17.300 Public Library of Science launches PLoS Biology

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Oct 14 2003 - 01:42:38 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 300.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             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
    get both."

    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 bcohen@plos.org 415-624-1206 Public Library of Science

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