New blog in town.

I don’t normally promote new blogs, other than to add them to my blogroll if I think they are worth my readers’ time, but I’ll make an exception for PLoS ONE’s new community blog, EveryONE:

Why a blog and why now? As of March 2009,  PLoS ONE, the peer-reviewed open-access journal for all scientific and medical research, has published over 5,000 articles, representing the work of over 30,000 authors and co-authors, and receives over 160,000 unique visitors per month. That’s a good sized online community and we thought it was about time that you had a blog to call your own. This blog is for authors who have published with us and for users who haven’t and it contains something for everyone.

Why did you call the blog everyONE? For three main reasons that encapsulate the mission of the journal:

Firstly, because PLoS ONE is for every rigorous research article that passes our peer-review process.

Secondly, because PLoS ONE is a forum for research in every scientific discipline (with a current emphasis on life and health sciences because of PLoS’s history).

Thirdly, because PLoS ONE is a source of information for every inquisitive reader with an interest in high-quality scientific research.

I hope, and on my better days believe, that PLoS ONE is one of the leading models for the future of scientific journals:

  • they offer gold OA — that is, free online to everyone everywhere from the moment of publication, including submission to PubMed Central
  • they offer a sustainable business model for OA: in the black after less than three years and with an author-side fee of $1300
  • their peer review process is as rigorous as any, but it does not ask reviewers to make guesses about what is “hot”, or what is likely to be important at some time in the future: if it’s solid science, PLoS ONE will publish it
  • they don’t have an Impact Factor: homey don’t play dat, as the kids around here say
  • that’s not to say that they are not actively seeking rich measures of utility/impact for scientific publications: for instance, here’s Bora’s roundup of analyses of an experimental dataset that they passed around a while back, and an update from Euan
  • in the same vein, I can’t find a link right now but there are plans afoot to release real-time access to such data as downloads, comment frequency and so on — post-publication measures which can improve and speed up citation based measures; for another example, scroll down on this page for some self-measurement that represents a level of disclosure I have not seen from any other journal
  • they are responsive to and engaged with the community: for instance, both Bora Zivkovic (community manager — how many journals have one of those?) and Peter Binfield (managing editor) are active on FriendFeed
  • they encourage and enable community input in the form of notes, comments and ratings on every article; I particularly like the option given to reviewers to have their reviews included as comments with the paper

EveryONE is another way for PLoS ONE to engage with their community of readers and contributors, and well worth a look.
DISCLAIMER: I consider Bora and Peter friends of mine, and I’ve previously applied to work at PLoS.

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