March 16, 2006

PLoS E-newsletter for Institutional Members

This issue of the Institutional Member E-newsletter features information on the newest addition to the PLoS family—PLoS Clinical Trials. Many of you have been asking questions about this new journal, so we thought this would be a good way to answer some of your questions. As you will see below, we are very excited about the research that this journal will feature but more importantly we know that this unique forum will also play an important role in transforming the publishing landscape.

Please assist us by sharing this information to others at your institution!

Table of Contents:

Frequently Asked Questions about PLoS Clinical Trials

Q: What is PLoS Clinical Trials?

A: PLoS Clinical Trials is the new online, open-access medical journal from the Public Library of Science (PLoS). The journal will peer-review and publish the results of randomized trials (RCTís) from all medical and public health disciplines. PLoS Clinical Trials will launch in May 2006; more information is available at

Q: Donít trials already get published? Why is a new journal needed?

A: RCTís provide an important source of evidence about the benefits and risks of different ways of treating, diagnosing, screening for, and preventing disease. Many journals already publish RCTís, for example, the major general medical journals, as well as more specialist publications. However substantial numbers of trials never appear in the peer-reviewed literature. Trials with "positive" results and statistically significant outcomes are more likely to get published, which biases the evidence base for decision-making in healthcare. PLoS Clinical Trials offers investigators a new way to publish their results. Editorial decisions will be based on whether a trial has been appropriately conducted and reported, not on the direction of the results.

Q: How does peer review work on PLoS Clinical Trials?

A: Submitted papers are assigned to at least one subject-specific reviewer as well as a statistical expert. The reviewers are asked to evaluate whether the analyses and interpretation are appropriate, and how well the trial has been conducted and reported. As long as the trial makes a contribution to the evidence and is properly reported, the journal will be in favor of publication. Each trial is published in a structured format which helps readers to understand the trial more clearly and authors to gain the most from publication.

Q: What can readers do with information published in PLoS Clinical Trials?

A: Each published trial report will be organized in a clear and uniform way, using the CONSORT guidelines to harmonize trial reporting. This standard structure will enable those appraising the evidence, such as systematic reviewers, to more clearly understand what was done in the trial and what the results mean. Readers (and the original authors) will be able to post comments and responses on published articles, allowing peer-review to be continued after publication of a paper. Finally, all articles are made available under an open-access license. Free distribution and re-use is allowed, and encouraged! Availability of the PLoS Clinical Trials archive in XML format will support mining of the literature and stimulate further research.

Q: Who benefits from PLoS Clinical Trials?

A: Both the public and patients will gain from access to a literature that is often closed to them. To help non-specialist readers understand more about the trials we publish, an editorial commentary will be available alongside each report. This summarizes, for a general audience, the trialís findings, strengths and limitations, and what it adds to the evidence. Research and practice of evidence-based medicine will also benefit; results that otherwise might not have been available will be in the public domain, and in a form that allows their quality and significance to be easily evaluated.

Q: What can I do to help others at my institution access PLoS Clinical Trials?

A: Add the journalís banner to your libraryís Web pages. Include PLoS Clinical Trials in your library catalogue or holdings list. If you have a separate directory of open-access resources, include the journal there. Please forward these FAQs onto faculty members or researchers at your institution who might be interested.

From the Journals

ISMB 2006 Conference Ė Special PLoS Track
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is proud to introduce the PLoS Track of oral presentations at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) 2006 Conference in Fortaleza, Brazil (Aug 6-10, 2006) The PLoS Track, chaired by Steven Brenner, Barb Bryant, and Junior Barrera, will include 25-30 oral presentations of late-breaking research in parallel to the presentation of full papers during the four days of the scientific session. The review and selection of the one-page abstracts for oral presentation only at the meeting will be guided by Editorial Board members of PLoS Computational Biology. Deadline for submission to the PLoS Track is May 1, 2006.

