The San Francisco-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded a five-year, $9 million grant to the Public Library of Science — a nonprofit coalition of research scientists dedicated to making the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource — to start two online scientific journals that will provide free, open access to published results of scientific research.
To publish in PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, scientists will have to pay a modest fee so that PLoS can support the high editorial and rigorous peer-review standards of respected scientific journals. The model will allow PLoS to make all published works available online immediately with no charges for access or restrictions on subsequent redistribution. Scientists, physicians, students, and anyone interested in scientific research also will be able to search the full text of every published article on the site. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a major medical research organization with an $11 billion endowment, has endorsed the PLoS model and agreed to cover the publication costs for its 350 investigators whenever they publish in an open-access journal.
San Francisco-based PLoS was formed in 2000 by a group of biomedical research scientists and is led by Harold E. Varmus, president of the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, and a former Nobel laureate; Patrick O. Brown of HHMI and Stanford University; and Michael B. Eisen of the Lawrence Orlando Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley. In the last two years, the organization has collected the signatures of more than 30,000 scientists from 180 countries on a letter that calls for established scientific journals to open their archives.
"By making the published results of biomedical research available for free, and allowing them to be redistributed and used without restriction, these new journals will substantially increase the value — to both the scientific community and the public — of the tremendous investment our society makes in scientific research," said Varmus.