Five years ago today Public Library of Science (PLoS) published the first issue of our first journal – PLoS Biology. It was the first step in our plan to liberate the scientific and medical literature from the needless restrictions on access and use imposed by the subscription based journals.
Our goal, as expressed in the founder’s essay written by me, Pat Brown and Harold Varmus, was to “catalyze a revolution in scientific publishing by providing a compelling demonstration of the value and feasibility of open-access publication.”
Five years on our flagship journals – PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine – are thriving successes. The four community journals that followed (PLoS Genetics, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Pathogens and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases) are amongst the most respected journals in their fields. Perhaps more importantly, several of the community journals are breaking even, and the others are about to – proving that open access is not just a nice idea – it’s a viable business model. And PLoS One is opening the door to a new approach to publishing – harnessing the power not just of pre-publication reviewers, but of all the people who read articles to make peer review a dynamic and ongoing process.
Honestly, it’s pretty much how we planned it.
Pat Brown and I will have more to say later about the state of PLoS and open access on our 5th anniversary (after I finish the two grants I’m writing), but I just wanted to pause today and take stock of the amazing things PLoS has accomplished, and most of all to say THANK YOU!
Thanks to all of the authors who embraced an upstart publisher because they believed in what we were doing.
Thanks to the academic editors and peer reviewers who’ve help PLoS publish outstanding journals that are well-respected across the globe.
And thanks to the amazing staff we’ve had at PLoS in San Francisco, Cambridge and now Toronto. You have done amazing things and I hope you’re as proud in what you’ve accomplished as we all are in you.