Fri 26 Mar 2004
2004 Wired Rave Awards - "for cracking the spine of the science cartel"
Category : internet
For cracking the spine of the science cartel
€ Science: Public Library of Science: Michael Eisen, Harold Varmus & Patrick Brown
[Complete sub-article] - If science is a search for universal laws of nature, why do scientific journals copyright the papers they publish and charge as much as $20,000 a year for a subscription?
"It's insane that the scientific community has allowed publishers to limit the impact of our research," says UC Berkeley geneticist Michael Eisen. Starting in the late '90s, Eisen and two of his colleagues, Stanford molecular biologist Patrick Brown and Nobel Prize-winning oncologist Harold Varmus, tried to work with traditional publishers to make research more widely available on the Web, but the publishers wouldn't cooperate. So the three scientists devised an end run: the Public Library of Science. In October 2003, PLoS published the first open source, peer-reviewed journal, PLoS Biology.
The key concept is what Eisen calls "open access." PLoS posts new research online, making it available to everyone from high school students to scientists in the developing world. Authors agree to let anyone annotate, excerpt, link, and otherwise add value. And that's not all: Online readers pay nothing. Funders of research - usually government agencies - cover the cost of publication up front.
The goal isn't to put old-line publishers out of business but to force them to embrace open access. "We'd be happy if every publisher shifted to open access tomorrow," Eisen says. "But they're not going to do it on their own. The scientific community has to take matters into its own hands." - Ted Greenwald
THE OTHER NOMINEES
Charles Bennett astrophysics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Read the whole story in Wired Magazine, Issue 12.04 - April 2004
Fri 26 Mar 2004
Smelly purple water in Kranji canal
Category : news
Teh Jen Lee of The New Paper reports - Joseph Lai saw Kranji canal water turn purple more than once. Wondering about pollution, he took photos in 2003 as the canal ends in the Western Johor Straits, the same body of water that flushes the mangroves of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Jen Lee interviewed contractors working along the canal. 'Mr Chai Kuan Teck, 39, a foreman who often fishes at different canals, said: "Of all the canals, this is the smelliest. It's especially bad at low tide. The fish we catch also stinks so we can't eat it."'
'A spokesman for the National Environment Agency (NEA) explained that the purple discharge comes from a textile factory in the Kranji Industrial Estate. "The colour dye is organic in nature, is biodegradable and soluble in water. It is not toxic and is not harmful to aquatic organisms."
However, NEA said it had asked the textile factory to take further measures to minimise its discharge of dye.'
Thanks to Anand B. for the alert.