PLoS Takes On Science and Nature... and Blogs All About It!

Via Evolving Thoughts comes news that the Public Library of Science (PLoS) is starting a series of blogs to promote its recently announced interdisciplinary PLoS ONE journal. PLoS publishes several prestigious open access scientific journals and is now taking things a step further with a new journal that will, among other things, "empower the scientific community to engage in a discussion on every paper and provide readers with tools to annotate and comment on papers directly." In the stuffy culture of science publishing, this is a pretty big deal.

Although PLoS ONE won't use open peer review in its paper selection process per se, The Chronicle of Higher Education recently wrote that Nature's recent announcement of an experiment in open peer review may have been in part due to "anticipating PLoS's encroachment into its territory by striking out into new online territory of its own." On the PLoS blog, though, Chris Surridge writes that this "seems pretty unlikely to me as I am sure that Nature's debate will have been in the pipeline for months at least."

Regardless, PLoS appears poised to compete directly with the two leading interdisciplinary scientific journals, Science and Nature. That's an ambitious goal for any journal, but now we'll have a chance to see what open access is really made of.

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Will PlosOne find itself competing directly with PlosBiology, PlosMedicine, et al, do you think?

My first reaction is that it probably will, since its subject matter will encompass that of the other PLoS journals. If the prestige of this journal is able to live up to the hype so far, then we'll probably see a similar situation to Nature, where one would much rather publish in Nature than in one of the subject-specific Nature journals. That system works well from what I can tell, so I don't forsee any problems for PLoS.