Project Details


Public Library Of Science

Speeds up formal, scientific communication and allows scientists to use more informal channels.

By Public Library of Science

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @PLOS

  • Education
  • Open Source
  • Social Software

Many of the most inspiring examples of how the web can be used to share, spread and generate knowledge come from science. Few are more inspiring than the Public Library of Science (PLOS), which began life in 2000 with a plea from a group of leading US medical researchers for commercial publishers to make freely available all scholarly research.

That plea might have remained a utopia dream had they not decided to take matters into their own hands in 2003 by turning PLOS into a publisher of peer reviewed, high quality and high impact science journals, to compete with the likes of Science and Nature. What followed was rapid and sustained innovation in which large and active scientific communities coalesced around online, open journals and invented new ways to communicate.

PLOS Biology was launched in October 2003, followed a year later by PLOS Medicine. These two journals quickly established PLOS as a publisher of high-quality research and began to attract the attention — and submissions — of researchers throughout the world. In 2005 PLOS took innovation a step further with a clutch of community journals covering genetics, pathogens and computational biology. PLOS Currents launched in 2009 makes research results publically available within 24-hours of discovery.

As well as speeding up formal, scientific communication PLOS has found ways to allow scientists to use more informal channels of communication, from blogs to self-help tips. A prime example is the Ten Simple Rules a collection of articles, created in response to demand from students which covers topics such as how to get published, how to collaborate and how to protect intellectual properly. That collection alone has had more than a million page views.

Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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