PLoS E-Newsletter for Institutional Members

Table of Contents

PLoS Article-Level Metrics

We have recently expanded the set of article-level metrics on our scientific and medical journal articles (some 15,000 articles across seven titles). The article-level metrics program was launched in March 2009, and now with the addition of online usage data, the Public Library of Science (PLoS) is transparently providing an unprecedented set of information on every published article. Such information will be of value to researchers, funders, administrators, and anyone interested in the evaluation of scientific research.

The PLoS article metrics include new online usage data (HTML page views, PDF downloads, and XML downloads), as well as citation counts, comments, ratings, social bookmarks, and blog coverage. Usage data will be updated daily and currently includes more than four years of statistics from all seven peer-reviewed PLoS journals. With this growing and detailed set of metrics on every article, PLoS aims to demonstrate that individual articles can be judged on their own merits rather than exclusively on the basis of the journal in which they are published.

Because very few data have previously been made public by scholarly publishers, visitors to the journal sites will need help to understand these data. For example, it is clear from the PLoS data that online usage is dependent on the age of the article, as well its subject area. In order to place this usage data in context, PLoS is therefore providing summary tables to allow users to see how an article compares with various average measures. For anyone wishing to examine the data in detail, the raw dataset is also available as a download.

PLoS is still in the early stages of the article-level metrics program, but this is the first attempt by a major publisher to place such a broad range of data on every one of its articles. PLoS therefore hopes that the provision of the data will encourage other publishers to make such data available, which will lead ultimately to broader improvements in scholarly communication and research assessment.

Further information can be found in this blog ( and these Frequently Asked Questions; alternately, you can direct your specific question to

To see examples of articles with a broad range of article-level metrics, look at the "Metrics" tab of and

View A User-Made Video about PLoS Article-Level Metrics
Dr. Alan Cann, School of Biological Sciences, University of Leicester, produced this very informative video on how to use PLoS article-level metrics. Take a look!

Open Access Updates

Five of the Nation's Premier Institutions Of Higher Learning— Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley— Have Announced Their Joint Commitment to a Compact for Open-Access Publication

By Harvard University Library, September 14, 2009
Open-access scholarly journals have arisen as an alternative to traditional publications that are founded on subscription and/or licensing fees. Open-access journals make their articles available freely to anyone, while providing the same services common to all scholarly journals, such as management of the peer-review process, filtering, production, and distribution.

According to Thomas C. Leonard, university librarian at UC Berkeley, "Publishers and researchers know that it has never been easier to share the best work they produce with the world. But they also know that their traditional business model is creating new walls around discoveries. Universities can really help take down these walls and the open-access compact is a highly significant tool for the job."

The economic downturn underscores the significance of open-access publications. With library resources strained by budget cuts, subscription and licensing fees for journals have come under increasing scrutiny, and alternative means for providing access to vital intellectual content are identified. Open-access journals provide a natural alternative.

As Dartmouth Provost Barry P. Scherr sees it, "Supporting open-access publishing is an important step in increasing readership of Dartmouth research and, ultimately, the impact of our research on the world."

Since open-access journals do not charge subscription or other access fees, they must cover their operating expenses through other sources, including subventions, in-kind support, or, in a sizable minority of cases, processing fees paid by or on behalf of authors for submission to or publication in the journal. While academic research institutions support traditional journals by paying their subscription fees, no analogous means of support has existed to underwrite the growing roster of fee-based open-access journals.

See the full text of the announcement or view the Q&A with compact author Stuart Shieber.

For more information, contact:

Cornell -- John M. Saylor, or 607.255.4134

Dartmouth -- Elizabeth E. Kirk, or 603.646.9929

Harvard -- Peter Kosewski, or 617.495.7793; or Josh Poupore, or 617.495.1585

MIT -- Patti Richards, or 617.253.2700

UC Berkeley -- Thomas Leonard, or 510.642.3773

PLoS Biology Perspective: Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing

In a recent PLoS Biology Perspective, Stuart Shieber writes that ". . . open-access journal publishing is currently at a systematic disadvantage relative to the traditional model. A simple, cost-effective remedy to this inequity that would put open-access publishing on a path to become a sustainable, efficient system, allowing the two journal publishing systems to compete on a more level playing field. The issue is important, first, because academic institutions shouldn't perpetuate barriers to an open-access business model on principle and, second, because the subscription-fee business model has manifested systemic dysfunctionalities . . ."

