Public Library of Science

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About PLoS
Mission and Goals

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a public resource.

Our goals are to:

  • Open the doors to the world’s library of scientific knowledge by giving any scientist, physician, patient, or student – anywhere in the world – unlimited access to the latest scientific research.
  • Facilitate research, informed medical practice, and education by making it possible to freely search the full text of every published article to locate specific ideas, methods, experimental results, and observations.
  • Enable scientists, librarians, publishers, and entrepreneurs to develop innovative ways to explore and use the world’s treasury of scientific ideas and discoveries.

Watch our short flash movie to learn more.
What We Do

Following its founding in October 2000 by biomedical scientists Harold E. Varmus, Patrick O. Brown, and Michael B. Eisen, PLoS’s first action was to circulate an open letter encouraging scientific publishers to make the research literature available for distribution through free online public archives such as the US National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central. This letter, signed by nearly 34,000 scientists from 180 countries, prompted significant steps by many scientific publishers towards freer access to published research. Unfortunately, the publishers’ responses fell far short of the reasonable policies we advocated.

In 2003, PLoS launched a nonprofit scientific and medical publishing venture that provides scientists and physicians with high-quality, high-profile journals in which to publish their most important work. Under the open access model, PLoS journals are immediately available online, with no charges for access and no restrictions on subsequent redistribution or use, as long as the author(s) and source are cited, as specified by the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Organization Status

PLoS is a tax-exempt, 501©3, nonprofit corporation headquartered in San Francisco, California (Federal Tax ID 68-0492065). PLoS is governed by a Board of Directors chaired by PLoS co-founder Harold Varmus.

PLoS received a $9M start-up grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and has received support from the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Irving A Hansen Memorial Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and many other foundations, universities, and other organizations and individuals.

Learn more about how you can support PLoS.

  • PLoS ALM

    Free Download — The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is the first publisher to place transparent and comprehensive information about the usage and reach of published articles onto the articles themselves, so that the entire academic community can assess their value. We call these measures for evaluating articles ‘Article-Level Metrics‘, and they are distinct from the journal-level ...