Since 2000, PLoS’s mission has been to make “the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.” But more broadly, our goal has always been to reinvent research communication from top to bottom to fully exploit the potential offered by digital media. Today, PLoS is making this broader view of our mission explicit. As Chairman of the Board, I want to take this opportunity to explain the thinking behind this important change.
Since PLoS became a publisher a little over eight years ago, substantial progress has been achieved toward opening access to research findings. PLoS and others have shown that open-access publishing can be both high quality and economically sustainable. Despite this progress, open access still represents only around 10% of the research literature, so there’s still a long way to go before universal access is achieved for all. Looking ahead, therefore, PLoS remains committed to this task.
To drive the continued reinvention of research communication, PLoS has also pushed ahead on a number of other fronts: by launching a journal – PLoS ONE – that accelerates the communication of new research findings, by developing new mechanisms for publishing (PLoS Currents) and organizing (PLoS Hubs) research, and by pioneering alternative methods for research assessment (article-level metrics). Open access is central to all these initiatives and efforts.
Given the broad front along which PLoS is progressing, the PLoS staff and Board of Directors have developed a revised mission that builds on PLoS’s successes and reflects our aspirations. That mission is summarized as “accelerating progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication.” The mission also includes aims in three specific areas, which are to:
- Eliminate unnecessary barriers to immediate availability, access, and use of research
- Pursue a publishing strategy that drives openness, quality, and integrity
- Develop innovative approaches to the assessment, organization, and reuse of ideas and data
Over the coming months, we’ll be announcing some exciting new initiatives aimed at making our expanded mission a reality. To mark the restatement of our mission, we have also given our organizational website PLoS.org a complete facelift. In the meantime, if you have feedback on the updated mission or on the new PLoS.org website, feel free to share it with us.