A short item in the New York Times Magazine of April 17 (page 19) humorously addresses the problem of "Address Proliferation." The writer cynically observes that "stationery is becoming top- heavy." The item laments the passing of the good old days, when "all you needed was an address." Thanks to "E-mail mania," letterheads now are so cluttered with information that there is little room left for a message. The writer refers to the appearance of E-mail addresses--following that of long ZIP codes and fax numbers--as "the final insult."

Well, given the international science community's traditional reliance on print and telecommunications, and the rapid growth of the Internet to facilitate collaborative research, current realities make the Times complaint misguided. Until there are universally acceptable ID codes for each of us, we need all of these numbers. Throughout my career as a science communicator, I've consistently urged that all authors--no matter the...

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