Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Open Access Week: Highlighting PLoS Biology

PLoS Biology, according to citation analysis on ISI Web of Science, has published 1,539 articles from its inception in 2003. All of them - every single one - readily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and the ability to download either pdf or xml formatted materials. The actual number is undoubtedly higher, since there is a small lag time between publication in PLoS Biology and indexing in Web of Science. Those 1,539 articles have been cited a total of 39,089 times, including all of the "self-citations" -- or 32,522 times without counting the self-citations.

The most frequently cited paper, with 462 citations to date (again, using ISI data):
John B, Enright AJ, Aravin A, et al., 2004. Human MicroRNA targets. PLoS Biology 2(11): 1862-1879 e363. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020363

Scopus reports 485 citations to this article, noted directly on the PLoS Biology site.

Far more exciting than simple citation analysis, though, is the potential for scholars and readers to interact, with options for commenting on and rating an article, jumping to related work, sharing the article through social networking tools, and finding similar research through guided searches in other databases. The PLoS article metrics includes the total number of page views for articles published after June 2005, giving another indication of the impact of open access.

The following article, for example, has been viewed 26,932 times:

Prior H, Schwarz A, Güntürkün O, 2008 Mirror-Induced Behavior in the Magpie (Pica pica): Evidence of Self-Recognition . PLoS Biol 6(8): e202. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060202

The search and browse options on PLoS are easy to understand and highly effective; and the content is quickly found through Google Scholar, ensuring good reader access. I especially appreciate the Weekly Editors' Picks, which led to this article today:

Hoff M, 2009 Male or Female? For Honeybees, a Single Gene Makes All the Difference. PLoS Biol 7(10): e1000186. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000186

Follow PLoS on Twitter to keep up with new developments. See also the PLoS Blog.

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