Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 300.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 06:38:38 +0100
From: Ross Scaife <scaife@UKY.EDU>
Subject: Public Library of Science launches PLoS Biology
Public Library of Science launches PLoS Biology
New open-access journal will increase access to scientific research and
speed scientific discovery
San Francisco, Oct. 13, 2003 The movement to provide free online access
to results of scientific and medical research took an important step
forward today with the launch of PLoS Biology the first open access
journal from the Public Library of Science (PLoS) publishers.
The inaugural issue, available online and in print today, features
peer-reviewed research articles on diverse topics--ranging from malaria
genetics to elephant evolution--authored by prominent scientists from
around the world.
PLoS Biology is an open access publication - all of these articles are
freely available via the Internet to anyone, anywhere to read, download,
print, distribute and reuse, so long as proper attribution of authorship is
"Scientists want their work to be seen and used," states Dr. Harold Varmus,
chairman of the PLoS Board of Directors and former Director of the National
Institutes of Health. "The outstanding science in the first issue of PLoS
Biology shows that many scientists believe in open access and are willing
to demonstrate their convictions by sending their best work to a brand-new
and non-traditional journal."
"Science thrives on the free flow of information," said Dr. Patrick O.
Brown of Stanford University and co-Founder of PLoS, "By removing
restrictions on the sharing of knowledge--ensuring that anyone, anywhere
can access the latest research findings--PLoS Biology will speed the pace
of scientific discovery".
Scientific publishing is an industry with revenues exceeding $10 billion
per year. The majority of existing journals restrict access to their
current issues to individuals or institutions who have paid often hefty
subscription or site-license fees. In order to make its content immediately
available at no cost and with no restrictions, PLoS Biology will use a
different business model. Authors of articles in PLoS Biology are asked to
pay $1,500 to cover the costs of carrying out peer-review, providing
editorial oversight, and managing production.
In the vast majority of cases, these costs (on average less than 1% of the
cost of conducting the research itself) will be borne by the funding
agencies and institutions that sponsored the research.
Strong support for open access publishing and the proposed business plan
has come recently from the world's two largest private funders of
biomedical research the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical
By publishing outstanding science from prominent scientists that would
otherwise have appeared in leading pay-for-access journals, PLoS Biology is
addressing an important cultural barrier to open access
publishing. "Scientists have always strongly supported the idea of open
access, but many have been reluctant to publish their best work in new open
access journals that lack the prestige of established journals like Science
or Nature," noted Michael B. Eisen, Ph.D. and co-founder of PLoS. "But with
the outstanding papers in the first issue of PLoS Biology and the issues to
follow, we believe we will have overcome this cultural obstacle. Scientists
will no longer have to choose between supporting open access and advancing
their careers by publishing in a prominent journal. With PLoS Biology they
Although PLoS Biology is using a new business model, it retains many of the
features of existing scientific journals. All research submissions are
subjected to a rigorous peer-review and selection process, overseen by a
team of leading scientists and outstanding professional staff at PLoS. Only
articles that make significant contributions to moving a field forward are
published in the journal. As noted by Vivian Siegel, Ph.D., executive
director of the PLoS, the promise is greater than locating research results
online. "The full text searches made possible by our open-access policy
will increase opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration among
researchers, speed scientific discovery and potentially save lives."
In addition, every primary research article will be accompanied by a
synopsis of the research, written in non-technical language to ensure that
readers from other disciplines or from the general public will be able to
understand the nature and significance of each report.
The Public Library of Science is a San Francisco-based non-profit
organization of scientists committed to making the world's scientific and
medical literature a public resource. PLoS began as a grass roots movement
within the scientific community in October 2000, when more than 30,000
scientists, including 13 Nobel Laureates, endorsed a change in the current
commercial, restricted-access publishing model. Increased awareness of
open-access publishing and the momentum of the open-access movement are
visible in the public statements of organizations as diverse as the
National Institutes of Health's Council of Public Representatives, the
Association of Research Libraries, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and
the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Start-up funding for PLoS
publications was provided by grants from the Gordon & Betty Moore
Foundation and the Irving A. Hansen Foundation. PLoS Biology and background
about PLoS can also be found at --www.plosbiology.org.
Click here for a Message from the Founders:
Click here for the inaugural Editorial:
Public release date: 13-Oct-2003
Contact: Barbara Cohen firstname.lastname@example.org 415-624-1206 Public Library of Science
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