Debate on the PLOS initiative

From: Jim Till <till_at_UHNRES.UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002 10:43:33 -0400

Yesterday (June 28, 2002), I was a participant in a debate organized by
the graduate students in my home department at the University of Toronto
(see: ).

The proposition (selected by the students themselves) was that "The Public
Library of Science initiative is necessary to further scientific research
activities and enhance access to the scientific literature".

There were two teams, each composed of two students and one faculty
member. Because my interest in open access to the peer-reviewed research
literature was already well known to the organizer of the debate, I was
asked to participate on the negative side, not the affirmative side (it
was assumed that I'd be familiar with the arguments against the PLOS
initiative, as well as those in support of it).

Participants were provided with some background information in advance,
including links to the PLOS ( ), to
Peter Suber's FOS News (
), and to a copy of my letter, published in the Canadian publication
"University Affairs", and self-archived at:

It soon became apparent that only one of the six team members was _not_
strongly supportive of open access, so the debate was mainly about whether
or not the PLOS initiative is no longer necessary, because of other
initiatives, such as the BOAI (see: ) and
HINARI (see: and also: "Journals unite
to help poor countries",

The audience didn't vote to select a winning team (but my sense was that
the affirmative team would have won). There's little doubt in my mind,
however, that the debate did greatly increase the students' level of
interest in, and knowledge about, the Free Online Scholarship Movement and
some of it's various aspects.

Just another small step on the (I hope not too long) journey toward open

Jim Till
University of Toronto
Received on Sat Jun 29 2002 - 15:43:33 BST

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