Launch of a New Online Journal PloS Medicine
On Wednesday, October 27 the Public Library of Science launched its new online journal entitled PloS Medicine. The journalís release was greeted with both excitement and skepticism as PloS Medicine breaks new ground as the first international open-access journal.
Open-access is an innovative new concept that allows readers to view all the content of the journal without paying a subscription fee. The goal is to allow everyone, from researchers and doctors to interested members of the public, to be able to quickly obtain the latest research in medical science.
The journal's stream of funding is unusual in the publishing world. Instead of treating a scientific paper as a commodity to be purchased by anyone who wants to read it, PloS views itself as providing the service of distribution. Therefore, authors are charged a one-time fee when their work is selected for publication.
Present via video to endorse the launch of PloS Medicine and the concept of open access was the Director of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention Julie L. Gerberding. Dr. Gerberding applauded the journal as an efficient means to rapidly share new knowledge in a world where disease looms just one plane ride away. Patricia Furlong, a mother of two sons with Muscular Dystrophy, also spoke at the launch describing the trouble she faced as a common citizen trying to access information about her sonsí condition. She advocates open access as a way to empower patients and their families to learn more about treatment options and take control of their health.
Some critics of the open access system argue that it may be dangerous to place technical research findings in the hands of the untrained public. For this reason, each PloS Medicine article is followed by a Patient Summary which translates complicated information for lay readers and provides helpful Internet links to facilitate exploration of the topic in greater detail.
In addition to open access, PLoS Medicine aims to be the first truly international journal. The Editorial Board consists of members as far and wide as Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Kigali, Rwanda. In line with the journal's mission to widely disseminate research PLoS also aims to showcase the work of a greater proportion of scientists throughout the international community. Vivian Siegel, the Executive Director of the Public Library of Science hopes that by increasing the presence and reach of PloS Medicine other publishers will be encouraged to consider open-access of their own journals.
You can link to the first issue of PloS Medicine by clicking here.
Please take note of the special section entitled The PloS Medicine Debate with addresses whether or not health professionals should screen all women for domestic violence.