Re: Update on Public Library of Science Initiative

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 18:08:08 +0100

      [Excerpt from] Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      August 31, 2001

Public Library of Science (PLoS) deadline tomorrow

Remember that the PLoS deadline is tomorrow, September 1. That means that
starting tomorrow, the 26,000+ worldwide signers of its public letter are
committed to avoiding journals which do not put their contents online free
of charge within six months of print publication.

In a letter sent out today (which I've forwarded to our discussion forum),
the original eight signers point out that there are more signers producing
research articles than compliant journals to publish them. The number of
PLoS-compliant journals is about six. The exact number depends on how
strictly one interprets compliance, but no matter how one interprets it,
the number is small. Hence it appears that one PLoS strategy for moving
forward will be to encourage the development of new (free online) journals.

This will be the real breakthrough. We never had to wait for the existing
journals to see the light, consent to FOS, or change their policies. We
always had the option to create new journals. For journals publishing
online, and dispensing with a print edition, the chief obstacle is to find
respected and motivated scholars willing to serve on the editorial
boards. The PLoS initiative has convened a very large number of them. A
related problem is giving scholars an incentive to publish in online
journals when print journals have more prestige, and when career pressures
mean that increased readership and impact do not offset the loss of
prestige. Again, the PLoS has gathered a large number of researchers who
not only have the incentive, but who have taken a pledge.

The technical problems have long since been solved. For PLoS signers, the
significant political problems have also been solved. Let's see what
happens. As new FOS journals come online, publishing good articles in good
numbers, and charging no subscription fees, I wonder how long it will take
for the number of PLoS compliant journals to rise from six to six hundred.

Public Library of Science


This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to interested colleagues. If
you are reading a forwarded copy of this issue, you may subscribe yourself
by signing up at the FOS home page or the FOS Newsletter page.

FOS home page, general information, subscriptions, editorial position,
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FOS Newsletter, subscriptions, back issues

FOS Discussion Forum, subscriptions, postings

Guide to the FOS Movement

Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber

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Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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