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Announcing PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity

Today we are pleased to officially announce the launch of PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity, a new pilot Web site to connect the biodiversity community with relevant open-access research and accelerate progress.

The vision behind the creation of PLoS Hubs is to show how open-access literature can be reused and reorganized, filtered, and assessed to enable the exchange of research, opinion, and data between community members.

PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity provides three main functions to connect researchers with relevant content. First, open-access articles on the broad theme of biodiversity are selected and imported into the Hub.  In time, the content will also be enhanced so that the articles are connected with data, and we will provide features to make the articles easier for people to use.  These two functions – aggregation and adding value – build on the concept of open access, which removes all the barriers to access and reuse of journal article content. Thirdly, the Hub provides a community forum for interaction around specific content. Commentary and links to research resources and community projects can draw users and broaden support for biodiversity initiatives.

As examples of the added value that we plan to deliver via PLoS Hubs, we have enriched a total of four articles with additional publicly available information such as a taxonomy hierarchy, species images and descriptions, and maps with specimen overlays (to see the enriched content simply click on the species names listed on the left hand side of the article). All the articles also feature information on the number of Hubs page views, and PLoS articles display their full suite of article-level metrics.

The Hub is supported by a group of curators who are experts in biodiversity and help to choose the content for the site and a steering group also provides advice on the development of the site and its features.

At first, all the featured open-access content will come directly from PubMed Central. PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity includes articles from the PLoS Journals and Collections (groups of articles on a single theme), plus articles from other publishers – but whatever the source, all the articles in the Hub look and feel exactly the same.

Users of PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity can interact with the site by commenting on the articles and sharing them through a large range of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Since a Hub is not a journal, because it aggregates existing content published in other journals, one way for authors to have their work included in the Hub is to submit it to a PLoS journal. For example, all articles published in the PLoS Census of Marine Life Collections are featured on the site.

The curators and steering group are supported by PLoS Community Manager, Brian Mossop. Here’s what he had to say about the launch:

PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity is a place for researchers to meet and discuss important published papers in their field.  But aside from aggregating the articles in biodiversity, this pilot Hub will be the first look into the future of open-access publishing.  With Creative Commons licensing, content that has been hand-selected by active leaders in the field can be ‘mashed-up’ with other data from around the Web. Much like popular magazines offer iPad apps with feature-rich content, PLoS Hubs will turn reading papers into a true multi-media experience.

As many of you will have noticed, PLoS Hubs are part of an expanding range of PLoS products and join PLoS Collections and the PLoS Hub: Clinical Trials (which will look and feel the same as Biodiversity in a few months) in helping to organize published open-access content.

We welcome feedback on any aspect of the pilot site to

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