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Many have applauded the Public Library of Science’s launch of the open-access journal PLoS Biology last month. Soon PLoS Medicine will follow. But the PLoS ventured into publishing only because it failed to persuade the major players in the business to convert to open access.

In this article, Pritpal S. Tamber of BioMed Central and colleagues make the case for alternatives to the old subscription-based model of science publishing which, they say, is rife with problems. Not only do authors lose copyright, but it is costly and hurts science by excluding many researchers and leaving less money for the research itself.

The authors say PubMed Central’s new twist on the subscription-based model is a useful alternative. But they feel that the PLoS and BioMed Central are showing the real way forward by asking authors to pay for publication, where possible. It is, they say, not only a viable business model, but a big boost for the public good.

Link to opinion article in The Lancet*

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Reference: The Lancet, 362, 1575 (2003)

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