Public Library of Science
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|Type of site||Science|
|Alexa rank||91,030 (August 2012[update])|
The Public Library of Science (PLOS, formerly PLoS) is a nonprofit open access scientific publishing project aimed at creating a library of open-access journals and other scientific literature under an open content license. It launched its first journal, PLOS Biology, in October 2003 and publishes seven journals, all peer reviewed, as of April 2012[update].
The Public Library of Science began in early 2001 with an online petition initiative by Patrick O. Brown, a biochemist at Stanford University, and Michael Eisen, a computational biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The petition called for all scientists to pledge that from September 2001 they would discontinue submission of papers to journals which did not make the full-text of their papers available to all, free and unfettered, either immediately or after a delay of several months. In December 2002, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded PLOS a $9 million grant, which it followed in May 2006 with a $1 million grant to help PLOS achieve financial sustainability and launch new free-access biomedical journals.
The 2001 petition also prompted action by established journals. Some, including BioMed Central journals, became open access journals, making the full text of papers freely available immediately upon publication. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and others became delayed open-access journals, making articles freely available some months after publication. Many others continue to rely on self-archiving.
Joined by Nobel Prize winner and former National Institutes of Health director Harold Varmus, the PLOS organizers next turned their attention to starting their own journal, along the lines of the UK-based BioMed Central, which has been publishing open-access scientific papers in the biological sciences in journals such as Genome Biology and the Journal of Biology since late 1999.
As a publishing company, the Public Library of Science began full operation on 13 October 2003, with the publication of a peer-reviewed print and online scientific journal entitled PLOS Biology, and has since launched seven more peer-reviewed journals. One, PLOS Clinical Trials, has since been merged into PLOS ONE. Following the merger, the company started the PLOS Hub for Clinical Trials to collect journal articles published in any PLOS journal and relating to clinical trials.
The PLOS journals are what it describes as "open access content"; all content is published under the Creative Commons "attribution" license. The project states (quoting the Budapest Open Access Initiative) that: "The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."
In 2009, the Public Library of Science became an official supporting organisation of Healthcare Information For All by 2015, a global initiative that advocates unrestricted access to medical knowledge.
Business model 
To fund the journals, PLOS charges a publication fee to be paid by the author or the author's employer or funder. In the United States, institutions such as the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have pledged that recipients of their grants will be allocated funds to cover such author charges. The Global Participation Initiative (GPI) was instituted in 2012, by which authors in group one countries are not charged a fee, and those in group two countries are given a fee reduction. (In all cases, decisions to publish are based solely on editorial criteria.) PLOS was launched with grants totalling US$13 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. PLOS confirmed in July 2011 that it no longer relies on subsidies from foundations and is covering its operational costs itself.
The initiatives of the Public Library of Science in the United States have initiated similar proposals in Europe, most notably the "Berlin Declaration" developed by the German Max Planck Society, which has also pledged grant support for author charges (see also the Budapest Open Access Initiative).
- PLOS Biology, ISSN 1544-9173; launched in 2003
- PLOS Medicine, ISSN 1549-1676; October 2004
- PLOS Computational Biology, ISSN 1553-7374; June 2005
- PLOS Genetics, ISSN 1553-7404; July 2005
- PLOS Pathogens, ISSN 1549-1676; September 2005
- PLOS Clinical Trials ISSN 1555-5887; May 2006, later merged into PLoS ONE
- PLOS ONE, ISSN 1817-101X; December 2006
- PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, ISSN 1935-2735; October 2007
- PLOS Hub for Clinical Trials, third quarter 2007
- PLOS Currents, ISSN 2157-3999; August 2009
PLOS has its main headquarters in Suite 100 in the Koshland East Building in Levi's Plaza in San Francisco. The company was previously located in the China Basin Landing building in San Francisco, located across from the AT&T Park. In June 2010, PLOS announced that it was moving to a new location in order to accommodate its rapid growth. The move to the Koshland East Building went into effect on 21 June 2010.
See also 
- Comparison of open-access journals
- arXiv e-print archive
- Open Archives Initiative
- Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, of which PLOS is a founding member
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Media from PLOS journals|
- Official website
- Harold Varmus iBioMagazine talk about PLoS: "Changing the Way We Publish"
- Editorial in the 7 August 2003 edition of The New York Times concerning Public Library of Science journals