Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nature Vs. PLoS

Apparently Nature wrote an article about the Public Library of Science that revealed that it isn't too profitable. Some bloggers have taken issue with this and come to the defence of PLoS. I've got to agree with the bloggers on this, but let's make my critisism perfectly clear. Besides the fact that PLoS hasn't made much money (which is irrellevant to the quality of the journal) the main critism seems to be (and I say seems to be because I don't have subscription to Nature) that PLoS only reviews for good methodology and not for importance. I think this is a good thing. The advantage of online journals is that you can publish a lot of stuff really cheaply, and since the authors pay to publish in PLoS there is no reason for them to not publish everything that's methodologically correct. How are readers supposed to find the good articles? There is a commenting and raking system that I think should do at least as good a job as the editors of Nature in deciding what is important (or at least interesting).

The problem with the existing, closed access model for science journals is that besides costing libraries insane amounts they are inherently seperated from the public. Everyone knows about how bad most science journalism is, PLoS gives the public a chance to look at the sausage being made, and hopefully this will lead to both a better public understanding of science, and better science journalism.

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