PLoS E-Newsletter for Institutional Members

Table of Contents

PLoS Updates and Information

"Open Access: Taking Full Advantage of the Content," PLoS Computational Biology Editorial by Philip E. Bourne, J. Lynn Fink, and Mark Gerstein

This Journal and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) at large are standard bearers of the full potential offered through open access publication, but what of you, the reader? For most of you, open access may imply free access to read the journals, but nothing more. There is a far greater potential, but, up to now, little to point to that highlights its tangible benefits. We would argue that, as yet, the full promise of open access has not been realized. There are few persistent applications that collectively use the full on-line corpus, which for the biosciences at least is maintained in PubMed Central ( In short, there are no "killer apps." Since this readership, beyond any other, would seem to have the ability to change this situation at least in the biosciences, we are issuing a call to action.

New Managing Editor for PLoS ONE, Pete Binfield

Pete's originally a physical scientist, and obtained a PhD in optical physics at Aberdeen University. He then embarked on a career in publishing, beginning at the Institute of Physics Publishing, followed by stints at Kluwer Academic, Springer, and most recently at SAGE Publications. Pete's 13-year career in publishing covers a wealth of experience which includes commissioning books, all aspects of running journals, and business development. He said that the prospect of taking the lead editorial role on PLoS ONE was "tremendously exciting, at this important stage in the development of Open Access." Pete joins an expanding team for PLoS ONE, which reflects the steady growth in submissions (we hit 300 submissions for the first time in February), and will be sharing news about PLoS ONE and his plans for the future in the coming months.

"Progress toward Public Access to Science," PLoS Biology Editorial by Harold Varmus

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is about to cross an important threshold. Starting April 7th, the authors of research reports that describe work supported by the NIH will be required to deposit accepted manuscripts into PubMed Central (PMC), the NIH's public digital library of full-text articles, with the understanding that the articles will be freely available for all to view no later than 12 months after publication.

This is a landmark event from several perspectives. Most obviously, it further accelerates the world-wide movement toward greater access to the scientific literature, markedly increasing the number of articles freely available to read online. By taking this step, the NIH will join other funding agencies—including the Wellcome Trust, the UK Research Councils, the European Research Council, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute—all of which have recently required their investigators to deposit publications in PMC or equivalent public libraries, such as UKPMC, within six months to a year. Since NIH-supported investigators publish about 80,000 papers each year, many of them in journals that currently do not contribute their articles to PMC, the library will soon grow at about twice its already impressive rate. With an enlarged PMC, the virtues of full-text searches and ready access will be more obvious, encouraging still greater participation by authors of work not funded by the agencies that mandate deposition. As we all know, scientists want their work to be found, read, and cited.

NPR's SCIENCE FRIDAY Interviews Harold Varmus

Ira Flatow of Science Friday talks with former NIH director Harold Varmus, a leading proponent of open access to research and one of the founders of the Public Library of Science, an open-access scientific journal.

Hear the Podcast:

NIH Policy Information and Resources

See how Librarians and Their Institutions Provide Information on the NIH Policy.

See examples of universities that have created their own web sites to help NIH-funded authors.

SPARC/Science Commons guide to creating institutional OA policies.

OPEN DOORS AND OPEN MINDS: What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution .

Two-Minute Video: When Authors Retain Key Rights.

Libraries are invited to download the video as is or to adapt and customize for their needs: Using the video source files. Insert your logo and contact information, add examples from your faculty and their disciplines, or provide details about an author addendum used on your campus.

Library Journal Article. Periodicals Price Survey 2008: Embracing Openness.

"Global initiatives and startling successes hint at the profound implications of open access on journal publishing" By Lee C. Van Orsdel and Kathleen Born.

They have argued about it for years. It's been touted as the liberator of information that wants to be free, the arbiter of shared intellectual property rights, and an engine that can drive discovery, invention, cures, and economies. It has also been vilified as an assault on capitalism, a catalyst for the collapse of responsible publishing and the rise of junk science, and a naïve invention of some pointy-headed idealists who have no idea how the real world works. "It," of course, is open access (OA).

Evidence for open access as an emergent, global state of mind is everywhere. The New York Times went "open" last September, and the Wall Street Journal is slated to follow. Increasingly, scholarly communities are breaking with tradition and calling for the open sharing of research, software, and data. In amongst these global initiatives is the campaign to provide open access to the results of research that is funded with public dollars. That campaign has produced a series of startling successes in recent months, with potentially profound implications for the journal publishing industry.

PLoS Out and About

Date Location Event
May 20 -22, 2008Toronto, Canada Council of Science Editors (CSE)
  • The Role of Science Journals in Promoting Capacity Development in the Developing World (Follow-up from 2006 Meetings on Creating/Supporting Sustainable Societies) Gavin Yamey, Magazine Editor, PLoS Medicine & Consulting Editor,PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science; Phyllis Freeman, Professor Emerita, Law Center, CPCS (College of Public and Community Service) Senior Fellow, John J. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, Center for Social Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston; Anthony Robbins, Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, Boston; Theodore Wachs, Managing Editor, MRD Editorial Office, Centre for Development and Environment, Institute of Geography, Switzerland; Theodore Wachs, Moderator
  • How the Public Domain Will Revolutionize Science and Medicine (Open Access 2.0) John Wilbanks, Executive Director, Science Commons, Cambridge, MA; Ida Sim, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Informatics, University of California San Francisco, and Steering Committee, Global Trial Bank; Gavin Yamey, Magazine Editor, PLoS Medicine & Consulting Editor, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science; Gavin Yamey, Moderator.
May 16-21, 2008 Chicago, Illinois Connections: Bridging the GapThe Medical Library Assocition (MLA)
July 19-23, 2008 Toronto, Canada The 16th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology
November 11-15, 2008 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG)
December 7-11, 2008 New Orleans, Louisiana The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)

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