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The inception of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) last December has raised some interesting debates among academics as well as the general public.

In this letter to Science, Aravind B. Akella of the American Institute of Physics, says that much of this coverage has omitted the large role of scientific societies in the publication process. The author goes on to criticise the PLoS, saying that its claims of benefiting doctors and scientists in poor countries — among others — is not so straightforward.

Akella points to examples of current efforts to provide access to the results of scientific research — such as the New England Journal of Medicine's deal for low-income countries — and says that money would be better spent on developing new technologies, building a consortium of scientific publishers, and educating the public to exploit existing sources.

Link to full letter to Science

Reference: Science 299, 1314 (2003)

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