Today the Public Library of Science announced the Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP). The award program seeks nominations of individuals who have used, applied, or remixed scientific research — published through open access — in order to realize innovations in science, medicine, and technology. The goal of ASAP is to build awareness of and encourage the use of scientific research published through open access. Major sponsors include the Wellcome Trust and Google.
Three winners will each receive $30,000. The nomination period opens today and runs through June 15, 2013. Potential nominees may include individuals, teams, or groups of collaborators -– such as scientists, researchers, educators, social services, technology leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers, patient advocates, public health workers, and students -– who have used scientific research in transformative ways. The winners will be announced in Washington, DC, in October 2013 at an Open Access Week event hosted by SPARC and the World Bank.
Creative Commons is a supporter of ASAP, along with several other library organizations, publishers, and research organizations.
For more information, including the full details of the ASAP program, nomination process, and the award specifics, go to http://asap.plos.org/. For program rules visit http://asap.plos.org/nominate/rules/.Comments Off
We’re incredibly honored that PLoS was a very early adopter of Creative Commons — we’ll only turn five in two months. See then CC Executive Director Glenn Otis Brown’s editorial in PLoS Biology‘s first issue: Out of the Way: How the next copyright revolution can launch the next scientific revolution.
PLoS (and CC) have made good of these promising beginnings, but expect much greater things in the next half decade. This movement, or rather these intertwined movements, are just getting rolling.
On this note, pay close attention to Science Commons and PLoS ONE. The latter recently published its 1000th research article. I’m particularly fond of #994, Ant Species Differences Determined by Epistasis between Brood and Worker Genomes (disclaimer: the author is my brother).Comments Off
CC Salon San Francisco is going bi-monthly. The next Salon will be in February featuring speakers from Flickr and BitTorrent.
There’s a close substitute in January. Check out NetSquared’s Net Tuesday featuring the Public Library of Science, Tuesday, January 9 from 6-8PM at Citizen Space, 425 Second St., #300 in San Francisco:
This month our two presenters will be from PLoS, The Public Library of Science. PLoS is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS is both an open-access advocate and an online publisher that publishes several peer-reviewed biomedical journals under the Creative Commons Attribution License. PLoS collaborates with Topaz in the development of open-source software to facilitate community-based annotation of scientific articles.
Addendum 2006-01-16: Presentation slides, audio, and an accompanying interview are now available.Comments Off
Just a reminder that CC Salon is happening tonight from 6-9pm at Shine in San Francisco. CC Salon is a free, casual monthly get-together focused on conversation, networking, and presentations from people or groups who are developing projects that relate to open content and tools. CC Salon SF is now being presented in conjunction with CopyNight SF.
This month’s line-up of speakers includes Hemai Parthasarathy and Barbara Cohen of the Public Library of Science, Owen Byrne of Digg, and John Buckman of Magnatune. Shannon Coulter will be DJing a set of CC music from Magnatune’s catalogue.
For more information, visit this event’s Upcoming.org listing.Comments Off
Please join us for another CC Salon!
CC Salon SF is now being presented in conjunction with CopyNight SF!
This month’s line-up:
* The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of scientists and physicians committed to making medical and scientific literature a public resource. Hemai Parthasarathy (Managing Editor of PLoS Biology) and Barbara Cohen (Executive Editor of PLoS Journals) will discuss PLoS’s mission, its publications, and some ideas about the future of scientific publishing.
* Digg is a popular user-powered news site with more than 400,000 registered users. Owen Byrne (Co-founder and Senior Software Engineer) will talk about the site’s history, its unique features, and its use of CC licensing.
* Magnatune is a Berkeley-based record label with 470 albums in its catalog. The company’s mission is to treat its musicians and its customers fairly. John Buckman (Founder and Owner) will discuss how the company uses CC licensing as a part of its business model.
Please join us on Wednesday, August 9, from 6-9pm (don’t worry if you’re late; there will be stuff happening all night) at Shine, (1337 Mission Street between 9th and 10th Streets). Note: Since Shine is a bar, CC Salon is only open to people who are 21 and older.
About CC Salon:
CC Salon is a free, casual, monthly get-together focused on conversation, networking, and presentations from people or groups who are developing projects that relate to open content and tools. Please invite your friends, colleagues, and anyone you know who might be interested in drinks and discussion.
About CopyNight SF:
Since March 2005, CopyNight has helped organize a monthly social gathering about restoring balance in copyright law in San Francisco and now 16 cities across the US. The San Francisco CopyNight will now be hosted right alongside CC Salon on the second Wednesday of every month. Welcome, CopyNighters!
Not quite, but gorillas have been observed using tools (a category that includes licenses and sticks) in the wild, as described in the widely publicized PLoS Biology paper First Observation of Tool Use in Wild Gorillas.
Congratulations to the Public Library of Science (and the gorillas). This would be a good time to note that PLoS has recently launched PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics, and PLoS Pathogens, adding to the existing PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, with PLoS Clinical Trials coming next year.
All PLoS journals publish cutting edge research under a Creative Commons Attribution License.
