Public Library of ScienceThe Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit scientific publishing project aimed at creating a library of scientific journals and other scientific literature under an open content license.
The Public Library of Science began in early 2001 as an online petition initiative by Patrick Brown, a biochemist at Stanford University and Michael Eisen, a computational biologist at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The petition called for all scientists to pledge that from September of 2001 they would discontinue submission of papers to journals which did not make the full-text of their papers available to all, free and unfettered after a six-month period from publication. Some journals, notably the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the BioMed Central stable of journals (see below), conformed to the PLoS guidelines, but as of 2003 many journals, including Nature and Science, do not.
Joined by Nobel-prize winner and former NIH-director Harold Varmus, the PLoS organizers next turned their attention to publishing themselves, along the lines of the UK-based BioMed Central which has been publishing open-access scientific papers in the biological sciences in journals such as Genome Biology and the Journal of Biology since late 1999. As a publishing company, the Public Library of Science began full operation on October 13, 2003, with the publication of a peer reviewed print and online scientific journal, entitled PLoS Biology (there are plans for a followup journal PLoS Medicine). PLoS Biology is published under the Public Library of Science Open Access License, which is identical to the Creative Commons "by-attribution" license Lawrence Lessig, of Creative Commons is also a member of the Advisory Board.
The content will not be completely free content, but will be what they describe as "open access content". The project states that: "The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."