A week can be a long time in politics; well, a year in scientific publishing can feel like an age. On 1st August last year, PLoS ONE opened its doors for submission and so we have decided to call today our official birthday. So what has the last year been like and how have things changed?
Well, back in August 2006 we were quite excited to have double figures of submissions in our first week. Last month we were averaging 60 submissions a week. Close to two thousand submissions in total.
A year ago we had a dedicated editorial board of 120 people. At the moment that number stands at 386. I cannot thank enough these people who are responsible for assessing all the papers that are submitted, managing their peer review and deciding whether or not they are ready for publication. If you are lucky, you may catch sight of one of them in the corridors of your institution sporting one of the new PLoS ONE first birthday t-shirts.
Most importantly of all though, in the last year, or, at least, in the months from December 2006, we have published 695 pieces of original research. All of that research is, of course, Open Access and all of that research can be annotated by users, discussed by users and for the last few weeks rated by users.
This potential for interaction is unprecedented in any other scientific publication and it is being used to an extremely high standard. If I had to choose a particularly good example of the post-publication culture of PLoS ONE, I would point to “On the Origin of the Functional Architecture of the Cortex” by Dario Ringach, although this paper has not been rated yet having been published back in February.
The initial success of PLoS ONE is something unprecedented in scientific publishing. It has been achieved because of the commitment and faith of hundreds of people: PLoS staff, editorial and advisory board members, reviewers, authors and particularly readers. And yet this is only a very small step towards an open, interactive and efficient literature that will accelerate scientific progress. Over the coming months, we will take further steps with additional functionality on the site, new publishing ventures launching and established ones taking more advantage of the opportunities afforded by the TOPAZ platform on which PLoS ONE is presented.
So, if it is a birthday, what about presents?
Well, PLoS ONE would like three things none of which are particularly expensive and which all of the readers of this blog can give us: three resolutions.
Whenever you write about a published paper, be it in a journal or on a blog, always provide a link to the freely available version of the paper if one exists.
Whenever you read a paper in PLoS ONE, always rate it before leaving.
And most importantly….
Whenever you write a scientific paper, always, always, always publish it Open Access.