Visit our Science Commons site for more information on open access scientific publishing using Creative Commons licenses.Comments Off
The Public Library of Science is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS emerged in October 2000 through the effort of three dynamic and highly respected scientists: Nobel Laureate and former head of the National Institutes of Health Harold Varmus, molecular biologist Pat Brown of Stanford University, and biologist Michael Eisen of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and UC Berkeley. This trio’s dream, as the L.A. Times put it, is to build “a world in which the many thousands of scientific journals . . . are placed in an electronic library open to the public.”
This week, PLoS moved closer to realizing this dream with the release of its first open access publication: PLoS Biology, a world-class, peer-reviewed scientific journal.
We had the opportunity to speak with Michael Eisen recently about the launch of PLoS Biology, its publication under a Creative Commons license, and its promise to transform open access models, the scientific community, and the world.
featured Public Library of Science work
PLoS Biology, Volume 1 Number 1
Creative Commons: How did PLoS come into existence?
Michael Eisen: Science depends on the free flow of ideas and information. In the late ’90s most of the research journals that scientists used to communicate with each other moved online. The technological change offered scientists myriad opportunities to expand and improve the ways we use scientific literature, and made it possible to bring our treasury of scientific information available to a much wider audience.
We grew increasingly frustrated that the publishers of scientific journals were blocking these advances by applying to their online journals business models developed for print publication — thus unnecessarily and unfairly restricting access to subscribers. We formed PLoS to promote and implement a better model for scientific publishing that offers anyone free and unrestricted access to scientific literature and facilitates the creative use of the knowledge it contains.
CC: What’s the ultimate goal of the organization?
ME: Our goal is to see that every scientific and medical research publication is available free of charge for anyone to read, use, incorporate in databases, redistribute, etc. To do this we want to shift how the publishers are paid for the role they play in communicating scientific ideas and discoveries — to switch from a model in which publishers are given permanent, exclusive control over the scientific literature and allowed to charge for access to a model in which the literature is effectively placed in the public domain and publishers are paid a fair price for the service they provide in getting the literature there.
CC: Have you encountered any resistance from the scientific community?
ME: Most scientists agree strongly with the general principles we are advocating. What remains a challenge is convincing them that they should forego publishing in established journals to support our new model. Publication records play a major role in landing jobs, getting grants, and achieving tenure, and the more prestigious the journal, the better it looks on your resumé. Many scientists who support what we are doing perceive publishing in a new journal — no matter how much they agree with its principles — as a risky career move. This is why we have put a tremendous amount of energy into creating an open access journal — PLoS Biology — with the highest editorial and production standards that publishes outstanding works from all areas of biology. Once we have established PLoS Biology as a prestigious journal scientists will no longer feel they have to choose between what is right for them and what is right for science. They will get both in one place.
CC: What do you see as your role in changing the landscape of scientific journal publishing?
ME: We’ve all put a tremendous amount of time, effort, and energy into promoting the idea and importance of open access, and gathering support within the scientific community, publishing world, and public. Now we want to make it work. I publish the work from my lab only in open access journals. As a young scientist who is still not tenured, I think this serves as a role model for students and other scientists to see that you can have a successful science career without publishing your papers in Science, Nature, Cell or other prominent, fee-for-access journals.
CC: What are the benefits of open access scientific journals?
ME: First, if we succeed, everyone who has access to a computer and an Internet connection will have unlimited access to our living treasury of scientific and medical knowledge. This will be an invaluable resource for science education, will lead to more informed healthcare decisions by doctors and patients, and will level the playing field for scientists at small or less wealthy institutions and in the developing world by ensuring that no one will be unable to read an important paper just because his or her institution does not subscribe to a particular journal. Open access will also enable scientists to begin transforming scientific literature into something far more useful than the electronic equivalent of millions of individual articles in rows of journals on library shelves. The ability to search, in an instant, an entire scientific library for particular terms or concepts, for methods, data, and images — and instantly retrieve the results — is only the beginning. Freeing the information in scientific literature from the fixed sequence of pages and the arbitrary boundaries drawn by journals or publishers — the electronic vestiges of paper publication — opens up myriad new possibilities for navigating, integrating, “mining,” annotating, and mapping connections in the high-dimensional space of scientific knowledge.
We hope to do for scientific literature what freely available archives of DNA sequences did for genetics. With great foresight, it was decided in the early 1980s that published DNA sequences should be deposited in a central repository, in a common format, where they could be freely accessed and used by anyone. Simply giving scientists free and unrestricted access to the raw sequences led them to develop the powerful methods, tools, and resources that have made the whole much greater than the sum of the individual sequences. If we succeed, we expect an even bigger creative explosion to be fueled by open access to the much larger body of published scientific results.
CC: Have you encountered any resistance from traditional journal publishers?
ME: A ton. Traditional publishers have not led the open access movement in any way. With a few notable exceptions, they’ve firmly resisted it. Scientific publishing as it exists today is an extremely lucrative business, and many publishers have placed their own narrow profit motive ahead of the good of the scientific community and the public. Even some nonprofits have stubbornly clung to the old publishing model to protect journal revenues that fund other activities. A major goal of PLoS is to prove to even the most reluctant publisher that open access is a viable way of publishing scientific journals and a viable economic model. Once this happens I suspect many publishers will respond positively either on their own or in response to the market pressure of scientists supporting the open access model.
