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PLoS makes scientific and medical research available to everyone

Page history last edited by Rosemary 11 years, 6 months ago

PLoS (the Public Library of Science) is a small but influential non profit and publishing organization with a mission to make the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely accessible public resource. All their peer-reviewed quality research and magazine articles are available for anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection, to read and share without the restriction of traditional subscription and pay per article publishing models – this is called Open Access.They publish seven online journals, many of them extremely highly regarded in the scholarly community.

Their central argument works like this – your tax dollars pay for research, shouldn’t you be able to read it without restriction? Today, some of the world’s largest research funders support public access. Last year, the NIH mandated the deposition of the research that it funds in a publicly accessible repository (called PubMed Central which has always been used by PLoS on behalf of its authors for just this purpose).

PLoS makes every effort to ensure that authors from the developing world can publish with them, their fee waiver program helps authors in these countries who can’t afford their publication fees and the effect of this policy is nicely visible in the diversity of geographic coverage of authors in titles such as PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

PLoS is also aware that making content freely accessible online in the developing world is not enough – many do not have a computer and for those that do, internet access can be a frustratingly slow or an impossible process. This is why PLoS has been working with AED-SATELLIFE for several years, providing them with content that they disseminate to health care workers using largely non web based techniques such as PDA’s, email chat forums and newsletters. Nearly 100,000 individuals in 120 countries share knowledge and build healthier communities thanks to their work. They have been using the freely accessible online research and magazine articles from PLoS Medicine in their e-newsletter called HealthNet News available to those who live in developing countries only.

Now, PLoS and AED-SATELLIFE have decided to work more closely together and bring PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases into the mix. In addition, they are going to be giving advance notice of upcoming articles to them so that they can pick the most appropriate content to share in their forums, both an overview of the article in plain English and a link to the full text of the whole article (available at no charge thanks to Open Access). They are promoting the new arrangements in the forums and hope that the additional content that we provide will stimulate debate and improve health care outcomes on the ground.

This is just one small step on the path to ensuring that PLoS content reaches as many people as possible in the developing world and they are delighted to have taken it. They would always like to hear from anyone who thinks that a strategic alliance with PLoS could broaden the availability of their content. Email.

If you’d like to help spread the word about Open Access, then you might be interested to know that PLoS also co-organizes Open Access Week and we would invite you to get involved.

Thanks to Liz Allen, Director of Marketing and Business Development at PLoS, for writing this piece for Hopebuilding at our invitation. The image accompanying the story is by

Brendan Bannon, source PLoS Medicine, November 2007. For Open Access Week, see http://www.openaccessweek.org


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