Free Scientific Content ?
Sign an open letter to publishers
27th March 2001
Scientific research should be freely available within six months from publication, claim advocates.
Over 12,000 scientists from 120 countries are joining forces to call for scientific information to be made publicly available in central databases.
By joining online the Public Library of Science, scientists support that free literature will «increase the accessibility and utility of the scientific literature, enhance scientific productivity, and catalyze integration of the disparate communities of knowledge and ideas in biomedical sciences.»
Among the subscribers to the initiative are Pat Brown of Stanford University, Harold Varmus, and Richard Roberts of New England Biolabs, as well as other world known scientists.
The group acknowledges the right of journals to monetize on the content, but supports the view that scientific knowledge belongs to the public domain.
Scientific information, when available to public databases, can be efficiently indexed, searched, and linked to, claim the scientists,
but the editor of the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), Ira Mellman of Yale University, who agreed to make the journal content freely available six months after publication, but disputes the notion that only a single comprehensive database can be indexed and searched, reported Laura DeFrancesco on Verticalnet Pharmaceutical Online.