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Of the People, By the People

Big news in the science community today: the Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Max Planck Society announced that they'll be jointly launching a new, open-access scientific journal. The idea behind it is that it's based on feedback from scientists, and will be run by active scientists -- not the regular publishing model. According to the press release, "A team of highly regarded, experienced and actively practising scientists will ensure fair, swift and transparent editorial decisions followed by rapid online publication. The first issue of the journal, whose name has yet to be decided, is expected to be published in the summer of 2012." The groups are currently recruiting an editor-in-chief.

Over at his blog, Cameron Neylon says that "the slowness of the adoption of open access publication models by researchers is in large part down to terror that we have of stepping out of line and publishing in the 'wrong' journals." He calls this new journal the next "logical step." If the funding agencies are already paying for publication -- whether by helping fund library subscriptions or by paying for author fees -- then "why not actively support the formation of a new journal, properly open access, and at the same time lend the prestige that their names can bring?" Neylon writes.

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