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Cheaper, quicker access to journal articles
for healthcare in developing world

New York/San Francisco, 22 March 2004: The Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Public Library of Science (PLoS),a San Francisco-based non-profit group of scientists and physicians campaigning for freely-available scientific and medical literature world-wide, have announced a new grants program to support open-access publishing in developing and transition countries. The grants will make it much easier for scientists based in developing and transition countries to submit articles to the premiere peer-reviewed research journals published by PLoS.

"Scientists in poorer countries have been virtually excluded from the journal publishing world," said Darius Cuplinskas, director of OSI's Information Program. "Open access journals will remove barriers and make these scientists full members of the international scientific community.

PLoS is a non-profit advocacy organization and a publisher of open-access journals, which are available free of charge online and are subsidized largely by author-side charges for publication. While this pay-to-publish system allows PLoS to make scientific and medical literature immediately accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection, many authors from developing countries cannot afford the fees. Now, scientists affiliated with the OSI-funded member institutions will be entitled to a waiver of publication charges for their articles in PLoS journals.

OSI's Information Program has been a strong supporter of the open access movement. Its Budapest Open Access Initiative, launched in 2002, advocates the support of two parallel strategies for the adoption of open access: self-archiving and open-access journals.

The OSI/PLoS Institutional Membership grants will target developing and transition countries. Authors from the least-developed countries will receive a waiver of publication charge upon request, a policy PLoS has had in place since the launch of its first journal, PLoS Biology, in October 2003. To ensure that ability to pay publication charges does not influence the review process, PLoS has a firewall in place to shield requests from all editors and reviewers.

The debate about open access has shifted recently. Doubts about its value have been replaced with doubts about its viability. "This commitment from OSI answers the question of how scientists in developing countries will be able to publish in our journals on a large scale," says Dr Helen Doyle, PLoS director of development and strategic alliances.

The complete list of countries and regions where institutions are eligible for the new memberships can be found on the right-hand side of this page.

More information about the grants is available at . The joint OSI-PLoS announcement follows the January 2004 launch of the PLoS Institutional Membership program. More information about the PLoS Membership Program is available at


Eligible countries and regions:

 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Cote d'Ivoire
 Czech Republic
 Serbia and Montenegro
 South Africa

PLoS to launch open-access medical journal

San Francisco, 5 May 2004: New discoveries about human health and disease will be made freely and immediately available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection - from physicians and researchers to patients and policy makers - in a new open-access medical journal, PLoS Medicine, to be launched in Autumn, 2004.

"Thanks to the Internet and new strategies for financing publication costs, it is now possible to share the results of medical research with anyone, anywhere, who could benefit from it. How could we not do it?" argued Dr Harold E. Varmus, Nobel laureate, former National Institutes of Health Director, and one of the co-founders of the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

Publishing opportunities   PLoS, a non-profit organization whose mission is to make reliable scientific and medical literature a public resource, formally announced today that it will publish PLoS Medicine, an open-access, international, general medical journal, beginning this fall. A call for papers has been issued and the journal is now accepting submissions.

PLoS Medicine will publish important peer-reviewed advances in all areas of medical research, including epidemiology and public health, together with summaries of all research articles written for non-specialists and features about international developments in medicine, controversial medical topics, neglected diseases, and other health-related subjects. All content in the journal will be freely available online and allowed to be reproduced worldwide for teaching, promoting awareness of new discoveries, and other purposes.

Worldwide recruiting  The prospect of an open-access alternative to the existing subscription-based prestigious medical journals has been welcomed by many in the health research and advocacy worlds. Already more than 75 physicians and researchers have been recruited to the editorial board of PLoS Medicine, ranging from an AIDS physician in Rwanda to the leader of a gene therapy unit in Paris to a cardiologist in Salt Lake City.

PLoS was founded in 2000 by Dr Varmus and colleagues Patrick O. Brown of Stanford University and Michael B. Eisen of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, USA. Last October, the organization launched its first open-access journal of peer-reviewed scientific research, PLoS Biology, whose content has been favorably reviewed by the New York Times, Le Monde, and countless other media outlets around the world.

'Strong case'  "The case for open access to medical research is even stronger than it is for basic research in biology. The National Institutes of Health in the United States alone spends over $28 billion on biomedical research. Everyone in the country - and around the world - should have access to the results of those studies," commented Joseph L. Goldstein, a member of the PLoS Medicine editorial board and Nobel Prize winner in medicine based at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

PLoS Medicine will be overseen by PLoS Senior Editors Barbara Cohen, former editor of Nature Genetics and former executive editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and Virginia Barbour, a physician and haematologist and former executive editor of the Lancet. Working closely with members of the editorial board and in consultation with the wider medical and health research community, they will develop an open-access forum for important studies and for discussion of medical research and practice in the broader context of global health and social responsibility.

Contact the editors: 

Barbara Cohen (US)
Telephone +1 415 624 1206;

Virginia Barbour (UK)
Telephone +44 1223 494 482;

For more information about the Public Library of Science, see

For more information about PLoS Medicine, see






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