CC: How broad-based is the open access movement among the scientific community?
ME: It depends on how you measure it. In terms of people who know about and support open access it’s a broad movement. Over 30,000 people signed an open letter supporting PLoS. Although only about five percent of the papers published this year will be in journals offering something approximating open access, the numbers are rising quickly and open access is starting to take off.
CC: Do you see any parallels between access issues in scientific publishing and copyright in other areas?
ME: Authors of scientific papers assigning copyright to journals, thereby giving publishers ownership of scientific literature, is a central problem in scientific publishing today. The monopoly control enjoyed by publishers over specific publications allows them to charge exorbitant access fees to individuals and institutions that need access to this material — which they cannot get anywhere else.
Publishers often try to cast PLoS as being no different than file-sharers. While it is true that PLoS and groups like Creative Commons and the EFF are involved in trying to reform copyright, the peculiar nature of scientific publishing places PLoS largely above this fray. In the creative arts, copyright protects the rights of content producers who need to make money from their song, book, or film, and there is a fundamental tension between the producer’s interest to profit from their labor and the consumers’ desire to get it as cheaply as possible.
In scientific publishing this tension is nonexistent. First, the producers and consumers of information are largely the same people. And, second, scientists don’t make money from the sale of their work. In scientific publishing today, copyright is used almost exclusively as a means to restrict access to information. Copyright protects the interests of publishers and the works they publish, and not the rights of scientists.
In fact, the way that publishers wield copyright actually weakens authors’ protection against misuse of their works. While copyright offers some legal protection against plagiarism, there are few cases in which copyright has been used to prosecute plagiarists. The real protection against plagiarism in scientific publishing comes from a scientific culture that does not tolerate these practices — scientists’ careers are ruined when it is discovered that they have stolen someone else’s work. Therefore the best protection against plagiarism is detection, and detection is infinitely easier when the original is freely available.
It’s important to view the issues in scientific publishing in light of the other issues going on in copyright, but the issues are very different. Scientific works don’t have an isolated meaning; they exist only in reference to the broader scientific community, and the whole reason you publish them is so that other people will read and use them. If research is paid for by the public through a federal agency or public-minded institution, it’s likely the scientists doing the research are public-minded people interested in producing public knowledge. If the product of that research doesn’t belong in the public domain, then the public domain doesn’t have any meaning.
CC: Why did you decide to use Creative Commons licenses?
ME: Creative Commons and PLoS share the common goal of strengthening the science commons, and we want to take advantage of all the work Creative Commons and the growing number of Creative Commons license users are doing to create, defend, and internationalize licenses that define the commons.
We chose the attribution license because it ensures the optimal accessibility and usability while preserving the one thing that scientists value the most: attribution for their work.Comments Off
A surprise visitor, one Al Gore, dropped in on our landlord and friend Mitch Kapor today, and we commoners took the opportunity to tell the former Vice President about Creative Commons and Science Commons. When Mark Resch presented Mr. Gore with a new Science Commons t-shirt and explained the concept, Gore said that it reminded him of something called the Public Library of Science. When we told him that PLoS is, indeed, under a Creative Commons license, he said, “Well, now, good for you.”
Nice guy, that Al Gore, and impressively in-the-know.
Above, Neeru Paharia with Al Gore. Below, our new CEO Mark Resch and me with the former VP and Senator.Comments Off
Back cover of the inaugural issue of PLoS Medicine.
The traditional academic journal publishing model has readers pay very steep fees for access. Open access publishers are challenging this model with a new one that allows free public access, with costs paid by submission fees. The sustainability of the open access has been the subject of much debate. We’ve linked to a Nature forum on the topic twice. (Public Library of Science and BioMed Central, two standard-bearers for open access publishing, each use Creative Commons licenses.)
Whether the “creator pays” model is sustainable for academic publishing or not, it is clear to me that is how much culture gets created. A few days ago an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Venture capitalist rewrites the starving-author story, illustrates with an extreme case and in passing mentions that the venerable (and entirely subscription-funded) Kirkus Reviews is launching pay-to-be-reviewed ($350) service available to self publishers.
The only thing atypical about the wealthy author in the aforementioned article is that he’s spending lots of money to promote his novel. In the typical case the creator doesn’t have money for promotion but does bear the cost of creation — think self-published (and many “published”) authors, bands without commercial appeal, and artists with a day job of all sorts. They pay the costs of creation (and obtain its beneifts), perhaps as a labor of love, but it’s “creator pays” nonetheless.
Advocates of open access to academic journals were clever to call their model “open access” rather than “creator pays”. Artists who bear the costs of creation anyway ought to think about taking a bit of this cleverness and making their works explicitly “open access”. Could it be that there’s a way to do that? Surely anticlimactic for readers of this blog — get a Creative Commons license.Comments Off