"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Monday, December 01, 2003

Opening the access, but limiting the data?

The Public Library of Science (among the regular links in my blogroll) is in the news -- again. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the concept of the PLoS is to "enable the creation of public libraries of science containing the full text and data of any published research article, available free of charge to anyone, anywhere in the world." Here's something from the above article which I don't remember reading in previous articles I've seen about it:
Unlike the major peer-reviewed scientific journals, which publish research submitted by scientists and charge subscriptions or fees to access database information, PLoS Biology has opted for a different approach -- an "author pays" policy.

It charges the researchers $1,500, or whatever they can afford to pay, for each study it decides to publish, and the research is then available in an open-access database.

"We use author charges to cover the cost of the peer-review process and production through the online version," said Siegel, a former editor of the journal Cell.

Peer review is a system in which submitted research is reviewed by a panel of experts who judge its scientific value before it is published. [Emphasis mine, link added]
I thought the idea was to increase accessability to information. It seems like it will now reduce the amount of research being published, therefore generating the same effect as before -- only different. Instead of lots of info but little access, it may turn into more access to less (new) info. I don't like the look of this development.
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