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Tuesday, June 20, 2006


There has been a lot of talk lately about PLoS ONE, an open access online journal based on the existing Public Library of Science (PLoS) format. PLoS ONE aims to be more inclusive, aiming to publish reports that are scientifically sound, without assessing importance.

This seems like a step in the right direction towards the dissemination of laboratory results. However, it is uncertain exactly what this will cost the authors:

From an interview of Chris Surridge, the managing editor of PLoS ONE, Richard Poynder reports:

RP: Will the article processing charges for PLoS ONE be the same as those applying to the journals, which I understand have just risen from $1,500, to between $2,000 and $2,500 per paper?

CS: Hopefully the rate can be lower. One of the driving forces of PLoS ONE is that we want to be able to publish lots of papers. To that end we are setting up the system in a completely scaleable way so that we can cope with as many papers as people want to publish with us. One of the advantages of doing so is that we can start getting economies of scale, and this will keep author fees as low as possible.

I wonder if this model can really support the open sharing of scientific information, when the barrier to contribution excludes anyone who is not well funded. I know that I would much rather spend $2000 on chemicals, lab equipment and students. But I would be very interested in a breakdown of how that money is spent to better appreciate the model.

So, for now, I still maintain that self-archiving is the way to go for the lowest barriers on both the sender and receiver sides.

Thanks to Glyn Moody for the link.


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