PLoS Receives Cool Site Award

The PLoS Web site has received the San Francisco Exploratorium's "Ten Cool Sites" Award for Educational Excellence.

HELP Spread the Word—NEW! PLoS Downloadables

Include them in your e-mail, on your Web site and display them in your Libraries!

PLoS Journal Flyers
New flyers include: "Journalist's Choice" and "Career Ladder"

Updated "Call for Papers" Poster
If you want it customized with your institutionís name and publication discount, please contact me at

Recent "PLoS Journals in the News" (from Google News)

A new feature on our PLoS Web site is the News and Events page containing hyperlinks to Google's search engines. Google will search the Web for publications that recently mentioned the PLoS journal that you select. Give it a try!

See a sample of how others use articles about PLoS: Reports—Two PLoS Medicine Articles Featured
Provides three daily online reports—summaries of news stories with links to the original articles and a fully searchable archive.

  • "Cost-Effectiveness of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa," Motasim Badri of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town

  • "Is Antiretroviral Therapy Cost-Effective in South Africa?" R. Scott Braithwaite of the Department of Medicine at Yale University and Joel Tsevat of the Department of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati

Recent Creative Reuse of PLoS Materials

All content in PLoS journals are immediately freely available online under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which allows reproduction, distribution, derivative works, and commercial use as long as the source of the content and terms of the license are properly cited.

Ten thousand Members of the European Cancer Community Will Receive PLoS Article
An essay in PLoS Medicine, "When Clinical Trials Are Compromised: A Perspective from a Patient Advocate" is being reproduced by Cancer World, the scientific magazine of the European School of Oncology that is distributed to over 10,000 members of the European cancer community as well as being available free of charge online at

The World Health Organization Puts PLoS Article on CD for Distribution
A neglected diseases article from PLoS Medicine, "Rapid-Impact Interventions: How a Policy of Integrated Control for Africaís Neglected Tropical Diseases Could Benefit the Poor" is being put on a CD that the World Health Organization (WHO) is distributing free of charge. The target audience for the CD includes Ministries of Health, district and hospital managers; management, medical, nursing and paramedical training institutions; and non-governmental organizations in developing countries, particularly where Internet access remains limited or non-existent.

PLoS Out and About

April 1-5, 2006, San Francisco, CA
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Come visit us at booth #238 on April 3rd and meet the Editors from (12-4)

April 21-22, Lund, Sweden
The 1st European Conference on Scientific Publishing in Biomedicine and Medicine

April 24-25, Lund, Sweden
Third Nordic Conference on Scholarly Communication
Beyond Declarations—The Changing Landscape of Scholarly Communication
Mark Patterson, Director of Publishing, will present on a panel titled "Open Access Infrastructure"

April 29-May 2, 2006, San Francisco, CA
Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting
Come visit us at our booth!

May 19-24, 2006, Phoenix, AZ
Medical Librarians Association (MLA)
Come visit us at our booth!

May 22nd, 2006, Tampa, FL
Council of Science Editors Annual Meeting
Open Knowledge and Human Welfare
Calestous Juma (PLoS Board of Directors)
Professor of the Practice of International Development
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

August 13-18, 2006, Toronto, Canada
Come visit us at our booth!

August 31- September 3, 2006, Asuncion, Paraguay
Spanish: 2006 FELSOCEM Annual Meeting
English Translation (via 2006 FELSOCEM Annual Meeting
FELSOCEM is the Latin American Federation of Medical Student Scientific Societies
Gavin Yamey, PLoS Medicine, Magazine Editor, will hold a workshop on open access and on medical writing

Open Access News and Resources

Reshaping Scholarly Communication
Galen Digital Library, University of California, San Francisco

Open Access Program: SPARC
A resource for librarians and administrators creating events to promote open access among faculty members. Why recreate the wheel!

Feedback or Comments?

We would love to hear from our Members! Contact Donna Okubo, Institutional Relations Manager, at

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