Washington, Oct. 12 (Reuters): A new scientific journal that challenges the expensive heavyweights that have dominated the world of research hits the Internet tomorrow.
The journal, called the Public Library of Science Biology, is backed by leading scientists such as Harold Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health and now chief executive officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. They want to speed up the pace at which research is published, and also make it accessible to even the poorest of graduate students.
It will be available on the Internet at http://www.plosbiology.org. The non-profit group that backs PLoS is based in San Francisco and will launch a second journal, PLoS Medicine, next year.
The scientific journals that now control the world of scholarly publishing can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year. They usually require a lengthy “peer review” process in which experts raise questions about studies and suggest changes to written reports. Researchers complain the process takes too long and most journals require them to keep quiet about their research while it is in press.
But the journals, which include Nature, Science and hundreds of more specialised publications, virtually control the process by which scientific information is reported and shared.
“Scientists want their work to be seen and used,” Varmus, chairman of the PLoS board of directors, said in a statement.
“The outstanding science in the first issue of PLoS Biology shows that many scientists believe in open access and are willing to demonstrate their convictions by sending their best work to a brand-new and non-traditional journal.”
Among them are Miguel Nicolelis, who publishes a report on using brain implants that allowed monkeys to play a video game using only their thoughts.
“It was a very important point for us. It was a very clear statement,” Nicolelis said.
“We need wider, broader access for scientific data. People need to have more access, quicker and more affordable. Important results have to reach the community and society at large faster,” added Nicolelis, who has previously published his research in Nature, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science and other journals.