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Public Library of Science

Michael Ashburner Genetics ma11 at gen.cam.ac.uk
Fri Mar 16 09:41:34 EST 2001

Dear colleague

I am writing personally to all bionet newsgroups about the importance of
the Public Library of Science initiative.  I am encouraged to write
in this way since I was, with David Christofferson and Martin Bishop, one
of the three founders of the bionet newsgroups some 20 years ago. I am
convinced that the open communication among scientists this has encouraged
is very good for science.

A letter from a group of scientists who have been very much involved
in establishing the Public Library of Science will appear in SCIENCE
on March 23, 2001.  Please read it.

Please also read the Open Letter to scientists, which I append.
If you agree with our aims then please add *your* name to the list of
10851 scientists, from 119 countries have signed this letter in the last
few months.

To sign go, to this url:

For more information, go to the PLS home page:


Michael Ashburner, University of Cambridge, UK.

                          The Open Letter 

We support the establishment of an online public library that would
provide the full contents of the published record of research and
scholarly discourse in medicine and the life sciences in a freely
accessible, fully searchable, interlinked form. Establishment of this
public library would vastly increase the accessibility and utility of the
scientific literature, enhance scientific productivity, and catalyze
integration of the disparate communities of knowledge and ideas in
biomedical sciences. 

We recognize that the publishers of our scientific journals have a
legitimate right to a fair financial return for their role in scientific
communication. We believe, however, that the permanent, archival
record of scientific research and ideas should neither be owned nor
controlled by publishers, but should belong to the public, and should
be freely available through an international online public library. 

To encourage the publishers of our journals to support this endeavor,
we pledge that, beginning in September, 2001, we will publish in, edit
or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly and
scientific journals that have agreed to grant unrestricted free
distribution rights to any and all original research reports that they
have published, through PubMed Central and similar online public
resources, within 6 months of their initial publication date.


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