PLoS E-Newsletter for Institutional Members

Table of Contents

Public Access Mandate Made Law

President Bush signs omnibus appropriations bill, including National Institutes of Health research access provision:

December 26, 2007 — President Bush has signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007 (H.R. 2764), which includes a provision directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide the public with open online access to findings from its funded research. This is the first time the US government has mandated public access to research funded by a major agency.

The provision directs the NIH to change its existing Public Access Policy, which was implemented as a voluntary measure in 2005, so that participation is required for agency-funded investigators. Researchers will now be required to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine's online archive, PubMed Central. Full texts of the articles will be publicly available and searchable online in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.

"Facilitated access to new knowledge is key to the rapid advancement of science," said Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Nobel Prize Winner. "The tremendous benefits of broad, unfettered access to information are already clear from the Human Genome Project, which has made its DNA sequences immediately and freely available to all via the Internet. Providing widespread access, even with a one-year delay, to the full text of research articles supported by funds from all institutes at the NIH will increase those benefits dramatically."

For more information, and a timeline detailing the evolution of the NIH Public Access Policy beginning May 2004, visit the ATA Web site at

PLoS Year in Review

We would like to thank the many institutions and individuals who worked hard to support PLoS and OA in 2007. The transformation of scholarly communication is taking shape as we move beyond the debate of "Is OA feasible?" to "What are the possibilities for research with OA hypertext/semantic web content?"

PLoS Journal IMPACT Factor 2006

The 2006 impact factors were released in June, and PLoS journals once again did extremely well:

  • PLoS Biology, 14.1 (still top of the biology category)
  • PLoS Medicine, 13.8 (a tremendous increase from last year's 8.4)
  • PLoS Computational Biology 4.9 (top of the Mathematical and Computational Biology category)
  • PLoS Genetics, 7.7
  • PLoS Pathogens, 6.0

PLoS ONE Is One Year Old!

In 2007, PLoS ONE had over 3,000 papers submitted and over 1,300 published papers. These papers averaged about 150 activities per month, which include annotations, comments, ratings, etc. In addition to all this is the trackback feature as well as Journal Club participation.

The latest article with outstanding media coverage is Structural Extremes in a Cretaceous Dinosaur , which has received a huge and positive response by the news media and bloggers. The story was featured on the radio—on NPR's Morning Edition ('Mesozoic Cow' Rises from the Sahara Desert) —and on television—on ABC's Good Morning America.

Google had registered over 583 news reports and 1,855 blog posts about Nigersaurus (only three of which, unfortunately, were trackbacked to the article itself).

PLoS Updates and Information

Zotero Translator for PLoS Articles

The Zotero developers announced that Zotero is now compatible with all PLoS journals . What is Zotero? Zotero is a great Firefox extension that allows you to collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It works seamlessly in your browser and automatically collects metadata from an article, allowing you to create tags about the information and take notes. Best of all—it's free!

The new Zotero translator allows users to capture metadata and full-text PDFs of PLoS articles. Use Zotero with PLoS ONE and PLoS NTD articles, and it will automatically gather metadata information, including the authors of an article, abstract, volume/issue, and DOI. You'll need to download the latest Zotero 1.0.1 release to get the new PLoS translator.

The developers have created a huge number of translatorsfor libraries and universities around the world, as well as translators for Amazon and Flickr. Zotero also has integration with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice, so you can easily cite something from your Zotero collection. One of the Zotero team members is also working on a PLoS bibliographic style export, which should be released in the next version.

"Getting Started in…" Series by PLoS Computational Biology and ISCB

PLoS Computational Biology, in collaboration with ISCB, has launched a series: "Getting Started in…" The articles in this series provide essential introductory information for students and researchers aiming to start out in different areas of bioinformatics, computational biology, and genomics. Written by experts in the area, the articles can serve as a road map for quickly getting acquainted with a new field, or for learning about exciting new techniques in specific areas of computational biology.

We’ve already published the following:

Be sure to look for future upcoming articles, which include:

  • "Getting Started in Text Mining" by Kevin Cohen and Lawrence Hunter
  • "Getting Started in Biological Pathway Construction and Analysis" by Stuart Sealfon et al

Open Access News and Resources

ARL Publishes Open-Access Resources, SPEC Kit 300

This SPEC survey gathered information on whether and how ARL member libraries are selecting, providing access to, cataloging, hosting, tracking usage of, and promoting the use of open-access research literature for their patrons by using established library resources such as online catalogs and link resolvers. The survey results provide valuable information for those libraries interested in incorporating OA content into their collections.

The table of contents and executive summary from this SPEC Kit are available online.

Open Access: The New World of Research Communication

The University of Ottawa Library Network, in association with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), hosted Open Access: The New World of Research Communication. The PowerPoint presentations, webcast, and audio file are available at the CARL website together with Frequently Asked Questions about open access.

Kathleen Shearer, CARL Research Associate, moderated the session. In her introduction she described the origins and goals of open access and the barriers that the current subscription models create.

