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Open-Access Computational Biology Journal Launches

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the information-wants-to-be-life dept.

Biotech 11

FleaPlus writes "The Public Library of Science and International Society for Computational Biology have published the inaugural issue of PLoS Computational Biology, an open-access journal dedicated to studies which 'further our understanding of living systems at all scales through the application of computational methods.' All works published in the journal are to be released under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The founding editors have some comments on the launch."

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11 comments

Well that is three (2, Interesting)

vrimj (750402) | more than 8 years ago | (#12915142)

And that is wonderful
Making science accessable and afforable for both producers and consumers is just the kind of thing that the web should be doing
I hope scientists will switch, then again when faced with $800 per page fees for publishing in print form it is hard to see why they whould not.

Directory of Open Access Journals (4, Informative)

n54 (807502) | more than 8 years ago | (#12915255)

Hear hear!

Hopefully this is the beginning of reinventing the openness and availability of scientific knowledge and discourse.

What I really want to see is "transparent peer review" (a part of F/OSS methology these Open Access journals haven't implemented so far afaik). By that I mean that journals are willing to stick their neck out and publish the reviews they do in preparation for accepting or declining papers/articles (just like internal arguments in F/OSS projects can often be vieved by visiting the dev's mailing list/forum etc.). This would not only be a quality assurance measure but also educational on its own. It doesn't need to be long nor on the front page but it should be somewhere.

For those interested there are a lot of other open journals as well to be found at http://www.doaj.org/ [doaj.org]

Re:Directory of Open Access Journals (1)

mabraham (517277) | more than 8 years ago | (#12946499)

The scientific process requires frank critical comment by experts after work is completed and before it is deemed worthy of publication. That sort of comment could be carried out at conferences and in face-to-face meetings, but in the journal prduction process it must be achieved through written media. Most people don't interact as well through written communication compared with spoken, and the double-blind anonymity of scientific peer review is a protection for both parties against the development of relationship problems.

Additionally, a reviewer who knows their comments will be published and attributed to them will be far more likely to polemicise their comment, and reduce its critical content (as distinct from being positive or negative!).

Further, not knowing who produced the work or who produced the review acts to prevent the establishment of groups of people who always approve each other's work. Admittedly, the communities in some fields are small enough that reviewers can guess who produced the work!

Re:Well that is three (3, Insightful)

fennel1 (895113) | more than 8 years ago | (#12915441)

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for open-source journals, but frankly, I don't see why a scientist would publish in PLoS if they could get their paper accepted in Science or Nature.

Although parent is completely right that page fees are a pain, they're not a problem if your lab has decent funding -- in fact, asking for funding to cover future page fees is often used (by my lab & others) to get funds from university administrators to address more immediate needs (i.e. gels, glassware, etc.)

Hahaha, awesome. (2)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12915534)

Steven Levy's Artifical Life made it sound like most biologists abhor this kind of work. So while the puritanical biology journals are several hundred dollars a year these guys send up a big "Haha! F.U." and get mainstream support by rallying the gentle masses behind their freely available research information.

Pay to Play (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#12915727)

They should subsidize their costs by charging research institutions, like universities and corporations, for subscriptions. Not that they'd get any "premium" features. Just that their unusual benefits in profits derived directly from the publications makes it in their interest to subscribe - to keep the journals publishing.

Re:Pay to Play (1)

mabraham (517277) | more than 8 years ago | (#12946834)

Ummm, that's how all journals were produced until the last few years. The problem is that low print runs mean high prices. Smaller institutions are increasingly unable to afford a wide range of quality journals. Some journals charge authors per page to publish in them, which futher marginalises work from less well-funded institutions and researchers.

Open journals are a new phenomenon that are not run as a commercial enterprise and (typically) not published on paper.

Re:Pay to Play (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947220)

I'm talking about something in between. I'm talking about an open journal that charges big institutions anyway. There's no need for a scientific journal to withold publications to anyone, just to charge big customers. The big customers are known to subscribe - and if they don't, the journal's marketers job is to get them to subscribe. Charging them is another story. Since the community is tight, members are well known, and use of the material usually results in published citations, the "accounts receivable" department can just pressure those who can pay, to pay. Even if the charges are per citation, with some weighting/scaling and initial "giveaways". Of course authors shouldn't pay, nor should those who aren't profiting enough to reinvest in the research. But those who do profit, profit large - they can afford the reinvestment in the whole community.

academic acceptance (4, Informative)

v1x (528604) | more than 8 years ago | (#12915782)

I would love to send my next paper to this journal, and I did run it by my graduate committee: however, the unanimous recommendation was that I should try one of the more established journals, and should not bother with PLoS until it is more 'mature.' I wonder how long it takes before PLoS gains wider acceptance in academic circles.
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