I am forwarding this response to this group because I happen to feel very
strongly that the future of humanity resides in our ability to apply our
intellect to finding solutions to complex, urgent problems. An important
issue, I believe, is the free and unimpeded flow of information. I have
signed this position based on my belief that there will be important gains
made in our ability to build a global brain and augment human potentials
when and if the scientific and technical literature becomes open and
available for all to study ,use, and incorporate in public knowledge bases.
>Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 21:52:15 -0700
>From: Public Library of Science Initiative
>Thank you for signing the open letter in support of unrestricted
>access to scientific publications.
>As of late April, more than eightteen thousand scientists from 147
>countries have joined you in signing the open letter in support of
>the Public Library of Science initiative. As a result of this
>initiative, several scientific publishers have already decided to
>adopt the policy advocated in the open letter, and almost every
>publisher and scientific society is discussing it. Yet, most life
>scientists are still unaware of this initiative, and many of those
>who do know of its existence have a distorted view of the proposal
>and its purpose.
>The breadth and depth of support for this initiative from the
>scientific community will determine its success. We believe that with
>your help in informing your colleagues about this effort, and
>encouraging them to support it, the open letter can be published in
>May with the signatures of 50,000 scientists.
>To achieve this goal, we each need to reach out to at least ten of
>our colleagues. We would therefore like to ask you to consider two
>1. Send an email message to all the scientific colleagues in your
>address book (using the text attached at the bottom of this message,
>or a modified version of it, or use your own language).
>2. Spend an hour or two of your time in the next week talking to
>colleagues at your own and other institutions, explaining to them the
>reasons that you chose to support the initiative, and encouraging
>them to join you in signing the letter. (Let them know that they can
>sign the letter online at: http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org).
>Please also make a special effort to talk directly with the editors
>and publishers of journals that are important to you, informing them
>of your support of this initiative, and encouraging them to adopt the
>policy that the letter advocates. We would greatly appreciate hearing
>about any such efforts you are able to make.
>Your time and effort can make the crucial difference in the success
>of this initiative.
>Michael Ashburner, University of Cambridge
>Patrick O. Brown, Stanford University
>Mary Case, Association of Research Libraries
>Michael B. Eisen, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and UC Berkeley
>Lee Hartwell, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
>Marc Kirschner, Harvard University
>Chaitan Khosla, Stanford University
>Roel Nusse, Stanford University
>Richard J. Roberts, New England Biolabs
>Matthew Scott, Stanford University
>Harold Varmus, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
>Barbara Wold, Caltech
>========= Model email message to send to colleagues =========
>We write to ask for your support of an initiative to provide
>unrestricted access to the published record of scientific research.
>An open letter in support of this initiative has been signed by more
>than 14,000 scientists from 130 countries. We hope you will take a
>minute to read the letter and consider signing it.
>The open letter, a list of the scientists who have already signed it,
>and some answers to frequently asked questions are posted at:
>http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org. This site also provides a way
>for colleagues to sign the open letter online.
>You may also wish to read an editorial written by Richard J. Roberts,
>recently published in PNAS, which explains why he supports the
>This is a grassroots initiative, and the breadth and depth of support
>it receives from the scientific community will determine its success.
>If you decide to support this effort, please consider spending an
>hour or two of your time in the next week talking to colleagues at
>your own and other institutions, explaining to them the reasons that
>you chose to support it, and encouraging them to join you in signing
>the letter. Your effort can really make a difference.
>======== OPEN LETTER ========
>We support the establishment of an online public library that would
>provide the full contents of the published record of research and
>scholarly discourse in medicine and the life sciences in a freely
>accessible, fully searchable, interlinked form. Establishment of this
>public library would vastly increase the accessibility and utility of
>the scientific literature, enhance scientific productivity, and
>catalyze integration of the disparate communities of knowledge and
>ideas in biomedical sciences.
>We recognize that the publishers of our scientific journals have a
>legitimate right to a fair financial return for their role in
>scientific communication. We believe, however, that the permanent,
>archival record of scientific research and ideas should neither be
>owned nor controlled by publishers, but should belong to the public,
>and should be freely available through an international online public
>To encourage the publishers of our journals to support this endeavor,
>we pledge that, beginning in September, 2001, we will publish in,
>edit or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly
>and scientific journals that have agreed to grant unrestricted free
>distribution rights to any and all original research reports that
>they have published, through PubMed Central and similar online public
>resources, within 6 months of their initial publication date.
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