  • Stephen Choi, Co-Editor of Open Medicine, spoke on the philosophy and the rationale of Open Access

  • Christian Sylvain, Director of Policy, Planning, and International Affairs, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), discussed SSHRC=92s continuing support for open access; the issues and challenges OA faces, and possible future actions.
  • Michael Geist, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, discussed various instances of collaborative knowledge sharing and dissemination such as Alouette Canada, Creative Commons, and LibriVox, and he described ways through which barriers to open access can be removed.

The Importance of Student Engagement in Advancing Open Access - Jennifer McLennan, SPARC Director of Communications

Over the past year and a half, SPARC has had the opportunity to begin to collaborate with students and to work with them in the creation of a new educational campaign centered on Open Access. From what began as a series of introductions between SPARC, PLoS, and Students for Free Culture has emerged the beginning of a concerted nationwide effort to bring the student voice to bear on the issue of access to research.

The student dedication to all things open was first made clear to us when Students for Free Culture at NYU last year designated their annual regional meeting to Open Access, and invited SPARC, PLoS, and Science Commons to speak. The messages from the speakers were familiar, but the excitement and engagement of the audience – and the views they had to offer – were completely new. Law students were interested in addressing in detail potential applications for the different Creative Commons licenses and author addenda. Computer science undergraduates honed in on the relationship of Open Access to open software. We expected the meeting to be an introduction to Open Access for students, but it instead turned into a learning experience for us on the depth of the student commitment to making open sharing of information habitual - for everyone.

Student activity on Open Access grew throughout 2007. Students created a nationwide "Day of Action for Open Access," holding campus events to educate their peers on the importance of the issue; defended their stake in the discussion of access to research in the Washington Post; and helped launch a Web site, petition, and Facebook group in support of public access to publicly funded research. Regardless of their discipline, level of study, or the size of their institution, students across the country have made clear their commitment to all things open.

The potential that students clearly embody for shaping the future of scholarly exchange – as well as the hire of the first SPARC summer intern – inspired the genesis of the SPARC student campaign: The Right to Research: The student guide to opening access to scholarship. Developed in close collaboration with our student colleagues, the guide is a tool they will use to engage more of their peers.

Specifically, The Right to Research:

  • Helps students recognize the problem of access, saying they shouldn’t have to skip over research that could be important to their papers.
  • Introduces the principle of Open Access, making a clear distinction between the principle and the ways Open Access is being realized – through OA journals, repositories, and copyright management.
  • Indicates how Open Access can make life as a student easier, advance research, widen access to those who need it, and increase visibility for student scholars.
  • Offers ways to support OA that pertain both to graduate students approaching publishing decisions and to undergraduates who want to take up the OA banner.
  • The Right to Research is introduced on the heels of several student-centered SPARC initiatives, including: the December 2007 SPARC Innovator Profile, which highlights five student leaders as Agents of Change; the first Sparky Awards for best videos illustrating the value of information sharing; and the SPARC-ACRL forum at ALA Midwinter, which focused on student engagement.

    The Public Library of Science has been a key ally for SPARC in the conception and realization of the student engagement initiative. We'd like to extend thanks to everyone at PLoS for their support, especially Donna Okubo, Liz Allen, and Gavin Yamey.

    Please join us in inviting more students to the conversation on access. The Right to Research campaign encompasses a new SPARC brochure, a comprehensive Web site, a new blog for student perspectives, OA flyers, and much more. Visit the SPARC students Web site at to order or download these resources, to explore the student engagement timeline and bibliography, to identify speakers to visit your campus, and to view other recent SPARC student programs.

    The workshop "Working with the Facebook Generation: Engaging Student Views on Access to Scholarship," will be held at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia on January 12.

    3,000 Journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals!

    The Directory of Open Access Journals ( DOAJ ) contains 3,000 open-access journals, i.e., quality-controlled scientific and scholarly electronic journals that are freely available on the web.

    Every month, visitors from more than 160 countries are using the service, hundreds of libraries all over the world have included the DOAJ titles in their catalogues and other services, and commercial aggregators are benefiting from the service as well. The goal of the Directory of Open Access Journals is still to increase the visibility and accessibility of open-access scholarly journals and thereby promote their increased usage and impact.

    To create a sustainable financial foundation for the continued operation and development of DOAJ, the DOAJ Membership Program was launched. Their membership program has enabled DOAJ to employ more staff and maintain a high quality of service. Please support this valuable resource by becoming a DOAJ Member today!

    New PLoS Flyers, Presentation Slides, and More

    PLoS Out and About

    Date Location Event
    April 12-13 New Haven, Connecticut

    "Tackling The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): The Role of PLoS NTDs in Building Capacity" Gavin Yamey, MD, MRCP, Senior Editor, PLoS Medicine; Consulting Editor, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

    May 16-21, 2008Chicago, Illinois Connections: Bridging the Gap
    July 19-23, 2008Toronto, Canada The 16th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology

    Feedback or comments?

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

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