pragmatic and on a step by step basis. New partners will sign the charter and enter the respective bodies alongside the existing partners.
Any partner that does not respect the undertakings in this charter may be removed from Physnet.
Signature of authorised person:
Partners by March 2002
In 2000, EPS and IMU (International Mathematical Union) have both signed a Co-operation Agreement as a first step to co-operation with other professional fields.
In March 2002, the following partners are supporting PhysNet:
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