Grants

Public Library of Science

To develop online hubs as a mechanism for organizing scientific content after it is published

  • Amount $400,000
  • City San Francisco, CA
  • Investigator Peter Jerram
  • Year 2010
  • Program Digital Technology
  • Sub-program Scholarly Communication

Founded in 2000, the Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a driving force in the "open access" movement to make the results of scientific research available to everyone. PLoS's vision: a place where anyone from scientists to students to the public could access scientific research online and at no charge. PLoS essentially treats all scientific literature and its associated databases and commentary as a continuous, ever-growing relational database to be explored, mined, and recombined. Under traditional models, scientific papers are sequestered in a specialty, such as Arctic biology, even when the paper might have content equally relevant to marine mammals or molecular ecology. In 2008 and 2009 the Foundation provided grants to PLoS to develop a business plan for creating online "hubs" around scientific and medical subjects and then to create prototypes for subjects of special interest to Sloan, such as DNA barcoding and marine biodiversity. Importantly, PLoS links to all open-access material, not only to material published by PLoS itself. And it will also point to material that is not open-access, even if users may meet frustration in clicking on gated links. The Foundation increasingly sees the concept of PLoS hubs as central to scholarly practice in areas of Foundation interest, including emerging fields such as the microbiology of the indoor environment and Earth's deep carbon. Funds from this grant will support PLoS in the creation of online hubs as a mechanism for organizing scientific content after it is published.

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