Public Library of Science acts to increase public access to scientific research

San Francisco (June 26, 2003) Public Library of Science (PLoS), a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians, is launching a public campaign aimed at making the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.

PLoS argues that the current closed system of scientific publication places the narrow interests of publishers before the public interest and greatly diminishes the value of the more than $50 billion dollars invested by US taxpayers each year in scientific and medical research.

PLoS is promoting a new model for scientific publishing where all scientific and medical publications would be freely available to read and use through online public libraries of science.

The campaign received a substantial boost today when Representative Martin O. Sabo (D-MN) announced that he is drafting legislation that would put publications describing research substantially funded by taxpayer dollars into the public domain.

"This is a good idea whose time is overdue," said Representative Martin O. Sabo. "We only progress as a society when research is available to all of our best minds at any time. Citizens should have access to publicly-funded research anytime."

Virtually all of the latest scientific and medical research publications are now available online, but full access is restricted to a privileged elite at large universities and research institutions who can afford the often exorbitant subscription fees. Journal publishers often pocket excessive profits, while most American taxpayers, who paid the researchers' salaries and expenses, are denied access.

When a woman learns she has breast cancer and desperately wants to find out for herself what researchers have discovered about her disease and its treatment; when a family doctor in rural Mississippi wants to know what NIH-sponsored research has revealed about the risks and benefits of a new treatment for asthma; when a budding scientist at a public high sc

Contact: Karin Vanderzee, North Woods Advertising
Public Library of Science

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