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SPARC and PLoS Partner to Advocate for Open Access Publishing - Press Release

"SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources
Coalition), an academic and research libraries initiative, today announced
its partnership with the Public Library of Science (PLoS), the
groundbreaking organization of scientists and physicians committed to
making scientific and medical literature freely available on the public
Internet. The alliance aims to broaden support for open-access publishing
among researchers, funding agencies, societies, libraries, and academic
institutions through cooperative educational and advocacy activities."
[Press release posted to Liblicense-L]

"PLoSís first journal, PLoS Biology, introduced in October 2003, employs a
new model for scientific publishing in which peer-reviewed research
articles are freely available to read and use through the Internet. The
costs of publication are recovered not from subscription fees -- which
limit information access and use -- but from publication fees paid by
authors out of their grant funds and from other revenue sources. This
effort has been the subject of recent editorials and news articles in the
New York Times, Washington Post, the Guardian, Nature, Science, Business
Week, the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, and many other U.S.
and worldwide media outlets.

"Both PLoS and SPARC recognize that open access speeds the progress of
science and medicine, which is of substantial public benefit," said Vivian
Siegel, Executive Director of PLoS. "Working together, we hope to
demonstrate these benefits to scholarly publishing stakeholders on
campuses, in the lab, and at funding agencies. SPARC members can make open
access a reality by educating faculty about the benefits and future of
open access within their campus community and at conferences they attend."

"PLoS is a breakthrough initiative," said SPARC Director Rick Johnson. "It
has brought enhanced credibility and a new public platform to open access
publishing. PLoS has shown that if stakeholders want open access badly
enough, old habits and systems can give way to new opportunities. SPARC
looks forward to working with PLoS toward realignment of the way we pay
for scholarly communication so that the public benefits of open access can
be broadly realized."

Backing for the new open-access author-fee publishing model is growing,
particularly in biomedical fields. Recently the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute and the Wellcome Trust, major private funders of biomedical
research in the U.S. and U.K. respectively, announced that they will
earmark funds to pay open-access publication fees as part of their grants.
In addition, the recent conference on Open Access to Knowledge in the
Sciences and Humanities issued the Berlin Declaration, which promotes the
Internet as an instrument for a global scientific knowledge base and human
reflection and specifies measures which research policy-makers, research
institutions, funding agencies, libraries, archives and museums need to
consider.

A coalition of major library and public interest organizations recently
issued a statement praising PLoS Biology. In addition to SPARC,
organizations voicing their support for PLoS include the American
Association of Law Libraries, Association of Academic Health Sciences
Libraries, Association of College and Research Libraries, Association of
Research Libraries, Medical Library Association, Open Society Institute,
and Public Knowledge. Several of these organizations have been actively
promoting alternatives to subscription-based journal publishing."

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