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Public Library of Science Poised to Launch Online Journals

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 16 - The Public Library of Science initiative, with a recent $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, will this week announce the creation of two peer-reviewed online journals for biology and medicine, the New York Times reported today.


The electronic journals will seek from authors approximately $1,500 for publishing an article online, according to the Times. The articles, upon publication, will be in the public domain.


The journals will begin publication in the second half of 2003, according to the Public Library of Science (PLoS) website.


The creation of the publishing venture appears to be the next move which began as an attempt by prominent scientists to force science publishers to make articles available in the public domain soon after publication and allow the online repository to be broadly searchable.


In 2001, PLoS announced a boycott of leading scientific journals and plans to begin publishing its own journals, which at the time it pegged for the fall of 2001, GenomeWeb reported.


"The only alternative is to create a way to publish our own journals," Michael Eisen of the Universityof California, Berkeleytold an audience at the 2001 International Conference on Intelligent Systems in Molecular Biology.


"We're drawing a line in the sand here," said Eisen. "A huge portion of the scientific community wants this, and the publishers ignore us at their peril."   


Since that declaration, Eisen has been joined publicly by other prominent members of the science community, including scientists who have agreed to serve as editorial advisors to the new journals. Those scientists, according to the PLoS website, include Pat Brown and David Botstein of Stanford University, David Lipman at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Harold Varmus of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Barbara Wold of the California Institute of Technology, and Sean Eddy at Washington University. Varmus will serve as the chairman of the publishing group, the Times reported.


Varmus, Eisen, and Brown founded PLoS in 2000, according to the organization's website.


In addition to a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, according to PLoS it has also received funding from the Irving A. Hansen Memorial Foundation and private donors.

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