The Public Library of Science, a major publisher of open-access journals, unveiled its latest project today: PLoS ONE, an online journal of general science. The journal, once it is officially started this year, will concentrate on speedy peer review and publishing, as well as links from published papers to online debates.
“PLoS ONE,” its Web site says, “will empower the scientific community to engage in a discussion on every paper and provide readers with tools to annotate and comment on papers directly.”
But when reached by telephone, the Public Library of Science’s communications manager declined to comment on the initiative, saying a formal announcement would come shortly. Peter Suber, director of the Open Access Project at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit group in Washington, was the first to publicize the new project, on his open-access blog. He discovered PLoS ONE during his usual morning search of the Web for news about open access.
The PLoS move raised suspicions that the open-access publisher could begin to compete with leading multidisciplinary journals like Science and Nature. On Monday, Nature announced an online experiment that would allow signed comments to be appended to papers under review—perhaps anticipating PLoS’s encroachment into its territory by striking out into new online territory of its own (The Chronicle, June 6).
Mr. Suber told The Chronicle today that he applauds the experiment by Nature, whether the journal is doing it out of its own curiosity or because it recognizes an interest among its users and competitors. “It seems like a smart move,” he said.