Intended for healthcare professionals


Open access publishing takes off

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1
  1. Tony Delamothe, web editor,
  2. Richard Smith, editor
  2. BMJ

    The dream is now achievable

    You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side. The great social forces which move onwards in their might and majesty, and which the tumult of our debates doesnot for a moment impede or disturb - those great social forces are against you; they are marshalled on our side; and the banner which we now carry in this fight, though perhaps at some moment it may droop over our sinking heads, yet it soon again will float in the eye of heaven, and it will be borne… perhaps not to an easy, but to a certain and to a not distant victory.

    W E Gladstone, 1866.

    For supporters of open access publishing, these are heady times. Over the past year the campaign to make the full text of original research articles freely available via the world wide web has made rapid progress (box).

    Its most tangible sign was the publication of PLoS Biology, which is favourably reviewed elsewhere in the journal (p 56).1 It's the first foray into publishing by the pressure group the Public Library of Science, which aims “to catalyze a revolution in scientific publishing by providing a compelling demonstration of the value and feasibility of open-access publication.” If its revolution succeeds “everyone who has access to a computer and an Internet connection will be a keystroke away from our living treasury of scientific and medical knowledge.”2

    While PLoS Biologyregards Cell, Nature, and Scienceas its natural competitors, PLoS Medicine, scheduled for publication this autumn, will be going head to head with general medical journals.

    The Public Library of Science charges authors $1500 (£851; €1207) per accepted article to cover the costs of processing the articles (peer review and technical editing) and electronic distribution. …

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