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Public Library of Science Announces Institutional Membership Program

Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004 18:48:12 -0800
From: Helen Doyle <hdoyle@plos.org>
To: Ann.okerson@yale.edu
Subject: LibLicense posting request

I would like to request that you consider posting on the LibLicense
listserv the following information from the Public Library of Science
announcing our new Institutional Membership program.  I have included a
short blurb below and attached a press release.

PLoS Institutional Memberships provide a mechanism through which libraries
and other institutions can support open-access and provide incentives, via
publication charge discounts, for their researchers to publish in PLoS
open-access journals.  Information and applications are available on our
web site.  I would be happy to provide whatever information in a format
you think would be useful to your members.

I very much appreciate any help you can give in distributing our
Membership Information, and thank you in advance.  Please feel free to
contact me if you need more information.


Helen J. Doyle, Ph.D.
Director of Development and Strategic Alliances
Public Library of Science
185 Berry Street, Suite 1300
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 624-1217  phone
(415) 546-4090  fax


For immediate release
January 14, 2004 

For more information, contact:
Helen Doyle, Public Library of Science, +1 415.624.1217, hdoyle@plos.org
or see http://www.plos.org/support.

Public Library of Science Announces Launch of Institutional Memberships

January 14, 2004 - San Francisco, CA. 

The movement for free online access to scientific and medical literature
was bolstered earlier this month when the Public Library of Science
[PLoS], a non-profit advocacy organization and open-access publisher,
began offering Institutional Memberships. The announcement followed the
October launch of PLoS Biology, the organization�s flagship scientific
journal, which is available on the Internet at no charge.

Open-access publishers such as PLoS rely on revenue streams other than
subscription and site-license fees to recover their costs. In lieu of
asking readers to pay for access to PLoS Biology, PLoS requests a $1500
charge for publication in the journal, which is often paid from an
author�s research grant -- but which can now be largely offset by funds
from other sources within the author�s institution.

"Institutional memberships," says Dr. Helen Doyle, PLoS Director of
Development and Strategic Alliances, "are one way to provide an incentive
for scientists in less well-funded disciplines, as well as those in
developing countries, to publish in open-access journals."  The
memberships, which are available to universities, libraries, funders of
research, and other organizations, offer sizable discounts on publication
fees for affiliated authors--meaning that a scholarly institution, private
foundation, or corporation could substantially reduce any financial
barrier to publishing in PLoS Biology that its researchers faced.

Skeptics of the long-term viability of open-access publishing have argued
that publication charges may be more palatable for scientists in the
relatively well-funded disciplines of biomedical research than for those
in fields like ecology, where grants tend to be substantially smaller.

"We already waive all fees for any authors who say they can't afford
them," Doyle adds, "but we hope that Institutional Memberships will help
assuage the concern that open access journals are unsustainable in fields
with less funding." In biomedicine, publication charges are estimated to
account for approximately one to two percent of the cost of research.

Another open-access publisher, the United Kingdom-based BioMed Central,
already offers an Institutional Membership program, and to date has an
active roster of more than 300 institutions in 32 countries.