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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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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


Charles Bennett astrophysics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Boldizsár Jankó physics, University of Notre Dame
J. Craig Venter Center for the Advancement of Genomics
Alessandro Vespignani theoretical physics, Université Paris-Sud
Copyright © 1994-2003 Wired Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.

Read the whole story in Wired Magazine, Issue 12.04 - April 2004

Posted at 3:05PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news