To read the full article, please see

"Testing the Waters with Open-Access Funds" (University of California at Berkeley and the University of Calgary)

In a move to encourage researchers to make their work open to the public, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Calgary established funds that faculty and graduate students could use cover publication charges for open-access journals. Berkeley and Calgary are two of several funds established in recent years, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the University of Oregon, and other sites in the U.K. After a year of implementation in Calgary and Berkeley, librarians at these universities are reviewing their efforts and are pleased to report on the results.

ALPSP Award for Publishing Innovation 2009— "Bold and Successful and Shaping the Future of Publishing"

On Sept 10, 2009, the annual awards of the Association of Learning and Professional Society Publishing (ALPSP) were announced at their href="">International Conference Dinner at the Oxford Belfry. We are extremely proud to say that PLoS ONE was presented with the 2009 Award for Publishing Innovation.

A New Web Site for the Rapid Sharing of Influenza Research— PLoS Currents: Influenza

PLoS Currents: Influenza is built on three key components: a small expert research community with whom PLoS is working to run the Web site; Google Knol, with new features that allow content to be gathered together in collections after being vetted by expert moderators; and a new, independent database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) called Rapid Research Notes, where research targeted for rapid communication, such as the content in PLoS Currents: Influenza, will be freely and permanently accessible. To ensure that researchers are properly credited for their work, PLoS Currents content will also be given a unique identifier by the NCBI so that it is citable.

The key goal of PLoS Currents is to accelerate scientific discovery by allowing researchers to share their latest findings and ideas immediately with the world's scientific and medical communities. Google Knol's features for community interaction, comment, and discussion will enable commentary and conversations to develop around these findings. Given that the contributions to PLoS Currents are not peer-reviewed in detail, however, the results and conclusions must be regarded as preliminary. In time, it is therefore likely that PLoS Currents contributors will submit their work for publication in a formal journal, and the PLoS journals will welcome these submissions.

PLoS Currents: Influenza is an experiment and a prototype for further PLoS Currents sites. It reflects our commitment to using online tools to the fullest extent possible for the open sharing of research results. As with any new project, we will be listening carefully to the reactions within and beyond the scientific and medical communities and welcoming suggestions for improvements.

Open Access— Take Action!

Call to Action: Tell Congress You Support the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.1373)

On June 25, 2009, Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.1373), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies. S.1373 would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability and public accessibility, and have provisions for long-term archiving.

The bill specifically covers unclassified research funded by agencies including: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

S. 1373 reflects the growing trend among funding agencies— and college and university campuses— to leverage their investment in the conduct of research by maximizing the dissemination of results. It follows the successful path forged by the NIH's Public Access Policy, as well as by private funders like the Wellcome Trust, and universities such as Harvard and MIT.

See detailed information about the Federal Research Public Access Act.

SPARC OA Initiative Kit

If you're considering a campus open-access policy, or already have one in development, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is here to help. SPARC has coordinated with open-access policy leaders and experts to develop this new set of resources to support data-driven, community-engaging, and successful open-access policy development at institutions everywhere. Please explore and let us know how we can support you.

Open Access Week 2009

Don't forget to take pictures or video clips of your event and post them online! Be sure to tag them as OA Week 2009.

Post Your Event in the Open Access Directory (OAD)

Inspire others by sharing with the community what you'll be doing on OA Week— the 2009 participants are ready and waiting to receive your information (first register using the contact form).

PLoS Out and About

Date Location Event
October 7-8, 2009 Germany

Open Access Days at the University of Konstanz

November 1-5, 2009 Charleston, North Carolina, USA

Peter Binfield, Managing Editor of PLoS ONE, will be speaking about Article-Level Metrics at the Public Library of Science.

This presentation will discuss the motivations for establishing this program, explain what data sources are being captured and how it is being done, provide basic information on the results observed to date, and explain the next steps that PLoS will be taking to expand this program. The session will be of interest to both publishers and librarians.

November 18-22, 2009 Washington, D. C., USA

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 58th annual meeting

Booth #501. Drop by and say hello!

January 15-17, 2010 Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA


Feedback or comments?

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

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