October 15, 2003

Free, Open Access Science Publishing Debut

Avoiding the high cost and publication delays of traditional scientific journals is the goal of The Public Library of Science with their new online journal PLoS Biology: Open-Access Journal. Soon to follow will be another open-access journal called "Public Library of Science Medicine". "Our goal, however, is not simply to provide a free online journal," say the publishers, "Our goal is to create a potent scientific and public resource. As more open-access articles become available, we and many others will be working to develop new tools for integrating, interlinking, organizing, searching, and annotating this expanding collection of information. We invite the community to share these tools as they become available on our site, as well as to propose tools, links, and techniques that would make this treasury of scientific information more useful." "PLOS Biology - We're Open" (Read more ... )

In an introductory editorial, the editors address the innovator's dilemma faced by those confronting the high-cost model of traditional academic publishing:

"The opposition of most established journals to open access has left it to new journals like PLoS Biology and BioMed Central's Journal of Biology to lead the way. These new journals face a double challenge. First, we are introducing an unfamiliar model—open-access publication. Second, any new journal, even one with the stringent standards and the extraordinary editorial team of PLoS Biology, must begin without the established “brand name” of the older journals, which, like a designer logo, elevates the perceived status of the articles that bear it. With all that is at stake in the choice of a journal in which to publish—career advancement, grant support, attracting good students and fellows—scientists who believe in the principle of open access and wish to support it are confronted with a difficult dilemma. We applaud the courage and pioneering spirit of the authors who have chosen to send to a fledgling journal the outstanding articles you will read in the premiere issues of PLoS Biology. In the end, it's the contributions of these authors that will make PLoS Biology a success." Editorial: Message from the Founders - Why PLoS Became a Publisher

Among the articles in the Table of Contents of the initial issue are:
Nine full-scale Research Articles and over a dozen shorter submissions, including Synopses, Primers, one in a "Journal Club" section for students' submissions.

A sample of topics:

  • Research Article: Drosophila Free-Running Rhythms Require Intercellular Communication
  • Synopsis: Mathematical Modeling Predicts How Proteins Affect Cellular Communication
  • Essay: Neuroscience Networks - Data-sharing in an Information Age
  • Feature: Digital Evolution

    An excerpt from "Neuroscience Networks"
    "Scientific publication, as we have known it in print, is slow and expensive, with access limited to those with either the funds to purchase an individual subscription or the proximity to a library with an institutional subscription. Data-sharing also means open-access publishing so that data, whether from mapping efforts or from hypothesis-driven experiments, become available quickly and freely to the scientific community. As we emerge from the “decade of the brain,” we are entering a decade for which data-sharing will be the currency for progress in neuroscience. Efforts driven by collaboration, coordination, and computation should yield the data, tools, and resources that neuroscientists will need in the coming decades. We hope that new electronic publications with open access will accelerate this change and provide the vehicle for disseminating the most exciting discoveries in neuroscience in a rapid, respected, and ready format."

    A nonprofit scientific publishing organization, PLOS is made possible by a $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and in-kind support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. It plans to provide scientists with quality, peer-reviewed and edited journals for their important work and to make the contents available for others to read, distribute, or use in research. Its material is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution License.


    Posted by dougsimpson at October 15, 2003 09:09 AM | TrackBack
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